Date: Saturday 6th May 2023
Venue: Vitality Stadium
Kick-off: 15:00 BST
After an appallingly embarrassing defeat to Arsenal Tuesday night – or at least in the first half, because we’ll claim a win for the second 45 minutes (since it’s the only way we’re likely to get one before this woeful season is done), today’s defeat will come against Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium.
Negative? Maybe, but so far, we’ve lost to Wolves, Brighton, Brentford, Real Madrid (twice) and Arsenal since Lampard took over from Graham Potter. Not that Lampard is particularly responsible for this mess, that honour sits with owners who seemingly know a lot less about Premier League football and Chelsea FC than they gave themselves credit for. Rather than swapping scapegoats on the touchline at a rate even Roman might baulk at, they would do well to hold the mirror up for a look at our biggest problem right now. I do find myself wondering whether we’d be in anything like this position if a different choice had been made a year ago. I can’t imagine we’d have shipped out Tuchel and shipped in more players than we had seats for at quite the same rate, and I’m almost certain we wouldn’t have seen the dressing room turned into a tourist attraction on a match-day. Anyway, the decisions were made and so we find ourselves 12th in the Premier League table, without a win since March and very little hope of the situation improving with the fixtures remaining.
The well-organised Bournemouth, meanwhile, come into today’s game rubbing their hands together with an almost certain third successive win to look forward to. They’ve won five of their last seven and sit level on points with us, in 13th. A win for either of us will all but guarantee a place in the Premier League next season. Unfortunately, there’s only one side this season you’d want to face to guarantee a win – and we can’t play ourselves.
Going into today’s game, Bournemouth manager Gary O’Neil, says “We’re definitely not favourites, absolutely no chance. Chelsea are a very good side with fantastic players. It hasn’t clicked yet. If it clicks, it’s a tough afternoon for the lads and we need to be at 100 per cent, as we have been for the last few to give Chelsea a real good game. I think it would be silly of us or anyone to think that we’re a better side than Chelsea going into this football match. They’re still very, very dangerous and have fantastic players all over the pitch, World Cup winners, Thiago Silva, an absolute superstar, fantastic centre-back. They have a good side and when it starts to click for them, I’m sure they will be very, very dangerous.
I think everybody in the country is surprised that is hasn’t really happened for Chelsea with the high levels that they set themselves. It’s been a disappointing season so far for them. I still think, especially the players, will be coming here with an eye on next season and making sure they finish this season strongly. They’re a dangerous team with fantastic players. I’ve watched a lot of their recent games and they’ve not managed to win one recently, but, obviously, they still have some world-class players that could cause you problems.”
Chelsea interim manager, Frank Lampard, meanwhile, says “To be clear, when I say the players care – they do. The reality is the reaction that comes from that. It can be many reasons why, it can be an underperformance. It’s not a training issue as such. It’s working with the players and team or individually to make sure everyone is on point.
From my point of view, I don’t know. I’m here with the squad at the minute to try and get a turnaround then it’s up to the owners. I’m not hurting. I’ve been part of this club with big success. Any sport can give you moments of adversity. We at Chelsea have been pretty fortunate for 20 years. When the spotlight is on you, it’s on you. As a player or a coach, you have to understand that. I think every situation is different. I’m the third, maybe fourth [Chelsea] manager. So, from that you can see it’s been a tough season all round. It’s a new situation for me because all of my jobs have been permanent before. This job is just different.
The fans will stick with the team. I don’t have to tell them that. The club has gone from when I first joined to a really big football club to a monster of a football club worldwide. For myself and the players, we have to show an immense amount of pride in what we do in these remaining games. At the moment, we have to do what’s right in front of us.”
For Bournemouth, Marcus Tavernier (hamstring), Ryan Fredericks (calf), Junior Stanislas (unspecified) and Chris Mepham (hamstring) are injured, whilst Kieffer Moore (concussion) and Hamed Traore (foot) face late assessments.
For Chelsea, Armando Broja (ACL), Kalidou Koulibaly (hamstring), Mason Mount (pelvic), Reece James (hamstring) and Marc Cucurella (hamstring) are all out.
BOURNEMOUTH (Possible line-up): Neto; Smith, Senesi, Kelly, Vina; Lerma, Rothwell; Ouattara, Billing, Christie; Solanke
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Kepa; Azpilicueta, Fofana, Thiago Silva, Chilwell; Kante, Enzo, Kovacic; Madueke, Havertz, Mudryk
- Bournemouth have won four of their 11 Premier League games against Chelsea.
- Chelsea have lost three of their last six top-flight games against Bournemouth.
- Bournemouth have won four of their last five league games.
- Chelsea could lose five consecutive league games for the first time since 1993.
- Bournemouth have won six of their last nine Premier League games.
- Chelsea have won just one of their last 11 away games in the Premier League.
- Bournemouth have scored nine goals in their last five Premier League games.
- Chelsea have scored just two goals in their last eight games in all competitions.
Sportsmole: Bournemouth 2-1 Chelsea