Ahead of Chelsea’s visit to the South Coast on Saturday to take on a recently promoted Cherries side, we took to Twitter to hear from you guys, the fans. Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth have drawn many admirers for their style of play and attitude but have so far failed to pick up too many points. Chelsea on the other hand have performed far below expectation but are we starting to see the shoots of recovery? Here’s what two of our followers had to say:
The hosts: Bournemouth – Rob Meech
Hi, I’m Rob, a Bournemouth fan and postman from Poole.
Back-to-back draws against Swansea and Everton, thanks to an incredible 98-minute equaliser, have steadied the ship after four demoralising defeats on the spin. We still haven’t tasted victory since September – a run of eight matches – but our displays have generally been better than the results suggest.
Manager approval rating: 10/10
Eddie Howe performed a miracle by guiding us to the Premier League and can do no wrong in the eyes of most Cherries supporters. He has been hamstrung this season by our crippling injury list and keeping us afloat would rank as his best achievement yet.
Predicted starting line-up
Likely to be a flexible 4-5-1 formation. Our two first-choice keepers, Artur Boruc and Adam Federici, are huge fitness doubts, so I predict it will be Allsop; Daniels, Distin, Francis, Smith; Stanislas, Surman, Gosling, Arter, Ritchie; King. We’ll look to flood the midfield and counter with pace when we get the chance.
Player to watch: Junior Stanislas
Stanislas scored twice against Everton last weekend and has been in blistering form since regaining his place in the starting XI. He was a peripheral figure last season but has really come into his own since Marc Pugh’s injury, offering pace, trickery and a genuine goal threat on the left wing.
Most feared opposition player: Eden Hazard
Where do I begin?! Chelsea are blessed with quality throughout the side despite their indifferent form. On his day, Eden Hazard is close to unstoppable and can tear teams to shreds. We will have to keep close tabs on him and not afford him the space to run at our fragile defence.
I’m going to be optimistic – you have to be, right? – and say that we can nick a point at Stamford Bridge; perhaps with a 1-1. Of course, we’ll need to be at our very best, particularly defensively, but if we can keep Chelsea quiet in the first 30 minutes we can prey on their lack of confidence.
You can follow Rob on Twitter here: @RobMeech
The visitors: Chelsea – Ben Wills
Benjamin Wills is a third-year sports journalism student at Brighton University who has supported Chelsea since the age of five. Chelsea are the Premier League holders but are currently enduring a slump in the league.
The Blues’ 0-0 draw at Tottenham was a frustrating one, but one that fans will take given the current predicament. Back-to-back wins at home to Norwich in the league and away to Tel Aviv Europe has lifted the mood somewhat around the club.
Manager approval rating: 7/10
I would give manager Jose Mourinho an approval rating of seven out of ten. Given his legend status and his undoubted managerial ability, myself and many other fans want him to remain at the club, however there are fears he may have lost the dressing room after firing doctor Eva Carneiro which puts doubt in the mind.
Predicted starting line-up
My predicted line-up for the Bournemouth clash would be a 4-2-3-1 with Thibaut Courtois in goal as a welcome return following his lengthy injury. Cesar Azpilicueta, John Terry, Kurt Zouma and Baba Rahman may make up the back four, Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas will be part of a midfield two behind Willian, Oscar and Eden Hazard while Diego Costa will be up front, despite ‘bib-gate’.
Due to aforementioned ‘bib-gate’ I think Costa will be the one-to-watch at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. He has not had the best of luck in-front of goal recently, despite scoring in the last home game against Norwich – and has a point to prove.
Most feared opposition player: Matt Ritchie
Matt Ritchie would be the man I would nominate as the Bournemouth key player, I watched a lot of him during his time at Swindon and knew then he would be a force in the Premier League. He is involved in most of the Cherries’ attacks with his running, his crossing, and he has a fierce shot on him too.
I am predicting a 2-0 Chelsea win, with the steadily improving performances bearing fruit with all the three points.
You can follow Ben on Twitter here: @_BenWills
Featured Image: All rights reserved by Stuart Bramley