Bournemouth v Chelsea
Saturday October 28, 17:30
Live on BT Sport 1
After wins for these two sides last weekend, the opportunity to record back-to-back victories is something that both will be desperate to achieve for very different reasons. The Blues came from behind to beat Watford last time out, but it was a performance that left a lot to be desired for the fourth game running from Conte's side.
Still nine points adrift of pace-setters Manchester City, the Italian knows he faces a real mission to retain the title and one that would likely become impossible if they were to fall further behind. The Cherries, meanwhile, will look to exploit the instability that the champions have shown since their superb victory in Madrid to drag themselves out of the drop zone, hoping that another upcoming European tie will distract focus.
Former Chelsea fringe players with a point to prove
Eddie Howe will have been buoyed by Callum Wilson's goalscoring return to action in midweek, which has come at the right time for the home side who were without both Jermain Defoe and Josh King last weekend. The latter was absent through illness but could be back available to slot in behind Benik Afobe, who may get the nod over Wilson from the start given his injury woes in the Premier League.
Elsewhere summer signings Asmir Begovic and Nathan Ake will both be out to prove a point to their former employers, with the Dutchman not able to have the same impact he made during his loan spell on the south coast last season as yet. He remains the first choice to Howe though, with Steve Cook having somewhat surprisingly lost his place and likely to be on the bench once more, with Simon Francis retaining a centre-back berth.
Replacing Victor Moses proving problematic for Conte
Chelsea are still likely to be without key man N'Golo Kante, while the absence of Moses has also been keenly felt. Conte has chosen to move Cesar Azpilicueta to the right as a replacement for the Nigerian, and while the Spaniard scored a decisive goal last weekend it's a decision that has had a negative impact from a defensive standpoint.
The 28-year-old has, after all, been the Blues' most reliable defender by a distance for some time now, excelling when switching to a back three last season and bringing a necessary sense of calm alongside David Luiz and Gary Cahill. Without the Spaniard's presence alongside him, Luiz in particular has begun to put in the sort of erratic performances that saw him ridiculed during his first stint in the capital.
With that in mind it will be interesting to see whether summer signing Davide Zappacosta could earn a first league start having made a positive impact from the bench last weekend. Of course, the trip to Rome on Tuesday will inevitably come into Conte's thinking in that regard, so we could see more of Watford match winner Michy Batshuayi, but he'd be wise to avoid resting one star player in particular.
Belgian is a Hazard to the Bournemouth back four
After his season was delayed due to injury, Eden Hazard is fully fit and looking to make up for lost time. The Belgian was Chelsea's saviour in the Champions League last week, bagging a brace, but is yet to get off the mark in the Premier League. For that reason the price on his head to score at anytime is out at 2.70 with the Betfair Sportsbook, which - provided he isn't left out - is very tempting indeed when considering that he has scored in each of his last three appearances against this weekend's opponents.
High-scoring tradition set to continue
Goals certainly aren't likely to be in short supply given the defensive issues both of these sides have had this season, with Bournemouth having kept just one clean sheet all campaign. They've struggled to keep their visitors on Saturday evening at bay too, with Chelsea scoring ten times in the last three encounters following a shock defeat at Stamford Bridge two years ago. However, the hosts will take some confidence from having scored in both Premier League matches between these sides at the Vitality Stadium.
There's not much value in both teams to score as a single market but when factoring in an away win as well the odds are far more tempting, 3.20. The Blues should have the edge after all, but it wouldn't be too much of a surprise to see them given another scare if they were to have one eye on the Champions League. A repeat of last weekend's victory from behind is at [8.5] for those brave enough to back another entertaining affair.
Hazard to score any time @ 2.70
Chelsea to win and both teams to score @ 3.20