Chelsea vs Bournemouth: Preview and Prediction

Chelsea will aim to complete a remarkable recovery by finishing fifth in the Premier League when they welcome Bournemouth to Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

An action-packed 2023/24 Premier League season will culminate on Sunday with Gameweek 38. All ten matches in the final round of fixtures will kick off at the same time, with one of those ties featuring two resurgent teams as Chelsea and Bournemouth lock horns at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea fans would have bitten your hand off if you told them they might finish fifth after the end of the 2023/24 season. The West London club spent a major portion of the campaign in the bottom half of the Premier League table. However, the Blues have lost only one of their last 14 games to climb to sixth in the standings, just three points behind a struggling Tottenham.

As for Bournemouth, they were slow off the blocks, winning only one of their first 11 games to sit in the 18th spot on the Premier League table. That led many to question the decision to sack Gary O’Neil and replace him with Andoni Iraola. However, the Spaniard has pushed his ideas across the group, losing just eight more games in 26 outings to be on the cusp of clinching a top-half finish.

The reverse fixture ended in a goalless stalemate, with Chelsea failing to breach Neto’s goal despite dominating the proceedings. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides.

Team News & Tactics


Mauricio Pochettino has new roster issues hampering his preparations ahead of his side’s latest fixture. Against Bournemouth on Sunday, the Chelsea manager will be bereft of the services of six first-team players.

Reece James is the latest absentee, with the Chelsea captain serving a suspension after seeing red against Brighton & Hove Albion. In addition, Mykhailo Mudryk is unavailable after Tariq Lamptey’s elbow collided with his jaw.

The duo has joined Robert Sanchez (unspecified), Wesley Fofana (knee), Romeo Lavia (thigh), and Enzo Fernandez (groin) on the sidelines. Meanwhile, there is some positive update, with Ben Chilwell closing in on returning to action.

The Englishman will unlikely be fit enough to start, with Marc Cucurella retaining his spot on the left flank. Cucurella will accompany Malo Gusto, Trevoh Chalobah, and Thiago Silva in the backline, with the latter playing his final game for Chelsea. Djordje Petrovic is an automatic pick between the sticks.

As for the midfield unit, Moises Caicedo and Conor Gallagher will pair up in the double pivot, while Cole Palmer will reprise the no. 10 role. Mudryk’s absence means Raheem Sterling and Noni Madueke will be the two wide attackers. Finally, Nicolas Jackson will lead the line for Chelsea against Bournemouth.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Petrovic; Gusto, Chalobah, Silva, Cucurella; Caicedo, Gallagher; Madueke, Palmer, Sterling; Jackson


Unlike his counterpart in the Chelsea dugout, Andoni Iraola has greeted positive updates on the team news front ahead of the trip to Stamford Bridge. The Bournemouth manager might be without only two first-team players.

Milos Kerkez is available after serving a suspension. In addition, Chris Mepham (illness) and Romain Favre (ankle) face late fitness tests to determine their availability. However, Ryan Fredericks (calf) and Luis Sinisterra (hamstring) remain on the sidelines.

Neto will take his spot between the sticks, with Bournemouth lining up in a 4-2-3-1 formation in front of him against Chelsea. The backline should feature Adam Smith, Illia Zabarnyi, Marcos Senesi, and Lloyd Kelly.

As for the midfield unit, there is no looking past Ryan Christie and Lewis Cook in the double pivot. Justin Kluivert will reprise the no. 10 role, with Antoine Semenyo and Dango Ouattara being the two wide attackers. Finally, Dominic Solanke will spearhead the Bournemouth attack on Sunday.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Neto; Smith, Zabarnyi, Senesi, Kelly; Christie, Cook; Semenyo, Kluivert, Ouatarra; Solanke

Key Stats

  • Chelsea are unbeaten in their last four Premier League meetings with Bournemouth (W2 D2). However, three of Bournemouth’s four top-flight wins against the Blues have come at Stamford Bridge.
  • Since Bournemouth’s debut Premier League campaign in 2015/16, only Manchester City and Liverpool have won more away games against Chelsea in the top flight.
  • Chelsea can win five consecutive Premier League games for the first time since March 2022 under Thomas Tuchel.
  • Bournemouth have finished all seven of their Premier League campaigns with an away fixture, winning two and losing three of the previous six.
  • Andoni Iraola’s men have earned just two points from a possible 33 against teams currently in the top six (D2 L9).
  • Cole Palmer has scored 16 of his 22 Premier League goals at Stamford Bridge this season, equalling Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard’s home scoring record at the club.

Player to Watch

Raheem Sterling

Embed from Getty Images

Sunday’s game is crucial for Raheem Sterling ahead of the summer transfer window. The English international has not had a satisfactory spell with Chelsea since arriving from Manchester City nearly two years ago.

While Sterling is happy at Chelsea, the Blues are considering cashing in on him in the summer transfer window. So, how he fares on Sunday will go a long way in determining his fortunes in the market. Sterling will thus be eager to stamp his authority to end a topsy-turvy campaign on a high.


Chelsea 3-1 Bournemouth

The reverse fixture displayed Chelsea’s worst problems in the final third as they failed to capitalise on having more possession due to their wastefulness in front of the goal. However, the Blues have come leaps and bounds in the last few months, with Nicolas Jackson also improving considerably.

On the other hand, Bournemouth’s hopes of finishing in the top half have significantly reduced after suffering two successive defeats. While 2023/24 has been a successful debut season for Andoni Iraola, the campaign will end with another loss. The Hard Tackle predicts a 3-1 win for Mauricio Pochettino and his charges.

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