Chelsea could potentially move into second place on the Premier League standings with a big win against Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
Date: 31 January 2018
Match Day 25
Kick-off: 21H45 (GMT+2)
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Referee: L. Probert
Assistants: A. Garratt, M. Wilkes
Fourth official: R. East
TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS
Chelsea 6 5 0 1
Bournemouth 6 1 0 5
Chelsea 2-1 Bournemouth 20/12/17 (League Cup)
Chelsea goalscorers: Willian (13′), A. Morata (90′)
Bournemouth goalscorer: D. Gosling (90′)
— AFC Bournemouth ? (@afcbournemouth) January 31, 2018
Players to watch:
Eden Hazard continues to be Chelsea’s main man with eight league goals this season, while Michy Batshuayi scored a brace in his last game to take his tally to 12 in all competitions (Hazard also has 12 all told). And while Batshuayi’s future at the club remains in the balance with Olivier Giroud reportedly set to sign, the Belgian may well continue to feature in the interim for the Blues with fellow striker Alvaro Morata, who has 10 league goals, and 12 in total, still out injured.
Callum Wilson leads the goalscoring charts for Bournemouth with six goals while Ryan Fraser recently bagged his fourth of the season, but with no real superstars to talk of, it will need a team effort from the Cherries to turn over Chelsea on Wednesday.
Team form and manager quotes:
Antonio Conte’s side comes into this match in third place and on the back of a 3-0 victory over Newcastle in the FA Cup, having been eliminated from the League Cup by Arsenal to end a run of 12 games undefeated in all competitions.
The Cherries have not won since beating Arsenal two weeks ago, and have since lost 3-0 to Wigan in the FA Cup and drawn 1-1 with West Ham in the league to leave them in 13th place on the standings, 25 points behind their opponents this weekend.
Ahead of the game, Conte spoke of his desire to see the transfer window close with the club expecting a flurry of activity.
Chelsea has already sealed a deal for Roma left-back Emerson Palmieri ahead of reported moves for Olivier Giroud and Fernando Llorente.
Conte said: “I give my opinion to the club and then they try to do their best in the transfer market.
“I will be happy in both cases – if the club decides to add players, or [else] I am happy with these players.
“My only hope is to finish the transfer market very soon.”
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe, meanwhile, praised his opposite number ahead of facing Chelsea.
He said: “In many ways, he’s revolutionised the Premier League.
“I’ve got a lot of time for him. If you look at a lot of teams now, they’re playing five at the back, three at the back, that’s down to Antonio, and the revolution he’s brought to the Premier League.
“Tactically he’s made the league more interesting, and it’s been fascinating to see his work delivered on the pitch.”
Thibaut Courtois returns from an ankle injury after four games out, while Cesc Fabregas should return to the side following his hamstring injury.
David Luiz (ankle), Willian (hamstring) and Morata (back) are all out.
For Bournemouth, Joshua King and Junior Stanislas are both back in contention after their respective injuries, but Jermain Defoe (ankle) and Tyrone Mings (back) are still sidelined.