The Premier League returns as Bournemouth host Chelsea on Wednesday night. The hosts have done well during this campaign and have avoided a relegation battle for yet another season. However, they will still be looking to have a strong second half of the season and finish as high as possible. Meanwhile, the visitors will be hoping to consolidate their position in the top four with a return to winning ways in the league.
Eddie Howe has consolidated his reputation this season and other Premier League clubs will have taken note of his impressive talents. Bournemouth are currently in 12th position and their manager will be targeting a top half finish. That would represent a real success for the Cherries taking their relative size into account. Their home form is usually reliable and Chelsea are far from unbeatable. Wednesday represents a real opportunity for the South Coast side.
The coming weeks are crucial for Chelsea, as they must retain their position in the Champions League places. The difficulty will be managing their squad as they remain in all competitions. Gonzalo Higuain made his debut in English football over the weekend and he is likely to remain in the starting eleven on Wednesday. This transfer has been done to get the best out of the club’s attacking talent, including Eden Hazard. It will be interesting to see how the pair link-up on Wednesday night.
- Callum Wilson has already scored ten goals in this season, becoming the second ever Bournemouth player to reach that landmark in a single Premier League season.
- Chelsea scored with all three of their shots on target against Sheffield Wednesday.
The Welsh international has been a breath of fresh air this season and emphasises the level of talent that exists outside of the Premier League. Bournemouth have to be praised for their choice to take a chance on the diminutive midfielder as he has emerged as a key player for Eddie Howe’s team. The expectations were low as he was far from a regular for Sheffield United, but he has been given a chance and taken it with both hands. Brooke has played in 21 of Bournemouth’s matches so far, with the majority coming as a starter. During that time, he has contributed five goals and three assists which is a good return. He is effective at finding space between the lines and he could be the player to cause the visitors real problems on Wednesday night.
There is no doubting who is Chelsea’s most important player. That label falls to Eden Hazard and the Belgian is on course for one of his best individual seasons as a professional footballer. Maurizio Sarri is a coach that the attacker enjoys playing under and the team are reaping the rewards. At times, they can be over-reliant on him, but the signing of Higuain should be the key to getting even more from the Belgian. The striker has excellent movement and he will provide a focal point that the side have been missing during recent weeks. This season, Hazard has contributed ten goals and ten assists already in the Premier League. It is a remarkable return and there could be even more to come from the 28-year-old.
Callum Wilson is a slight doubt for the home side, while Simon Francis is set to miss out for the Cherries. Lewis Cook and Dominic Solanke remain on the long term injury list.
Willian is a minor doubt after picking up a knock during the FA Cup victory over Sheffield Wednesday. Callum Hudson-Odoi will be hoping to earn more minutes after a good showing at the weekend. Gonzalo Higuain is set for his Premier League debut.
This should be a great watch for the neutral as Bournemouth are positive in their approach and they will be looking to unsettle Chelsea. There should be goals at both ends in this game and it could be that one or two players step up to ensure victory for their side. Although it is possible to see a home victory, I will predict an away win due to the arrival of Higuain. It will add another layer to the Chelsea team and their attack will benefit from it. They could send out a message to the two teams below them on Wednesday night.
Bournemouth 1-2 Chelsea