There have been signs of improvement for Chelsea in recent weeks and they will be hoping that they can now begin to climb the table. They are still set for their most disappointing season since 2011/12 domestically, but they will be hoping to repeat their exploits in the Champions League from the same season. This weekend, they are coming up against Bournemouth, who have struggled and are facing a relegation battle. However there were signs against Everton that that they may be able to turn their form around and climb out of trouble in the coming weeks.
Chelsea are still incredibly in 14th position and are 12 points away from the top four, what would have been the odds on that? I doubt anybody would have bet on it, but you’d bet on them getting out of it and can check out a full list of free bets on betting-expert. It would be foolish to rule out Chelsea as contenders for the top four, but it does look increasingly unlikely every week that passes. Last season, they were very strong defensively and that has changed this season. However, Jose Mourinho will be boosted by the fact that his side has managed to keep clean sheets in their last two league matches. It was important for the club that they avoided defeat against Tottenham and they managed to do that. This month will be crucial in deciding the future of Jose Mourinho. If he can turn the form around, then maybe he will have a long term future at Stamford Bridge.
Meanwhile, Bournemouth are in the relegation zone, but they look to have more fight within their squad than both Newcastle and Aston Villa, which will give Eddie Howe hope that they can survive in their first season in the top flight. They have had to deal with huge injury problems and that has certainly prevented them from settling in easily in the Premier League. There are comparisons that can be drawn with Burnley from last season. Both teams have plenty of fighting spirit, but they appear to lack the required quality to stay in the Premier League.
These two sides haven’t met in the league since the 1988/89 season in the second division. On that occasion, Chelsea won at home, while Bournemouth won the match on the South Coast. It will be interesting to see how the two clubs do this weekend, as both desperately need to start picking up points.
Only the bottom five clubs in the division have conceded more goals than Chelsea this season, highlighting their vulnerabilities at the back.
Bournemouth haven’t won a match since September, and they have only won twice all season.
Willian has been a rare bright light for Chelsea this season, with his free kick ability gaining recognition. He has certainly been the most dangerous player in the final third, with both Oscar and Eden Hazard failing to live up to their form from last year. He has two goals and one assist in the Premier League this season, which isn’t great, but his overall play has been encouraging for Chelsea fans. In the Champions League, he has come alive, managing to score an incredible four goals in five outings. He will be hoping to bring some of that form into the league campaign and help Chelsea reignite their season. Willian has looked a lot better at keeping possession this season and can easily beat defenders with his pace and skill. Bournemouth have struggled defensively this season and they will struggle to deal with the Brazilian’s movement and dynamic play in the final third.
After Bournemouth clinched promotion to the Premier League, many were excited to see how Matt Ritchie would adjust to top flight football after shining in the other three divisions in England with Swindon and Bournemouth. He has looked like he is beginning to settle at the higher level in the last month, and that will be a positive for Bournemouth going forwards as they will need his attacking quality if they are to beat the odds and stay in the division. The winger has managed to get two goals and two assists in the league so far and he will be hoping to significantly add to that before the end of the season, as he will want to stay in the Premier League, even if Bournemouth fail to do so. He has an incredible crossing and free kick ability, which creates lots of chances for his side. Ritchie will be a concern for Chelsea, as Bournemouth are most likely to threaten from set pieces and he has an excellent delivery from dead ball situations.
John Terry and Ramires are both huge doubts for the weekend. Radamel Falcao is also looking like he could miss out for Chelsea. The champions could be boosted by the return of Thibaut Courtois and that will be welcomed by everyone associated with the club.
Lee Tomlin and Marc Pugh could return this weekend to play a part against the champions. Harry Arter, Adam Federici and Artur Boruc are all likely to miss out. Christian Atsu, Max Gradel, Callum Wilson and Tyrone Mings remain long term absentees.
It is going to be another nervy afternoon at Stamford Bridge, with the home fans not knowing what to expect from their club at present. If Courtois comes back into the starting eleven, that could boost the squad to put in a good performance as he has been a huge miss for the defence. Bournemouth showed in the final ten minutes against Everton that there is still fight in their squad and they will be hoping that they take the momentum gained to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea are definitely beatable as they have showed on numerous occasions this season and they won’t enjoy playing a Bournemouth side full of energy. However, I think it will be a narrow home victory.
Chelsea 2-1 Bournemouth