Chelsea travel to Bournemouth on Saturday as they look to follow up wins against both Watford and Everton to make it three victories in eight days.
Antonio Conte’s side hadn’t won in three matches ahead of the game last weekend but they appear to have put their problems behind with a good run up to face Eddie Howe’s side.
Danny Drinkwater made a shock return to first-team football against Everton in an impressive display. He played 60 minutes but Conte urged patience and he will likely be on the bench for the trip to Bournemouth.
N’Golo Kante is nearing a return but he is not expected to be back to face Bournemouth, instead eyeing the Champions League fixture against Roma next week. Victor Moses is also expected to be out injured due to a hamstring complaint that he picked up against Crystal Palace around a fortnight ago.
Chelsea have no real other injury complaints as they were able to rest players in the Carabao Cup and still win at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
Baba Rahman remains at Stamford Bridge but isn’t part of the club’s Premier League or European squad due to a knee injury. He is expected to return by late November. Conte address the situation around injuries at his press conference on Friday afternoon.
Chelsea have no suspensions for the match against Watford. David Luiz returned from a three-match ban against Crystal Palace after getting sent off against Arsenal over a month ago.
He also suffered a fractured wrist during that match against the Gunners but he is playing through the minor injury.
POTENTIAL STARTING LINE-UP
Chelsea gave a full rest to Eden Hazard, David Luiz, Marcos Alonso, Cesar Azpilicueta and Tiemoue Bakayoko for the mid-week Carabao Cup match and they will likely return for the Blues against Bournemouth.
Conte hadn’t rotated many of his players until the match against Everton but he will have a fresher side to travel to the south coast with the likes of Ethan Ampadu, Charly Musonda and Kenedy starting in the cup.
Chelsea will likely continue in the 3-4-3 formation but they will have half an eye on the Roma away match on Tuesday in the Champions League. The match against Bournemouth may be prioritised for Conte, if anything with seven points already on the board in Group C in Europe.
Hazard, Pedro and Alvaro Morata started their first game together against Watford last weekend and they will likely continue for Chelsea on Saturday.
BOURNEMOUTH TEAM NEWS
Joshua King and Jermain Defoe are both facing a race to return to face Chelsea as they missed last weekend’s action with illness and a hamstring injury respectively. Benik Afobe and Callum Wilson have been used in their absence by Howe as striking options.
Tyrone Mings is out with a back injury until December but Bournemouth have no other notable injury concerns ahead of the visit of the champions.
Nathan Ake and Asmir Begovic will face their former club after moving for £20 million and £10m respectively in the summer transfer window.
BEST OPTA MATCH FACTS
- Chelsea lost their last Premier League away game; 1-2 at Crystal Palace. They haven’t lost successive Premier League away games since November 2015 under Jose Mourinho.
- This is Bournemouth’s lowest points total (7) after nine games of a Premier League season. Last season they’d collected 12 points and in 2015-16 they had eight.
- 53 of Chelsea’s league goals since the start of 2016-17 have come from Spanish players – this is more than 22 of the 23 sides to play in La Liga since then, with only Athletic Club (61) scoring more through Spaniards in this period.
- Jermain Defoe is the only player to score in the Premier League against Chelsea for four different clubs (Tottenham, West Ham, Sunderland and Portsmouth) and could extend that to five clubs in this game. There have been seven previous occasions of a player scoring against an opponent for five different
teams in Premier League history.
- Defoe’s next goal will be his 200th in league competition. He’s currently scored 91 for Spurs, 34 for Sunderland, 29 for West Ham, 19 for Bournemouth, 15 for Portsmouth and 11 for Toronto.