Chelsea at Bournemouth Team News: Abraham, Kante, Pulisic, Ake, Lerma

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Chelsea FC visit AFC Bournemouth on Saturday in a match-up of two sides barely holding on to extremely critical places in the table. The Blues are three points ahead of Manchester United for the final top four position while Bournemouth is in 16th place, two points ahead of 18th place side West Ham.

Aston Villa is sandwiched between them in 17th, the final safety position. So this is a critical match, and we’ll waste no time time diving into the team news for both sides. Chelsea star N’Golo Kante remains sidelined with a groin injury that will keep him out until mid March.

Meanwhile Christian Pulisic is also out with what manager Frank Lampard described as “a difficult injury.” His re-occurring groin problem has hampered his availability this season.

Winger Callum Hudson-Odoi has not played since the beginning of February, but he’s moving closer to a return; as is Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who hasn’t featured in the 2019-20 season yet. We saved the biggest news for last though, as striker Tammy Abraham pulled up hurt in the warm-down after Chelsea’s crushing Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich. According to initial reports, he re-aggravated the original ankle injury that’s been limiting his playing time over this past month.

Lloyd Kelly (thigh), Charlie Daniels (knee), David Brooks (ankle), Arnaut Groeneveld (ankle) and Chris Mepham (knee) all remain out as long-term absentees, but Nathan Ake should be fit to face his former team. He had suffered a head injury in training, but has reportedly recovered.

Meanwhile Jefferson Lerma could be fit after having recovered from a rib injury.

Chelsea at AFC Bournemouth  FYIs

February 29, 3 pm, Dean Court

Chelsea starting XI Prediction: go to this link

Key stat: While this might be a big vs. small club match-up, don’t tell that to the Cherries. In the last five meetings, across all competitions, they have outscored Chelsea 8-3 on aggregate.

Probabilities via Google: Chelsea FC win 54%,  Draw 25%,  AFC Bournemouth win 21%

afc bournemouth

Form Guide  Chelsea FC WLDDL     AFC Bournemouth LLWWL

Prediction: AFC Bournemouth 0, Chelsea FC 0

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No,  I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link

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