The run of wins currently stands at 11 for Chelsea as they continue to blow away all in front of them at the top of the Premier League. The target will be at least 14 to equal’s Arsenal records of successive wins but first they need to clear the hurdle of Bournemouth this afternoon to make it 12.
And they will have to do so without both key figures in the shape of Diego Costa and N’Golo Kante. They have both managed to time their Christmas suspensions perfectly as their accumulation of Yellow Cards means they miss the Boxing Day action this year.
Last weekend it was the 5th booking for both Costa and Kante during their 1-0 win over crosstown rivals Crystal Palace which means they wouldn’t take part in today’s game. The win itself was played in near apocalyptic fog as The Blues ground out another win to see themselves 6 points clear of Liverpool at the top of the table.
In a side that has had such few changes and frankly why would you when they have been simply unstoppable this will be a test of Chelsea’s squad as two enforced changes will have to be made. It could also mean that Conte diverts from the now tried and tested 3-4-3 formation that has served Chelsea so well.
With Costa being out suspended then it could be an opportunity for £34m summer signing Michy Batshuayi for make his mark on the Chelsea side. The former Marseille man has struggled to get a look in due to the fantastic form of Spain’s Costa up front.
If Batshuayi is given the chance to start then he goes up against a Bournemouth side which has conceded the most goals out of all the top half sides. The Cherries have shipped 28 goals in their first 17 matches this season and Chelsea will fancy their chances of adding to that tally this Afternoon.
Last weekend Bournemouth conceded three in the local derby with Southampton as they were on the wrong side of a 3-1 result. After going ahead through Nathan Ake they then saw The Saints score 3 unanswered strikes. Had they won that game they would have gone as high as 7th in the Premier League table.
A top half finish for Bournemouth is the realistic target this season. Many felt that Eddie Howe’s men may well succumb to ‘Second Season Syndrome’ but they seem to have found the cure as they continue to stay in the top half of the table right now.
Bournemouth seem to lose as many as they win and that run of results has seen them in a relatively decent position. That said they seem to have a strange aversion to draws. The last time they had to make do with a share of the points was at home to Tottenham on October 22nd.
Can The Cherries get anything out of today’s encounter though. Well even without Costa and N’Kante this is a team with their tails up and right now you just can’t see anything getting in their way especially not this Bournemouth sides. I’ll go for a Chelsea win as they make it 12 in a row. Home win for me.