Chelsea v Bournemouth: Abraham can fire Blues to victory
Andrew Atherley says Chelsea's top striker can deepen the misery for struggling Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge on Saturday...
Chelsea v Bournemouth
Saturday 14 December, 15:00
Saturday 14 December, 15:00
Fight for fourth
Chelsea are still in fourth place after last week's 3-1 defeat at re-energised Everton but they look to have a stronger fight on their hands to remain there now that Manchester United, Wolves (both five points behind) and Tottenham (six behind) are staking stronger claims to a Champions League spot.
Chelsea themselves are in the last 16 of this season's Champions League after Tuesday night's 2-1 home win over Lille left them second in Group H behind Valencia.
Frank Lampard still has defensive issues and his options were limited when Fikayo Tomori was ruled out of the Lille game with a hip problem. Olivier Giroud also sat out that match and both players remain doubts for Saturday. Reece James looks set to return at right-back.
Bournemouth are in a slump after five defeats in a row in the Premier League against Newcastle, Wolves, Tottenham, Crystal Palace and Liverpool. That poor run has seen them plunge from seventh in the table to a precarious 15th, just a point clear of the relegation zone.
Eddie Howe has an injury crisis on his hands and the latest casualties were defender Nathan Ake and striker Callum Wilson, who both limped off with hamstring injuries against Liverpool last Saturday.
Other first-team regulars on the injury list include Josh King, Steve Cook and Charlie Daniels.
Abraham key for Chelsea
Chelsea have not been impregnable at home under Lampard but their only really poor result in the Premier League was the 1-0 defeat by West Ham a fortnight ago. All their other dropped points at Stamford Bridge have been against high-performing sides - Leicester (1-1), Sheffield United (2-2) and Liverpool (1-2).
Tammy Abraham has quickly established himself as the key name on the Chelsea teamsheet and he scored the opener against Lille on Tuesday night, as he had in their last two Premier League wins at the Bridge. Crucially he missed the defeat against West Ham.
Bournemouth started well on the road, winning at Aston Villa and Southampton either side of defeat at Leicester, but since then their only point from five away games came in a goalless draw against rock-bottom Watford.
That is their sole clean sheet on the road and it is hard to see them shutting down Chelsea's attack like West Ham did. With Bournemouth's own forwards struggling for goals as well as fitness, this looks a difficult place to turn their form around.
The Cherries can take heart from a decent record at Stamford Bridge, with two wins (and two losses) from four Premier League visits.
Chelsea could win this comfortably if they get in front early, which makes -2 on the Asian handicap worth considering at 2.24.
The preferred bet is for Abraham to continue his strong run as first goalscorer at 3.25.
Home goals low
Both teams rank in the top 10 for matches with over 2.5 goals (Chelsea joint-sixth with 69% and Bournemouth joint-eighth with 62%).
Bournemouth's proportion doesn't vary home and away but it is notable that Chelsea's home figure drops to 38%, mainly impacted by the failure of several mid-to-low-ranking sides (Brighton, Newcastle and Crystal Palace) to score at Stamford Bridge.
Bournemouth have lost each of their last six Premier League games in London, conceding 20 goals in the process. In total they've won just six of their 24 top-flight games in the capital (D3 L15), with 33% of these victories coming at Chelsea. Bournemouth are 12.50 to win here
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