April 7, 2017

Bournemouth v. Chelsea Preview  (Sky Sports)

Eden HazardChelsea can move another step closer to securing the Premier League title with victory at Bournemouth on Saturday.

Antonio Conte's side maintained their seven-point lead at the top of the table with a 2-1 victory over Manchester City on Wednesday.

That gap could be closed to four points by the time Chelsea play on Saturday evening if Tottenham beat Watford earlier in the day.

"We must be focused and try to win six games and take three points," said Blues boss Conte. "If we are able to do this, we will win the title.

"Otherwise it will be a good season, but not a great season. We will remember this season if we win."

The midweek victory over City was the perfect response for Chelsea after they were beaten 2-1 at home by Crystal Palace at the weekend.

Bournemouth stretched their unbeaten run to five matches on Wednesday after grabbing a late equaliser to draw 2-2 against Liverpool.

The draw lifted the Cherries seven points clear of the relegation zone.

Team news

Victor Moses could be available to return for Chelsea after missing the last two games with a toe injury.

Bournemouth midfielder Dan Gosling is rated as only 50/50 because of a knee injury.

Ryan Fraser comes back into contention for a starting place after his substitute appearance at Liverpool, but Andrew Surman is out with a knee problem.

Winger Junior Stanislas has been carrying a groin injury, while defender Tyrone Mings serves out his five-match suspension for a stamp on Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Forward Callum Wilson, goalkeeper Adam Federici and defender Rhoys Wiggins all continue their recoveries from knee injuries.

Opta stats

Bournemouth have lost six of their eight games against Chelsea in all competitions (W2). Their only win at home came in their first game against them in September 1988.

Eden Hazard has scored three times in three previous Premier League appearances against Bournemouth.

Antonio Conte's side have won 33 points from their 15 away games so far in 2016-17; only twice in Chelsea's history have they picked up more points at this stage of the season (35 in 2003/04 and 38 in 2004/05).

Bournemouth have won consecutive Premier League fixtures at the Vitality Stadium, netting five goals in the process. They could win three in a row for just the second time in the competition (also in October 2016).

Josh King has doubled his Premier League goal tally from last season (6) with 12 goals, scoring nine goals in his last 10 Premier League appearances for the Cherries

Diego Costa has netted just one goal in his last five away appearances in the Premier League, this after scoring eight in his previous nine this season.

Costa hasn't scored in any of his last three Premier League appearances and he's never gone four in a row in the competition without scoring. The last time he did this in league competition was in La Liga with Atletico Madrid in January 2014.

Merson's prediction

The pressure will be on Chelsea if Spurs win earlier in the day and make the gap closer than it's been in a while. Bournemouth are a real bag of Revels because you don't know what you're going to get from them. They could give Chelsea a real game or get absolutely thumped.

But I expect Chelsea to win this.

Paul predicts: 1-3 (12/1 with Sky Bet)

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