You would have to go back to 1988 to find Bournemouth’s only previous home win against Chelsea in what was then a second flight fixture, and now the minnows will be hoping to disrupt Chelsea’s rampant storm towards the title. With a seven point lead and eight games left to play, Chelsea will be looking to ensure that they can avoid another potential banana skin against one of the league’s most unpredictable outfits.
Unbeaten in five, Eddie Howe’s side have taken points off of both Liverpool and Manchester United in that run, with wins over Swansea and West Ham before a South Coast derby draw with Southampton. That seems to have secured the club’s Premier League status for another season and means that the in-form side will go into the game with nothing to lose and flowing in confidence after Josh King’s late equaliser at Anfield on Wednesday.
Chelsea may have slipped up last weekend against Crystal Palace, but Bournemouth will represent an entirely different challenge from the defensive Eagles, and the Blues will have shaken off any concerns after they overcame Manchester City in midweek to get one hand on the Premier League trophy. Before that, wins over the likes of Stoke, Manchester United, West Ham and Swansea mean that Antonio Conte’s side can be confident.
Eddie Howe will not make any changes after his side’s impressive display at Anfield in midweek, with Jack Wilshere set to start again in midfield alongside Harry Arter in the middle, with Josh King playing just behind Benik Afobe.
Antonio Conte is likely to opt for an unchanged side from that which saw off Manchester City in midweek, with Kurt Zouma likely to start again having made his first start in over a year on Wednesday. Cesar Azpilicueta will continue at wing back with Pedro up-front.
Bournemouth have no new injury concerns and will only have the absence of Tyrone Mings to deal with as he continues to serve his suspension after an incident involving Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the game between the two teams at Old Trafford.
Chelsea, too, are injury free, and will be boosted by the news that it seems that Diego Costa has escaped punishment after seeming to lash out and kick Vincent Kompany in Wednesday night’s game, with some reports suggesting that he could face retrospective action.
Verdict: Bournemouth 0-3 Chelsea
Bournemouth have been in great form of late and have shown their ability to match the top sides, but Chelsea should be too powerful for them. With the title now in their sights, it’s unlikely that the Cherries will be able to stand in their way with a tough enough challenge to upset their chances.