It’s hard to know what to make of Wednesday’s match between Chelsea and Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge. With the transfer window closing on Wednesday just a mere few hours after kickoff, Antonio Conte’s selections might be a little bit tricky given transfer speculation and injury.
Chelsea are coming off a decisive victory over Newcastle United on Sunday in the fourth round of the FA Cup, but the hero of that day may or may not be involved in the match. Michy Batshuayi’s brace powered the Blues to victory on Sunday and as of Tuesday was in contention for selection for Wednesday’s match.
But Batshuayi has been the target of a three-way transfer battle involving Chelsea, Arsenal, and Borussia Dortmund over the movement of Pierre-Emrick Aubameyang, Olivier Giroud, and the Belgian striker.
It’s no secret that Chelsea have been looking for another backup for Alvaro Morata in this transfer window, If Chelsea are able to secure Olivier Giroud, Batshuayi will be allowed to join Dortmund and is unlikely to be available since the German transfer window closes at 5:00 p.m.
Batshuayi’s absence could cause a real selection headache. The aforementioned Alvaro Morata is still unavailable for selection after suffering a back injury, and with Willian also ruled out with a hamstring problem, Chelsea could be forced to play this match with no recognised striker and Eden Hazard being asked to fill that role.
That could be a real problem for Chelsea against a tricky side like Bournemouth. While Bournemouth have had their ups and downs as of late, winning against Arsenal but also losing to Wigan in the FA Cup, the Cherries have given Chelsea a couple scares this season.
These two teams have met twice this season with Chelsea winning both matches by scores of 1-1-0 and 2-1, but the Blues were made to work for those victories. In their last meeting in the EFL Cup, it took an injury time goal from Morata after Dan Gosling thought he had forced extra time in the 90th minute.
With Chelsea’s attack looking a little light on numbers and light on ways to change a match, Bournemouth might just fancy their chances at a draw or even nicking a win.
It’s hard to predict how Chelsea might approach this match, but Chelsea can’t find themselves behind and can’t have players looking less than sharp. Things might look different come Monday against Watford, but perhaps against Bournemouth, the Blues might just need to bite down and grind out a result.