PMB: Chelsea v Bournemouth - history and tactics

We complete our preview for the game with a glance at the past and at tonight from club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton…



Chelsea and Bournemouth lock horns for only the 12th time in all competitions, with the Blues prevailing in nine of the previous 11 and the Cherries winning the other two. There has never been a drawn match between the two.

Most recently at the Bridge, in late December, Eddie Howe’s men lost out in the quarter-final of the Carabao Cup. Two shuffled sides produced a match with a sting in the tail for both sets of supporters.

The hosts took an early lead when a delightful move involving Gary Cahill, Michy Batshuayi and a Kenedy back-heel to Cesc Fabregas, set up Willian for a flick into a wide-open goal. 

After that Bournemouth had their moments through Dan Gosling, Jermain Defoe (before he went off injured) and Jordon Ibe, and enjoyed lots of possession after the break without creating good chances.

As the game wore on Antonio Conte looked to extend the narrow advantage, bringing first Eden Hazard, then Alvaro Morata off the bench. It was the visitors who struck, right at the death, with Gosling curling the leveller past Willy Caballero after Morata had only partially headed away a long throw.

Straight from kick-off, in stoppage time, Davide Zappacosta hooked the ball forward to the darting Hazard, whose back-flick left Morata one-to-one with Artur Boruc. The Spaniard stabbed it through the goalkeeper’s legs to secure a last-gasp 2-1 victory. 

Video from the night can be seen below...

This is only the fourth league campaign in which both clubs have been in the same division, and Boxing Day 2016 was the south coast side’s most recent league visit, towards the end of the eventual champions’ remarkable 13-game winning run in the Premier League.

The 3-0 win was achieved without the suspended N’Golo Kante and Diego Costa, the hosts deploying a false no.9 in a 3-4-3 formation that tore the Dorset side apart.

The opening goal came after clever work between Hazard and Cesc Fabregas found Pedro, who clipped a wonderful strike over Boruc. Immediately after the break another wonderful run by Chelsea’s no.10 earned a penalty which he dispatched to make it 2-0. The Blues’ third was the second for Pedro, the Spaniard skipping past two challenges before his shot was deflected in off Steve Cook.  

Apart from the past two seasons, the only other league encounters were in 1988/89, the last time Chelsea were in the second tier. The March 1989 match at Stamford Bridge, first hosting 10th, Bobby Campbell versus Harry Redknapp, was settled by second-half goals from Gordon Durie and Graham Roberts – a penalty, somewhat inevitably.



Our previous meetings at Stamford Bridge

1988/89 Chelsea won 2-0Old Division Two
1994/95 Chelsea won 1-0League Cup
2015/16 Bournemouth won 1-0Premier League
2016/17 Chelsea won 3-0Premier League
2017/18 Chelsea won 2-1League Cup

The reverse match this season

28 October 2017 Premier League

Bournemouth…..……0    Chelsea………..……1

                                        Hazard 51

              Att: 10,998


Other match this season

20 December 2017 Carabao Cup quarter-final

Chelsea……….…..……2     Bournemouth.……1

Willian 13                           Gosling 90

Morata 90+1

              Att: 41,168


Biggest league win at Stamford Bridge for each team

Chelsea 3-0 Bournemouth          26/12/2016

Chelsea 0-1 Bournemouth          05/12/2015





•            With the Watford game delayed until Monday, followed by a free week, Antonio Conte may well choose his strongest available side against a team that plays open, attacking football. 

•            With injuries to Willian and Alvaro Morata, though, the head coach’s options are a little crimped. However Thibaut Courtois and Cesc Fabregas are available again, January signing Ross Barkley is working his way to match sharpness, and the younger squad members are showing they can be trusted on the big stage.

•            After Bournemouth hogged possession for periods in the Carabao Cup quarter-final, Conte will want his team to win the midfield and the lion’s share of 50-50s this evening. The Italian sacrificed a wide forward, Pedro, for substitute Tiemoue Bakayoko to even things up as it was three central midfielders against two in their favour last time around. Jordon Ibe’s purposeful runs from deep were also a threat to the Blues in that cup game.

•            Chelsea should also be wiser to Steve Cook’s long throw-ins, which led to problems – and a goal – in that encounter. 

•            Although he set his team up a 5-3-2 for the recent Carabao Cup meeting, Eddie Howe has flitted between 4-2-3-1 and 3-4-2-1 formations in recent weeks, favouring three at the back against top-six opposition in the loss at Man City and victory at home to Arsenal, as well as the two defeats to Chelsea. 

•            When the Blues won at Dean Court in October, Callum Wilson led the line with Benik Afobe (pictured below). The system had changed to 3-4-1-2, with Adam Smith and Daniels playing as wing-backs.

•            ‘We’ve been in good form [since the Carabao Cup defeat by Chelsea] and have re-found our goalscoring touch,’ Howe said in the build-up to this game. Wilson has netted three goals in his past five league games, and his selfless running allows the Cherries to press opposition defences more than was the case earlier this season.

•            That said, Bournemouth have not managed a clean sheet in the league for 11 matches, and are without a win on the road since Newcastle in early November. Steve Cook and the injured Jermain Defoe and are their top away goalscorers with two.

•            Bournemouth’s only incoming traffic this transfer window has been the return from loan of forward Lewis Grabban, who had struck 12 times in 20 games for Sunderland. 


•            Asmir Begovic was a member of the Chelsea squad who were crowned Premier League champions in 2016/17.

•            Nathan Ake played twice in the 2012/13 Europa League and 2014/15 League Cup winning campaigns, and helped the Blues to two Premier League titles




David Luiz (ankle)

Alvaro Morata (back)

Willian (hamstring)






Jermain Defoe (ankle)

Tyrone Mings (back)


Harry Arter (illness)