Ahead of today’s trip to Chelsea, it’s time to predict what side Eddie Howe will go with at Stamford Bridge this afternoon.
Keeping form, fitness, and today’s opposition in mind, here’s the 11 we can see starting come 2pm…
(4-3-3): Dubravka – Manquillo, Lascelles, Burn, Targett – S Longstaff, Guimaraes, Joelinton – Almiron, Fraser – Wood.
Martin Dubravka – Was back to his best at St Mary’s making a superb late save to deny Salisu. We might need more of the same to get a result in this one!
Javier Manquillo – Krafth went off with suspected cramp on Thursday and many believe Manquillo is actually the better option in Trippeir’s absence, so the Spaniard seems nailed on to start this one.
Jamaal Lascelles – Howe will ideally not want to make two changes to his back four, but Schar is managing a groin issue and went down a few times in midweek. I can see the skipper coming in for this one.
Dan Burn – The big man has been a revelation so far, playing out of his skin following a return to his boyhood club. Undroppable at present, being a leader and calming presence; on and off the ball.
Matt Targett – Another superb January signing who is so hard to get past and positionally solid. Dummett will want game time to prove he’s worth a new deal, but Targett hasn’t put a foot wrong and looks ready to keep playing.
Sean Longstaff – If Howe wants to convince him to sign a new deal, he’ll need to give him game time and Sunday could be an ideal day for fresh legs. Alos, Shelvey probably needs a rest after being one of just two players to feature in every minute of our nine-game unbeaten run.
Bruno Guimaraes – I think he’ll retain his place if his withdrawal on Thursday was only down to cramp, not an injury. Some think he won’t start two games in four days after a period on the bench, but I’d argue he needs more starts to get up to speed. He only just over an hour at St Mary’s, too.
Joelinton – It all depends if his ongoing groin injury has settled down, but the fact he’s travelled with the squad suggests to me he might be OK. His physicality and engine was missed on Thursday and could be key against a strong Chelsea side.
Miguel Almiron – If Saint-Maximin is feeling better he could start, but the combination of illness and him “not being 100% fit” according to Howe makes me think he’ll be on the bench, at best. So, a rare start for the Paraguayan could be in order after Murphy put in another huge shift a few days ago.
Ryan Fraser – Looked knackered when he came off on Thursday but did get a bit of a rest after being replaced late on, unlike Murphy. He’s been a key man lately and has been part of a few big wins at Chelsea during Howe’s time at Bournemouth.
Chris Wood – Will be desperate to build on his first goal for the club and does so much good work for the team. This means he too could be tired, however we have very few alternatives and will hope he can go on a run now.