Prediction: Chelsea vs Bournemouth – Soccer News

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Verdict: Chelsea win and over 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 8/5

Bookmaker: Bet365

Ahead of their quarter-final clash with Premier League rivals Bournemouth, Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is expected to make a string of changes before his side face Everton next weekend. With their Premier League title all but gone, Chelsea will know that this years EFL trophy could be a vital piece of silverware.

Chelsea

Although Conte’s side may have already surrendered their Premier League crown to Manchester City, Chelsea have enjoyed a respectable start to their campaign. The Blues have only lost just once in their last 10 top-flight outings. As it stands, the club are third in the table, three points behind Manchester United and 14 adrift of Pep Guardiola’s high-flying City. At times this year, Conte’s side have failed to reach the heights they set last year. Chelsea’s main problem in the league has been dropping silly points against the likes of Crystal Palace, West Ham and Burnley. Last weekend, Chelsea may have secured a 1-0 win over Southampton, but, Chelsea still have to answer some lingering questions.

After recently finding a fine run of form, Belgium winger Eden Hazard is the star for Chelsea and the defending champions have been reliant on the magic of their talisman over the past few weeks. With a late title push looking more unlikely by the week, Conte will know that the EFL trophy could be a realistic piece of silverware come May. Although the Blues may well have reached the knockout stages of this years Champions League, the defending Premier League champions face a tough test against Barcelona.

Chelsea have won the EFL Cup five times, the most recent of which was in the 2014-15 season when they overcome London rivals Tottenham. To get to the 2017-18 quarter-finals, the Blues had to take on Nottingham Forest and Everton, both of whom they defeated 5-1 and 2-1 respectively.

Team News

Marcos Alonso is unavailable for selection through suspension after he picked up his fifth domestic booking of the season in Chelsea’s 1-0 win over Southampton on Saturday. With Chelsea’s boss expected to rafter the changes ahead of Saturday’s clash with Everton, Antonio Conte will hand Brazilian midfielder Kenedy another chance to impress on Wednesday night.

Michy Batshuayi, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Dujon Sterling and Ethan Ampadu are also set to feature for the hosts.

Bournemouth

On Sunday afternoon, Bournemouth suffered a 4-0 loss at the hands of a five-star level attacking performance. Now in their third consecutive season among England’s top flight, the Cherries will have to improve if they want to make it a fourth. After last weekends, defeat, Howe’s team sit just one point above the bottom three and they have only managed to pick up three points from a possible 18 in their last six league fixtures. In fact, the east coast club have failed to secure a top-flight win since their 4-0 thrashing of Huddersfield in the middle of November.

Goals have been hard to come by for Bournemouth as they have managed just four in their last six games and 15 in 18 top-flight encounters this season. In the tournament so far, Howe’s side have overcome Birmingham City, Brighton and Middlesbrough to reach the quarter-finals. Although Premier League survival will be Eddie Howe’s priority, the clubs first apperance in the EFL semi-final will certanly help boost the Cherries confidence ahead of a busy Christmas run-in.

Team News

Howe has no fresh injury concerns following Bournemouth’s 4-0 defeat to Liverpool on Sunday but will be without Tyrone Mings, Adam Federici (both knee) and Brad Smith (hip) for the trip to Stamford Bridge.

Key Factors to Consider

  • This will be only the second meeting between these sides in the League Cup, with Chelsea winning both legs 1-0 in their previous encounter, the second round in 1994-95.
  • Bournemouth have only won one of their last nine meetings with Chelsea in all competitions (L8), though that win did come at Stamford Bridge back in December 2015.
  • The Blues have won seven of their last eight home League Cup games (L1), netting 24 goals in the process.
  • This is only Bournemouth’s second appearance in the quarter-final of this competition.
  • Callum Wilson has scored in three of his last four League Cup matches for Bournemouth, in a run stretching back to August 2014.

Conclusion

Although the defending champions may not be at their tantalizing best, Chelsea have been in fine form so far in the tournament, scoring seven goals in those two appearances. With Bournemouth arriving low on confidence, Chelsea’s fringe players will be confident about making a statement to their Italian boss. The Cherries are without a win in their last six Premier League appearances and have not managed to keep a clean sheet this month. Backing Chelsea to progress to the semi-finals and over 2.5 goals at Stamford Bridge seems like a logical bet here.

Verdict: Chelsea win and over 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 8/5

Bookmaker: Bet365

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