Chelsea play host to Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup with the intention of keeping their fine recent form going.
Maurizio Sarri has enjoyed a strong start to life at Stamford Bridge, and though his side lie fourth in the Premier League table, they have suffered only two defeats.
In domestic play, they have won their last four matches, with their last home game a 2-0 victory over Manchester City.
Bournemouth, meanwhile, have lost six of their last seven, with Eddie Howe seeking to stop the rot.
|Game||Chelsea vs Bournemouth|
|Date||Wednesday, December 19|
|Time||7:45pm GMT / 2:45pm ET|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US), the game can be streamed via ESPN+.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game will not be broadcast or streamed live.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
Squads & Team News
|Goalkeepers||Kepa, Caballero, Green, Bulka|
|Defenders||Rudiger, Alonso, Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill, Christensen, Zappacosta, Emerson, Ampadu|
|Midfielders||Moses, Fabregas, Jorginho, Kante, Pedro, Hazard, Drinkwater, Barkley, Loftus-Cheek, Kovacic, Hudson-Odoi, Willian|
A thigh injury continues to keep Victor Moses pinned to the sidelines, while an ankle knock at the weekend means Eden Hazard can only make the bench.
Alvaro Morata misses out entirely, as he is still yet to recover from the injury he picked up against Vidi last Thursday.
Chelsea starting XI: Kepa; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Christensen, Emerson; Fabregas, Kovacic, Barkley; Loftus-Cheek, Giroud, Willian
|Goalkeepers||Boruc, Ramsdale, Begovic, Travers|
|Defenders||Francis, S. Cook, Ake, Daniels, A. Smith, Rico, Mings, Simpson|
|Midfielders||Gosling, Surman, Pugh, Lerma, Ibe, L. Cook, Stanislas, Brooks, Fraser, Dobre, Ofoborh|
|Forwards||Mousset, Wilson, King, Defoe|
Howe’s Bournemouth side have a sprinkling of issues ahead of this encounter, with Adam Smith, Lewis Cook and Dan Gosling all long-term concerns. Tyrone Mings and Simon Francis also miss out with injury.
Bournemouth starting XI: Boruc; S. Cook, Simpson, Daniels; Ibe, Stanislas, Ake, Brooks, Rico; Wilson, Mousset
Betting & Match Odds
Home side Chelsea are heavy favourites to win the game, with bet365 pricing them at 3/10. If you fancy backing Bournemouth to upset their hosts, you can get odds of 10/1. A draw, meanwhile, is available at 5/1.
Chelsea remain in touch with the top of the Premier League after a 2-1 win over Brighton on Sunday. Goals from Pedro and Eden Hazard gave them the springboard for the victory, which was made awkward as the home side fought back in the second half.
With the Blues eight points from the summit of the table though, silverware is perhaps likelier to arrive in the form of the Carabao Cup, in which they are only three matches from glory.
David Luiz has certainly targeted a midweek win over Bournemouth before a manic period of Premier League action begins, in which Chelsea will play four times over the course of 11 days.
“It’s always a big week. We have another competition on Wednesday and then we play Leicester so we have to take it step by step, it’s going to be difficult,” he told the club’s official website.
“The Bournemouth game is important, it’s another competition and another trophy so we’re going to try to win it.
“It’s going to be difficult, we have to understand that because it’s never easy to play in England and play in these competitions, so we have to prepare well, rest well and try to win. If we do that then we can enjoy Christmas.”
Bournemouth, meanwhile, are in the hunt for the club’s first major honour, yet come into this encounter off the back of a bleak period of form in which they have struggled to show their best.
Six defeats in seven matches is a very negative statistic but they have had a tough run of fixtures, in which they have faced four of the traditional ‘Big Six’.
Eddie Howe’s men were beaten 2-0 at Wolves and even the manager is struggling to be optimistic currently.
“There were a lot of positives, but it's difficult with the run that we're on, to cling to those,” he lamented to Sky Sports.
“We dominated the ball, we pinned them back and we had a lot of opportunities to create, but we didn't execute that right.”
A break from league play is welcome for the Cherries, with this Carabao Cup tie an ideal opportunity to kick start their season once more.