Chelsea v Bournemouth Cheat Sheet
Chelsea v Bournemouth
The Premier League is back and Tuesday afternoon sees Bournemouth travel to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea. Chelsea will have been relieved for the break following a poor run of form in the last month after Graham Potter started so brightly, unbeaten in his first nine and only conceding four in that time. Bournemouth shocked everyone with a very positive run of form in September and October which saw them unbeaten in six but since then they’ve lost four of their six. They were able to go into the break in a more positive mood however after a league and cup double over Everton in November.
Despite their poor form early in the season, many were surprised by Chelsea’s new owners’ decision to sack Thomas Tuchel – a man who won them the Champions League two years ago. However, after a month of Graham Potter being in the job, the decision looked totally justified after a strong start – particularly at the break. However, after a 4-1 defeat at Brighton, the wheels have come off, losing three of their four in that time and not scoring in any of those. However, given Graham Potter’s fairly unique style of play, a break and time to work on their tactics may be just what they needed and Chelsea fans will be hoping for an improvement here against a poor Bournemouth side. The Blues currently sit eight points behind Spurs in fourth and whilst they have a game in hand, they cannot afford to drop more points and further distance themselves in the race for the Champions League. The blues will have plenty of absentees here after losing Armando Broja to an ACL injury in a friendly, as well as Hakim Ziyech and Mateo Kovacic being given time to recover following their journeys in Qatar. They will also be without Wesley Fofans, N’Golo Kante, Ben Chilwell, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Carney Chukwuemeka. Mason Mount and Kepa should both be back here.
Bournemouth started their return to the Premier League in solid fashion, only losing three of their first ten. However, since then they lost four in a row, conceding ten in that time. They would have been relieved with their 3-0 win over Everton just before the break which helped to ease some of the pressure off of the players and manager. Whilst their position looks fairly comfortable in 14th, they sit just three points above the drop and still need to find some form. They have conceded 24 goals in just seven away games so that is an aspect in particular that they will be looking to improve upon. Bournemouth played a friendly against Newcastle and whilst that was good preparation, up to ten players had a virus before that game which disrupted preparation. Neto and David Brooks won’t be playing in this one while Jefferson Lerma, Lloyd Kelly and Marcus Tavernier are all doubts going into Tuesday’s match.
Many people laughed at Dominic Solanke’s price tag when he moved from Liverpool to Bournemouth, and whilst he hasn’t set the world alight, he’s been a key part of the progress from Championship football to the Premier League. Whilst also topping the Cherries shooting stats as per the Cheat Sheet, he has three goals and three assists so far this season and he will be looking to build on this if Bournemouth want to win here. He has had 26 shots in 13 starts, 13 of which have been on target. This selection has landed seven times in those 13 games and is one of Bournemouth’s main attacking threats. Before the break, he managed a massive six shots against Everton, two of which were on target showing that he is not afraid to take the shot on.
Philip Billing has been another big part of Bournemouth’s attack and he has racked up four goals so far this season, including a run where he scored three in four. He has had 14 shots in his 14 starts, six of which have been on target, including five shots in his last three. Earlier in the season he had two shots at Newcastle and scored in that game, suggesting that he isn’t afraid of having a shot against a bigger team, and his stats as an attacking midfielder suggests that he prefers playing in this more advanced role. He has also played on both wings so far this season, and his versatility means that he should play close to 90 minutes here.
Many were unsure about Koulibaly’s minutes when he was initially on the bench when Graham Potter came in, but he has since put those concerns to rest and has become an integral part of this Chelsea defence. He was at the World Cup with Senegal and had two shots in their game against Ecuador, scoring once. That took his tally to two for the season from 10 shots. He is not afraid to have a go from distance and scored a wondrous volley at Spurs to open his account as a Chelsea player at the start of the season – one of three attempts in that game.
Chelsea have been open at the back in recent games, and have conceded an average of 4.43 shots on target per game this season. In their last five in all competitions, they have conceded 25 shots on target at an average of five per game, and conceded a massive five to both Manchester City in the Cup and Brighton on the south coast. This suggests that they will concede plenty of opportunities.
Bournemouth have sat back in plenty of games, averaging just 38.5% possession, but they have averaged 3.20 shots on target per game this season and scored three just before the break, suggesting that they may try and play more positively. In the EFL Cup, whilst they defended resolutely in the first half, they only managed one shot but came out and attacked a bit more in the second half where they had five shots. O’Neil should look at this and try to keep that attacking intent against a vulnerable Chelsea side. In their last five, they have had 28 shots on target and this selection has landed in four games. They have also scored plenty of goals in that time, scoring at least two four times. Against Spurs, they had four shots on target and scored two goals, showing that they won’t necessarily let Chelsea dominate the ball and will try to make a game out of it by demonstrating attacking intent.
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