Preview: Bournemouth vs. Chelsea - prediction, team news, lineups

Both flattering to deceive under new management so far, Bournemouth and Chelsea aim to right some recent wrongs when they lock horns in Sunday's Premier League battle at the Vitality Stadium. Andoni Iraola's men went into the international break on the back of a 2-2 draw with Brentford, while their capital counterparts' misfortune continued in a 1-0 home loss to Nottingham Forest.

Match preview

Four days on from making the net ripple against Swansea City in his native Wales during the second round of the EFL Cup, Bournemouth winger David Brooks continued his fairytale return to the Cherries' setup against Brentford, scoring his first Premier League goal in 1144 days following his Non-Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosis.
Brooks's 77th-minute strike propelled the visitors into a slender advantage at the Gtech Community Stadium after Dominic Solanke had cancelled out a Mathias Jensen opener, but Bournemouth would be made to wait for their first top-flight win of the season, as Bryan Mbeumo raced through to equalise in the third minute of injury time. Amid all the plaudits for Iraola's forward-thinking style of football, Bournemouth went into the two-week hiatus with only two points on the board from their opening four Premier League fixtures, good enough for 16th place in the table at this premature stage. Holding Brentford to a score draw at the Gtech fortress is nothing to be sniffed at, though, and few would have expected the Cherries to glean any points from their meetings with Tottenham Hotspur or Liverpool, although they gave the latter a good run for their money early on. However, the hosts' dismal sequence of results means that they have now gone eight top-flight games without success since thumping Leeds United 4-1 at the end of April, while their only clean sheet in their last 12 Premier League matches came against a doomed Southampton. Most of Chelsea's senior stars were given the night off as a second-string team scraped past Wimbledon in the second round of the EFL Cup, but the youngsters' mediocre performance evidently did not inspire the seniors when Nottingham Forest paid another visit to Stamford Bridge. A few months on from taking a point back to base after a 2-2 draw in West London, Forest quelled the expensively-assembled Chelsea XI and broke the deadlock just three minutes into the second half, as the deadly Taiwo Awoniyi-Anthony Elanga combination ended with the latter firing home. Thanks to some steadfast defending and wasteful Chelsea finishing - Nicolas Jackson in particular was guilty of a howler - Forest travelled home with a well-earned maximum, giving Mauricio Pochettino two weeks to dissect another underwhelming display. So far this season, only Luton Town have failed to take points off Chelsea in the Premier League, where the Blues are occupying a familiar 12th place in the table, and Pochettino can expect his defence to be tested to the extreme in subsequent meetings with Aston Villa (Premier League) and Brighton & Hove Albion (EFL Cup) before the month is up. A record of two wins from 16 Premier League affairs is simply abysmal for a club of Chelsea's spending power, although one of those triumphs was a 3-1 win over Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium back in May, which extended the Blues' victorious streak over their South Coast foes to three contests.

Team News

Bournemouth's entertaining draw with Brentford came too soon for deadline day signing Luis Sinisterra to make his debut, and with the Leeds United loanee recently turning out for Colombia across the Atlantic, Iraola may avoid throwing him into the first XI for now, especially given his history of injuries. Marcos Senesi and Hamed Traore are in the same international boat as Sinisterra, whose former Whites teammate Tyler Adams is also yet to earn his first Cherries appearance owing to a thigh problem, which will likely render him unavailable for this one too. Dango Ouattara has shaken off an ankle concern, though. Alex Scott (knee), Ryan Fredericks (calf) and Emiliano Marcondes (foot) take up the final spots in the Bournemouth medical bay, and having followed up his recent domestic success by scoring for Wales against Latvia - his first for his country since November 2020 - Brooks has certainly put his name in the hat for a starting place. Speaking of new signings in the treatment room, both of Christopher Nkunku (knee) and Romeo Lavia (ankle) will not have their Chelsea baptisms just yet, and they are joined on the long-term absentee list by a trio of knee victims in Carney Chukwuemeka, Wesley Fofana and Marcus Bettinelli. Sunday's game is also expected to come too soon for skipper Reece James (thigh), while Trevoh Chalobah and Benoit Badiashile are on the brink of returning from similar problems but will not return here either. Meanwhile, Albanian FA president Armando Duka prematurely stated that Armando Broja ought to make the bench for the first time since his devastating knee injury last winter, but Pochettino shot down those hopes in his pre-match press conference. Two nine-figure midfielders in Moises Caicedo and Enzo Fernandez may need once-overs following their journeys home from South America, and the duo did not train on Thursday, but they should still have ample time to get back up to speed with the rest of the squad before Sunday's kickoff. Bournemouth possible starting lineup: Neto; Aarons, Zabarnyi, Senesi, Kerkez; Christie, Cook; Brooks, Billing, Tavernier; Solanke Chelsea possible starting lineup: Sanchez; Disasi, Silva, Colwill; Gusto, Fernandez, Caicedo, Chilwell; Gallagher, Sterling; Jackson

We say: Bournemouth 1-2 Chelsea

The Vitality Stadium has not always been a happy hunting ground for Chelsea, who were memorably thumped 4-0 by Bournemouth back in 2019, but the Cherries' lingering defensive concerns means that a repeat of that humiliation is surely beyond the realm of possibility. Iraola's charges can still feel confident of breaching a Chelsea backline which is also far from watertight, but with the in-form Raheem Sterling in particular seeking to lay down a marker after his latest England snub, the Blues should make a return to winning ways, whether it is pretty or not.

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