Bournemouth v Chelsea: Cherries capable of upset at big odds
Andrew Atherley says Chelsea's shaky defence makes them a vulnerable bet at odds-on...
Bournemouth v Chelsea Saturday 29 February, 15:00
Bournemouth revived their form with important home wins over fellow strugglers Brighton (3-1) and Aston Villa (2-1) but they remain in the thick of the relegation battle after away defeats against Sheffield United (2-1) and Burnley (3-0) in their last two matches.
VAR played a controversial role in the Burnley defeat, with two goals ruled out and a penalty awarded against them, and that frustrating result leaves Eddie Howe's side 16th in the table on 26 points, just two points clear of the drop zone.
Josh King returned to the starting line-up in attack last week and his partnership with Callum Wilson is vital to Bournemouth's survival hopes. With those two in tandem, the Cherries have secured four of their seven wins this season and four of their five draws.
Howe will also be able to bring Nathan Ake back into defence after missing the Burnley game with mild concussion.
Crunch time for Chelsea
Chelsea are facing a Champions League exit after Tuesday's 3-0 home defeat by Bayern Munich in the round of 16 and this is a crucial week on other fronts with the chasers breathing down their necks in the race for next season's Champions League places and an FA Cup fifth-round tie at home to Liverpool on Tuesday.
Frank Lampard's side remain fourth in the Premier League after last week's 2-1 home victory over Tottenham, which ended a winless run of four league games. The Blues are on 44 points and are being pursued by Manchester United (41 points), Tottenham and Sheffield United (both on 40), and Wolves (39).
Lampard will still be without N'Golo Kante, along with Christian Pulisic and probably Callum Hudson-Odoi, and his main selection decision is whether to go with Tammy Abraham or Olivier Giroud up front.
Bournemouth capable of scoring
Bournemouth's recent home wins were against fellow relegation battlers and they went back to losing ways when there was a rise in the class of opposition, although the home/away factor might have been significant too.
Although their win rate isn't great, the Cherries have lost only five out of 13 at home, whereas on the road they have lost twice that number.
The key to their home form is whether they can score. Their record in that scenario is a respectable W4 D3 L2 (the defeats were against Manchester City and Wolves) and they will fancy their chances against Chelsea's far from watertight defence.
Lampard's Chelsea are set up better for away games and they rank fourth in the Premier League on the road with a record of W7 D2 L4.
Their momentum has slowed, however, with only two wins from their last seven away games, whereas they won five of their first six road trips with a string of barnstorming performances.
Chelsea aren't scoring as heavily on the road now but they are still finding the net regularly and should be capable of getting on the scoresheet here.
The problem is that they have kept only one clean sheet in 13 away games, which has put a big onus on their attack to score at least two goals. They haven't scored more than twice on the road since the 4-2 win at Burnley on October 26.
That has to raise some doubt about Chelsea's ability to deliver at short odds for punters and the bigger-priced option for Chelsea backers might be the away win and both teams to score.
Bournemouth are not without hope, however, and might be worth the risk. The double chance is one option but odds of2.22 are not that enticing.
Instead the recommendation is Bournemouth off 0 on the Asian handicap at3.80, which is the same as draw no bet.
Of course Chelsea are the likelier winners but at the odds Bournemouth are worth backing to get something from the game and possibly cause an upset.
High rankings for goals
Both teams rank in the top half for matches with over 2.5 goals (both on 59%) and the respective home and away figures strengthen the case for a high-scoring match.
Bournemouth have had eight out of 13 (62%) over 2.5 goals at home and Chelsea have had 10 out of 13 (77%) on the road.
The respective home and away figures are exactly the same for both teams to score.
Chelsea are looking to secure consecutive Premier League victories for the first time since a run of six between September-November. The Blues are still winless away from home in the Premier League in 2020 (D2 L1). Chelsea are1.80 for the win.