Maurizio Sarri has highlighted Bournemouth’s quality at home as a reason to be cautious ahead of our meeting with the Cherries tonight.
The Blues travel to the Vitality Stadium off the back of two consecutive wins in the domestic cup competitions, and Sarri’s side are now looking to get back to winning ways in the Premier League in order to maintain our place in the top four.
Eddie Howe’s side have been particularly impressive in front of their own fans this season, and Sarri believes we will need to produce a high-level performance to secure the points.
‘We have to play a very difficult match, if you see their numbers at home you will see it’s very difficult,’ said the Italian.
‘They gained 21 points at home, nine away. They scored 10 goals more at home than away. They conceded eight goals less at home than away. They are a good team with a very special coach and it will be a difficult game for us. It will be very important for us at this moment to gain points.’
Having been rested for Sunday’s FA Cup win over Sheffield Wednesday, Sarri says Eden Hazard will return to the side for tonight’s game, although a decision is yet to be made on whether or not Gonzalo Higuain, who made his debut against the Owls, starts.
‘I want to see the condition of Gonzalo because he didn’t play very often in the last period so I want to see if he’s recovered,’ Sarri said.
‘Eden rested in the last match so he will play tomorrow for sure. I have to decide on Gonzalo. Here the defenders are really very aggressive so he has to get used to playing this football.’
In yesterday’s pre-match press conference, Sarri said he had been informed by the club that Callum Hudson-Odoi, a scorer in Sunday’s win over Sheffield Wednesday, would definitely not be leaving the club in this transfer window.
The Italian explained why he believes Stamford Bridge is the best place for the 18-year-old to develop.
‘Because here, I think, is his home,’ said Sarri. ‘We will be patient with him because he’s a boy from the Academy, I don’t know if another club will be patient after five or six matches because it’s very difficult to go to another country and adapt immediately, play very well immediately, so it will be a difficult situation.
‘So I think it’s better for him to try and improve here. But that’s my opinion, maybe I’m not right but it’s my opinion.’