Chelsea have been given a huge amount of credit for the way they’ve won their three most recent games by one goal to nil. But as well as being the mythical “sign of champions”, it’s also a sign of fatigue, and of a team that isn’t performing at full capacity. Antonio Conte’s men have taken their foot off the gas after taking the lead in their recent games, and relied on their defence to win them the three points. It’s a strategy that has worked so far, but can only last so long before it backfires.
At Bournemouth later today the Blues will be without Diego Costa and N’Golo Kante, removing the key player from both their attacking and defensive elements. They will be uniquely vulnerable, and Bournemouth will be able to sit deep and pick them off on the break. The 343 that has worked so well may not function without Kante doing the work of two alongside Nemanja Matic; and without Costa the one goal that has been the difference in recent games may not be there.
There is no doubt that the bookies will have the Blues as favourites today. But don’t assume it will be easy – a goalless draw is very much on the cards.