Chelsea are looking to maintain their 100% record this weekend as they welcome Bournemouth to Stamford Bridge. The Cherries have started the season well with seven points from a possible nine and won’t be easy opposition for the home side. Both sets of players with have a lot of confidence, which should lead to an entertaining match. Maurizio Sarri will be hoping for a more open game than his team endured last weekend, as Newcastle set-up deep and restricted the space given to the Blues’ players in the final third.
It has been a positive start to the season for Chelsea, after a slow summer that eventually resulted in a managerial change. Many supporters feared that Sarri wasn’t given enough time to implement his style, but early results indicate that progress has been made quickly on the training pitch. The Italian won’t be completely happy with the style as it stands, but there are improvements being made each week. The return of Eden Hazard to the starting eleven last weekend was a huge boost and the Belgian will be looking to explode under his new manager. Momentum is important in football. Another win for the home side and excitement around the club will build.
Bournemouth are expected to struggle every season, due to their relative size compared to the rest of the division. However, they have won two of their first three matches and remain unbeaten going into the match at Stamford Bridge. Eddie Howe has built a good squad on the South Coast. He will be confident that the Cherries can keep their head above water for another season. They look to play on the front foot and they won’t go to West London looking to park the bus. It should be a great watch for the neutrals.
- Only Frank Lampard (147) and Didier Drogba (104) have scored more Premier League goals than Eden Hazard. The Belgian scored his 70th last weekend against Newcastle.
- Since the start of last season, no team have won more points after going behind than Bournemouth’s 25.
There is excitement among Chelsea fans as they consider how good Eden Hazard could become under the management of Maurizio Sarri. The shackles will be taken off the Belgian international and he will be given the freedom to express himself as the leader of the Blues’ attack. He made his first start of the season against Newcastle last weekend. Although he isn’t fully-fit, he played an influential role in the victory, as he had 134 touches of the ball. It is obvious that the new manager has directed his players to get the ball to his star man as often as possible. Only Jorginho had more touches of the ball at St James’ Park. As he would have expected, the 27-year-old was targeted by the opposition defenders, but he continued to cause problems with his movement and contributions in possession. This weekend, he should have more space to work in as it is unlikely that Bournemouth will sit as deep as Newcastle. That should give Hazard encouragement that he will be able to impact the game. This season is shaping up to be an important one and early indications are that he is in the mood.
Chelsea have a 100% record so far, but their defence hasn’t been as convincing as it has been in recent seasons. Bournemouth will arrive at Stamford Bridge knowing that they can get at the hosts if they are positive in the final third. In Callum Wilson, they have a player in form and they will be looking to him to put the ball in the back of the net on Saturday. He has hit the ground running with two goals and one assist in his opening three matches. During recent seasons, he has been effective when he has managed to get on the pitch, but he has been hindered by injuries. Eddie Howe will be hoping that he has a fully-fit striker to call upon for the entire season. If Wilson does manage to steer clear of the treatment table, there is no reason why he can’t score upwards of ten Premier League goals for the first time in his career.
Sarri has a nearly fully-fit squad to choose from, with Cesc Fabregas being the only doubt. Willian will be pushing for a start after being left out against Newcastle United. However, it is unlikely that the Italian will make any changes to that starting eleven.
Bournemouth have a few more injury worries ahead of this weekend. Lys Mousset, Junior Stanislas and Marc Pugh are all likely to be missing for the trip to Stamford Bridge.
This is going to be an interesting contest that will tell us a lot about both teams. Chelsea have a 100% record, but there are a lot of unknowns about how the season will transpire under Maurizio Sarri. This will be a good indicator as they are coming up against a team in form, but one that they should beat comfortably at home. For Bournemouth, they have the opportunity to see how they match-up against one of the top-six sides. They won’t be expecting to take anything from the game, but they will approach it in a positive manner and that should lead to an entertaining fixture.
Chelsea 2-1 Bournemouth