As Conte’s public transfer themed misery continues to find its way on the back pages, Chelsea will be happy to concentrate their efforts onto the pitch this week as they host relegation threatened Bournemouth.
Sitting secure on 3rd place in the table (still a massive 15 points off top), the side will need to keep their concentration if they are to avoid letting their Champions League place slip.
Heavily linked with a move away from the club, Michy Batshuayi was the surprise hero at the weekend, striking twice in an empathic 3-0 FA Cup victory over Newcastle. Indeed, at this point it seems the Belgian will be needed to head the sides attack again with new attacking signings still merely hearsay around Stamford Bridge.
Currently Edin Dzeko, Peter Crouch and Andy Carroll are the latest names to do the rounds, however Michy has made a case for an extended run in the first team, but still faces the prospect of going out on loan if the Londoners do manage to get their power forward before the transfer window closes.
Meanwhile, Bournemouth have the luxury of a full-weeks training after their 3-0 loss to Wigan in their 3rd round replay. Eddie Howe took the opportunity to rest some key players, a gamble that did not pay off.
A mediocre 1-1 draw at West Ham in the league saw them leapfrog above Crystal Palace. Goal difference separates them and they currently sit two points above a congested relegation zone.
The Cherries always have the ability to cause an upset, though. Callum Wilson ran the show in their 2-1 comeback victory against Arsenal with a goal and an assist. You can bet the gaffer will be relying on him to get something from Stamford Bridge.
Interestingly, Chelsea got the better of them in their Carabao Cup quarter-final in December. Looking like it was heading to extra-time, Dan Gosling popped up for The Cherries in the 90th minute. Morata snatched the crushing winner a minute later.
Conte’s team have looked far from consistent at home this month, especially against smaller teams. Their comfortable win against Newcastle, should give them a confidence boost. Only 3 points behind 2nd place Man Utd, who have a difficult away match against Spurs, Chelsea will be eager to capitalise on any points Mourinho’s men may drop.
Undeniably, however, the Cherries on their day can offer up some impressive attacking football, home or away. Unbeaten in their last 5 league games following a an ugly winless spell, you can expect a brave performance from the Southerners. If they stand any chance they’ll need to look to attack on the break with the speed of Wilson and winger Jordan Ibe.