Chelsea are set to take on Bournemouth on Wednesday in a huge game for both sides. Chelsea will want to cement their top four hopes with another win, whilst Bournemouth and Eddie Howe will be eager to continue their decent spell in the Premier League.
You’d expect Chelsea to be the favourites heading into the game, especially given the arrival of Gonzalo Higuain, but something else could give the Blues the upper-hand in the fixture, at least according to Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson.
Ahead of the game, Merson has predicted a tough game for Chelsea, though he thinks Hazard could help lead Chelsea to a 3-1 win, whilst also noting that Bournemouth’s style of play could work in the Blues’ favour.
He said: ‘This looks like a difficult game for Chelsea on paper. However, a big positive for Chelsea is the fact they rested Eden Hazard against Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday’.
Merson added: ‘Bournemouth love to go forward, especially at home, so this will be an open game. That will suit Chelsea and I think they will have too much for Eddie Howe’s side’.
Certainly, Eden Hazard’s day off against Sheffield Wednesday will be important. It means that the Belgian has had a few days to relax and recuperate, and so he’ll likely be in the best possible shape for the game. Of course, normally when Hazard plays well, Chelsea end up on the winning side, given the Belgian’s ability to score goals and produce driving runs.
Bournemouth’s style of play, as Merson says, will leave them open at the back – and Eden Hazard, again – could be the main beneficiary. He’ll look to get in behind and run at the defence, and that could lead to some real problems for Eddie Howe’s side.
Of course, this is without even considering the rest of Chelsea’s strength, like a returning Ruben Loftus-Cheek and an in-form N’Golo Kante. Kante was great against Tottenham last week, whilst Loftus-Cheek will be pushing for a starting berth, you’d expect.
Chelsea are well placed to get a good result against the Cherries, and Merson clearly thinks that they’ll come out on top.
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