PMB: Bournemouth v Chelsea - matchday

Kick-off at the Vitality Stadium is not far away now, and the the final part of the Pre-Match Briefing gets you ready for tonight's game...

• Maurizio Sarri was happy with his team’s performance against Sheffield Wednesday but, not for the first time, would have preferred his team to kill the game off much earlier. Chelsea were able to rest Eden Hazard, David Luiz and Pedro, amongst others, ahead of this encounter with an attacking and open side in Bournemouth.

• The Blues have another league fixture against Huddersfield to come in three days’ time and it will be interesting to see the Italian’s selections tonight. Will Emerson return at left-back after sitting out Sunday’s match, for example, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek start after returning from injury? With Cesc Fabregas departed, Sarri also tried out 18-year-old Ethan Ampadu and Mateo Kovacic in the Jorginho role. Meanwhile another teenager, Callum Hudson-Odoi, is making things happen with a hand in five goals in as many starts for Chelsea in all competitions (two goals, three assists).

Read: Kovacic shines during the win over Sheffield Wednesday

• With seven goals in nine games against them, the Cherries must be Eden Hazard’s favourite opponents. The Belgian netted in both defeats of the Dorset side at the Bridge this season. Pedro was also on target against the South Coast side back in September, making it three in six league games against them. Only Fulham, Cardiff and Burnley are more fragile at the back than tonight’s hosts.


• Up to their 2-0 beating of West Ham a fortnight ago, Eddie Howe’s side had endured five games without a win, four of which were losses. Seventy per cent of their points have been earned at home this campaign, however.

• The Cherries are good at defending set-plays, with the fewest goals conceded from free-kicks and corners in the top flight. They have only trailed at the break once in 12 games at the Vitality Stadium – 10 of the 17 goals they have conceded at home have come after the interval.

• Howe has occasionally switched from a back four to a three or five, but the outcomes were not encouraging. He used Josh King and Callum Wilson as a front two against West Ham. Left winger Ryan Fraser is the standout contributor, setting up nine goals for his team-mates.


Maurizio Sarri's pre-match quotes

'We have to play a very difficult match, if you see their numbers at home you will see it’s very difficult. 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.'

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe’s pre-match quotes on Callum Wilson's injury

'Callum is going to be a doubt for the game.

'It’s a knee problem but we’re going to wait and see. We’re going to give him all the time he needs to try to get fit for this game.'

Squad news





Lewis Cook
Simon Francis

Dominic Solanke
Callum Wilson


Matchday weather outlook

Very, very cold, with a light wind and clear skies. 

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