While the Blues are searching for their first win in any competition since March 11, the Cherries are looking to record three successive top-flight victories for the first time this season.
No Premier League team lost more games, won fewer points or scored fewer goals than Bournemouth between the World Cup break and March, plunging the Cherries into the hotly-contested relegation dogfight, but Gary O’Neil’s men have since turned their fortunes around in impressive fashion.
Indeed, a run of five victories in their last seven league matches has helped Bournemouth climb out of the relegation zone and up to 13th in the table, nine points clear of the bottom three with just four games remaining.
Their latest triumph took place last weekend as goals from Jefferson Lerma (2), Dominic Solanke and Antoine Semenyo helped secure a comfortable 4-1 home victory over Leeds United – scoring four goals in a league game for the first time this season.
O’Neil and co know that securing one more win will all but guarantee their place in the Premier League for next season, and they can be confident of claiming a positive result on Saturday considering that they have accumulated seven points from their last four league meetings with Chelsea.
Cherries fans will reminisce about the 4-0 thrashing of the West Londoners at the Vitality Stadium in January 2019, while they were unfortunate to only come away with a point in a 2-2 home draw in February 2020, with Marcos Alonso netting an 85th-minute equaliser for the visitors on that occasion.
Chelsea’s decision to sack Graham Potter and bring in caretaker boss Frank Lampard is yet to be vindicated, with the West Londoners losing all six games and scoring just two goals since the 44-year-old took charge at the beginning of April.
Wolverhampton Wanderers, Brighton & Hove Albion, Brentford and Real Madrid, on two occasions, all came out on top against the Blues before Arsenal put Lampard’s side to the sword with a 3-1 victory at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night.
Chelsea have now lost 14 of their 33 Premier League games this season and are languishing in 12th place in the table, and they may be forced to start looking over their shoulders at the prospect of entering an unimaginable relegation battle if their downward spiral continues.
Not only would another defeat on Saturday mathematically end Chelsea’s chances of qualifying for Europe, it would also set a new unwanted club record for the most consecutive losses in all competitions – matching two previous runs endured between November and December of 1952, and between December 1960 and January 1961.
Lampard heads to the Vitality Stadium having failed to win all three of his previous top-flight meetings with Bournemouth as a manager, although Chelsea secured a 2-0 win over the Cherries at Stamford Bridge earlier this season courtesy of two first-half goals from Kai Havertz.
Bournemouth Premier League form:
Chelsea Premier League form:
Chelsea form (all competitions):
We say: Bournemouth 2-1 Chelsea
Chelsea managed to beat Bournemouth without reply in December, but a lot has changed since and the two teams enter the reverse fixture on Saturday in contrasting form, with a tighter affair potentially on the cards at the Vitality Stadium.
With the Blues lacking confidence and direction under the current management, we believes that the Cherries can continue their strong run by claiming maximum points as they make a final push to all but secure their Premier League status for next season.