Fine margin may separate Cherries and champions Chelsea
Blues in for a tough game
BT Sport 1, 5.30pm Saturday
Make what you will of talk of a supposed crisis at Stamford Bridge, but a team who were good enough to win at Spurs and Atletico Madrid aren’t easy to oppose at Bournemouth.
Whether you would back them at 4-6 is more worthy of debate than whether Antonio Conte has lost the dressing room, and the answer is probably not.
Chelsea's defeat at Crystal Palace on their previous away-day followed by sloppy efforts against Roma and Watford, have seen knives sharpen for title-winning boss Conte and the Italian was in a filthy mood addressing the media on Friday.
But when Chelsea are good, they are still very good. The way they managed to shrug off a dismal hour against Watford, hitting back with a seriously impressive last 30 minutes, suggests that these players are still trying to impress somebody.
They’ve got a Champions League trip to Roma to come on Tuesday but Conte rested nearly all of his first team on Wednesday night in a 2-1 League Cup success against Everton, and injury concerns are clearing up. N'Golo Kante and Victor Moses are their only big-name casualties at the moment.
Bournemouth are looking sturdy enough to be able to give Chelsea a really good workout and the way the Cherries play means they should be organised and create chances.
To that end, this looks a potentially tight match with possibly only one goal in it. Chelsea to win by one goal is a definite contender as a punt although the 8-5 that either side wins by the narrowest margin covers the hosts nicking it as well.
Six of Bournemouth’s nine Premier League matches this season have been decided by one goal, and Chelsea’s three losses have all been by the odd goal.
Eddie Howe’s men are certainly competitive and are arguably in a false league position.
Arsenal are the only team to have beaten them well, and this has been a particularly good week for Howe with a 2-1 success at Stoke followed by a 3-1 win against Middlesbrough in the League Cup.
Another bonus in that game was the impressive return of Callum Wilson, an England striker in waiting if he could just stay fit. Wilson is on standby with both Josh King and Jermain Defoe struggling.
Bournemouth go off at 5-1 which is a price that is hard to dispute given that they are 19th in the table.
Their big issue this season is a lack of goals, just six in total. They have not scored in four of their nine matches.
One or both teams not to score at 5-4 ought to look an option although Chelsea have leaked eight in their last four games and were a shambles at times against the Hornets.
Winning margin of one goal
1pt 8-5 Betway
Defenders Tyrone Mings, Brad Smith and Rhoys Wiggins are injured. Callum Wilson is pushing for a first league start in nine months. Josh King and Jermain Defoe are doubts.
N'Golo Kante and Victor Moses are injured.
Six of Bournemouth’s nine Premier League matches have been decided by a one-goal margin.
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