Chelsea are scheduled to welcome Bournemouth to Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon for their final piece of action in the English Premier League before parting for the first international break of the 2018-19 football season.
Life at the Bridge has begun on a stellar note for Maurizio Sarri. The Italian gaffer has adapted to the English game like a duck to water, amassing maximum points in his opening three matches in the Premier League.
The Blues were quick off the mark with an emphatic 3-0 win away to Huddersfield Town on the opening weekend, before sealing a reassuring victory over Unai Emery’s Arsenal the following week. Their trip to St James’ Park last Sunday presented the sternest challenge thus far into their campaign – a challenge they only overcame through an own goal at the tail end of a decidedly uninspiring match.
The most intriguing aspect of that encounter was Chelsea’s overwhelming dominance of possession. With Toon boss Rafa Benitez setting his side up for a 90-minute rearguard action, the Blues held the ball for an astonishing 82 percent of the game. Italian midfielder Jorginho completed 159 passes on his own – some 28 more than the entire Newcastle XI.
It was by all accounts an excellent result for Chelsea nonetheless, bringing them level on nine points with Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and surprise package Watford at the top end of the table.
Bournemouth had a chance to join the leading pack, but their winning start came to a halt in one of Matchweek 3’s most entertaining clashes.
Everton drew first blood despite going down to 10 men late in the first half, with Theo Walcott finding the back of the net in the 56th minute. They doubled their lead 10 minutes later through Michael Keane, not long after Bournemouth had a man of their own sent off. With both teams a player down, the Cherries unleashed a remarkable comeback to snatch a point through a Joshua King penalty and a Nathan Ake tap-in.
That stirring late charge ensured Eddie Howe’s side remain unbeaten and sets the scene for what promises to be an eye-catching bout at the Bridge.
Cesc Fabregas will sit out the encounter as the Spaniard continues to struggle with a knee injury picked up during pre-season, while midfielder Marco van Ginkel could miss the rest of the campaign having undergone knee surgery in the English summer.
Junior Stanislas and Kyle Taylor are long-term outs for Bournemouth, but there could be a debut for summer signing Diego Rico now that he has served his carry-over suspension from last season in La Liga.
Chelsea vs. Bournemouth betting predictions
|Best Bets||Odds||Bet Now|
|Chelsea to win||-357.14 at William Hill||Place Bet|
|Total match goals over 2.5||-250 at William Hill||Place Bet|
His appointment may have seemed like a raw deal at first, but Maurizio Sarri is slowly but surely winning over the hearts of the Stamford Bridge faithful. The likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham are considered favorites for the title, which takes some heat off a Blues outfit that was well off the pace last season. Expect another strong showing from the Londoners.
Chelsea vs. Bournemouth recent results
Chelsea 0-3 Bournemouth (January 31, 2018)
Callum Wilson 51’
Junior Stanislas 64’
Nathan Ake 67’
Bournemouth 0-1 Chelsea (October 28, 2017)
Eden Hazard 51’
Bournemouth 1-3 Chelsea (April 8, 2017)
Josh King 42’
Adam Smith 17’ (OG)
Eden Hazard 20’
Marcos Alonso 68’
Chelsea 3-0 Bournemouth (December 26, 2016)
Eden Hazard 49’ (P)
Steve Cook 90+3’ (OG)
Bournemouth 1-4 Chelsea (April 23, 2016)
Tommy Elphick 36’
Eden Hazard 34’, 90+1’
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