Bournemouth go in search of a famous league double against a Chelsea side that will be determined to recover from successive Premier League defeats in which they have failed to score.
With the exception of a trip to bottom club Aston Villa, it has been a difficult few weeks for Bournemouth. Heavy losses have been suffered against high-flying duo Tottenham and Manchester City, while last time out they came away with nothing despite a spirited showing against Liverpool, so Eddie Howe will be hoping his side have better luck here.
There were plenty of positives against the Reds as they always carried a goal threat and were unlucky not to be awarded at least one penalty kick. For this one they should fancy their chances more, given that Chelsea appear to have downed tools and are playing like a team that has very little to play for. If there is one thing that the Cherries do not lack it is hunger and desire, so that may just swing the game in their favour here.
After a renaissance under Guus Hiddink that lifted them up to mid-table and no further, Chelsea have gone back to their early season form, looking totally ragged and frankly not at all like a side that won the title by a reasonably wide margin last season. They were taken apart by a rampant Man City last weekend, caught out time and again by lightning-quick counter-attacks and clinical finishing from Sergio Aguero, while the midfield toiled in its attempts to break up the play.
The one and only positive is that some youngsters are finally being given their chance and Ruben Loftus-Cheek was the Blues’ brightest spark for a time against Man City, but many other members of the squad have let themselves down this season and have perhaps done enough damage to their reputations to suggest that their days in West London may be numbered. This will be another tricky one, as matching the willpower of Bournemouth is set to be their biggest test.
Callum Wilson has come off the bench for the hosts in their last two games and will continue to build up his fitness with another appearance here, but Harry Arter and Adam Smith are both absent.
Asmir Begovic had a loan spell with Bournemouth early in his career, and he will line up in goal for Chelsea here as Thibaut Courtois serves a suspension. Eden Hazard could return after missing the last five games.
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