PMB: Bournemouth v Chelsea - tactics

We conclude our Pre-Match Briefing for today's Premier League encounter away from home...



•            Now that Danny Drinkwater has recovered to make a solid debut, the impressive young Ethan Ampadu has shown himself reliable, and N’Golo Kante’s return is imminent, Antonio Conte suddenly has the luxury of five central midfielders from which to choose. The Italian also made it clear he is prepared to continue with three in that area as part of a 3-5-1-1 formation when he feels the 3-4-3 is not right. Although second-half tiredness of less regular starters became a factor midweek against Everton, the head coach was also impressed by Charly Musonda in a front three, Kenedy at left wing-back, and of course Andreas Christensen at the heart of the defence in David Luiz’s absence.

•            It will be interesting to see which of the usual starters retain a place today, including whether Davide Zappacosta starts at right wing-back or Conte reverts to Cesar Azpilicueta in that role. David Luiz, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata are also in line to start and, despite some heroics against Everton, Willy Caballero will almost certainly make way for Thibaut Courtois

•            Hazard has always enjoyed himself against one of the top flight’s less physical teams in Bournemouth, and has a record of four goals in as many appearances against the Cherries. It may be a busy afternoon for former Blues Asmir Begovic and Nathan Ake if Chelsea produce chances on the break as in previous meetings there.

•            Eddie Howe’ side always play patient, possession football with a commitment to attack. Against teams higher up the table, Howe has tended to field a three-man midfield with Andrew Surman dropping deeper than the other two and no wingers. In that 5-3-2 system, the full-backs are expected to push high to support the attack. The second striker, usually Josh King (pictured below) who is a doubt for today, roams around to win possession in the opposition half.

•            When Bournemouth do use wingers, they tend to be pacy and skilful like Junior Stanislas, Jordan Ibe, and Adam Fraser, looking for opportunities to take on the full-back. Jermaine Defoe may have overcome a hamstring injury and Benik Afobe was among the Cherries’ goalscorers against Middlesbrough in midweek – the DR Congo forward’s first notch since April and against the same opposition.

•            One aspect to look out for is that so far this season 80 per cent of the home league goals conceded by the Cherries have come in the second half of matches. 





Victor Moses (hamstring)

N’Golo Kante (hamstring)





Adam Federici (knee)

Tyrone Mings (back)

Brad Smith (hip)


Josh King (back)

Ryan Fraser



By Rick Glanvill

A FANTASY FOOTBALL GUIDE TO: Bournemouth v Chelsea