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Bournemouth-Chelsea Preview

Frank Lampard already has one quality goal-scorer in Tammy Abraham, but the first-year Chelsea boss has put out the call for one in the January window ahead of Saturday's contest versus faltering Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge.

The Pensioners (9-2-5) are five points clear in fourth place on 29 points, and their 31 goals trail only the three sides ahead of them - Liverpool, Leicester City, and Manchester City. Yet after scraping their way into the Champions League knockout round Tuesday with a 2-1 victory over Lille and a lack of centre-forward options beyond Abraham and seldom-used veteran Olivier Giroud, Lampard wants some reinforcements after their successful appeal to the Court of Arbitration of Sport reduced their transfer ban to one window.

Among Chelsea's potential opponents in the round of 16 after finishing runners-up to Valencia in Group H are continental juggernauts Barcelona, Juventus, and Paris-St. Germain.

"I will look at all areas of the team," Lampard told the Times after Tuesday's win in which Abraham and defender Cesar Azpilicueta scored first-half goals. "But I think it was quite clear in the summer that you lose Eden Hazard, who was a huge part of scoring or creating our goals last season and the season before that, the high level of player he is. We've found ways as a team where we can still be competitive. We've shown that in the league and now the Champions League.

"But going forward if we're looking at if we can get even better in forward areas to help competition, to help the idea of being more clinical, then I think we'll always look at that."

Even with the worries Lampard may have offensively beyond Abraham, who has taken to the top flight magnificently with 13 goals in all competitions - including six match-winners - Chelsea's defence remains a substantial work in progress. The return of centre back Antonio Rudiger as he played his first match since suffering a groin injury in September helps, but the Blues have just one clean sheet in their last 11 matches in all competitions.

A piece of the future defence came into the fold Thursday when Fikayo Tomori signed a five-year deal with the club through 2024. Tomori, who turns 22 next week, played under Lampard on loan at Derby County and also has played 16 matches for Chelsea this term while making his senior international debut for England.

"It's obviously a very proud moment for myself and my family," Tomori told the club's official website after putting pen to paper. "I've been at the club since I was seven years old so I don't really know much else other than Chelsea.

"The club has been so good to me, looking after and developing me during that time into the player and the person I am today. It's a dream come true to sign a new five-year contract. I'm really happy the club have shown this faith in me and I'm just excited to carry on."

Bournemouth (4-4-8) are mired in their worst skid since their initial promotion to the Premier League in 2015 and looking to avoid a sixth defeat on the bounce. The Cherries are 15th in the table on 16 points but only one point above the bottom three.

Most seasons, Eddie Howe's side have been thwarted by a porous defence that has proven problematic to complement their forward play. This term, however, it has been the opposite as Bournemouth's 18 goals are tied for 14th in the top flight and top striker Callum Wilson's dry patch has hit nine matches.

The Cherries' goal-scoring drought overall hit 180 minutes after being outclassed by table-toppers Liverpool 3-0 at home last Saturday. Bournemouth failed to register a shot on target and had a paltry three overall.

That came on the back of a squalid effort versus Crystal Palace in which Howe's side had only three on frame in a 1-0 loss to Crystal Palace despite playing with a man advantage for 71 minutes.

"We are a team, we stick together and we are going to try to give it our all," defender Lewis Cook told the Bournemouth Echo. "We have been in these situations before. We just have to get together, show fight for us, for the club and for the fans as well. That's what we will do.

"We have a lot of fight in the group, I think we have shown that in previous seasons. We definitely have the fight there, we just need to implement it on the games and really go for it."

Howe will be without ex-Chelsea centre back Nathan Ake through injury as well as playmaker David Brooks and Wilson's strike partner Joshua King.

The home side won both matches last term, with the Pensioners riding goals by Pedro and Hazrd in the final 18 minutes to a 2-0 victory. Bournemouth, however, have not been overawed by Stamford Bridge, picking up two of their three top-flight victories over Chelsea in the nation's capital.

Updated December 12, 2019

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