Chelsea host AFC Bournemouth on Wednesday evening in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge, as the Blues look to cement their place in third, whilst continuing to decrease the gap to Manchester United, who currently sit ahead of them by three points.
The Blues will be hoping for back-to-back home wins as they booked their place in the FA Cup 5th round on Sunday after a 3-0 victory over struggling Newcastle. On what looks like his last appearance for the club this season, Michy Batshuayi netted a first-half brace, and Marcos Alonso was up to his usual tricks, scoring a free-kick to shatter any hope that the Magpies had left.
Bournemouth were given the weekend off following their swift exit in the FA Cup, giving the Cherries time to prepare for their trip to West London.
There’s been two meetings between the sides this season, and Chelsea have come out victorious on both occasions. The most recent victory being in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals when a last gasp winner from Alvaro Morata sent Eddie Howe and his men packing.
Antonio Conte will be without several players as they await Bournemouth on Wednesday. Willian, Alvaro Morata and David Luiz are all out of the encounter through injury.
The Blues will welcome back Thibaut Courtois and Cesc Fabregas, with the pair returning from injuries which have kept them out in recent weeks.
No striker for Chelsea because of Morata’s unity, and Michy Batshuayi’s departure to Germany for the rest of the season.
Jermain Defoe and Tyrone Mings are absent for the Cherries as they are out with ankle and back injuries respectively.
But Joshua King and Junior Stanislas are both back in the frame as they return.
Chelsea continue to have another midweek fixture with only two days to recover and prepare for the game, unlike Bournemouth who last played over a week over ago.
Without a forward could be a challenge for Chelsea, as Michy Batshuayi is set to depart and won’t be in the side on Wednesday evening. Eden Hazard will be given the task to play in the false nine role.
Bournemouth will hold form as they only sit two points above the drop zone, despite sitting in 13th, and with nothing to lose at Stamford Bridge, they could cause Chelsea problems, just like they did back in December.
The home side only have two recognised forwards available in Pedro and Eden Hazard, so Antonio Conte will have some thinking to do.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-0 AFC Bournemouth