LONDON, Sporting Alert – Diego Costa remains on the bench for Chelsea, but Thibaut Courtois returns in goal for the Premier League clash with Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge.
Costa was an unused substitute in the 0-0 draw with Tottenham last week and manager Jose Mourinho has decided to keep the Spanish international next to him again on the bench, especially after his antics where he chucked his warmup bid in the direction of his boss after he wasn’t used.
Courtois returns to the Chelsea starting line-up for his first appearance since August after a three-month absence because of a knee injury.
This means Asmir Begovic is dropped to the bench.
With Costa on the bench, it looks like Eden Hazard will continue playing through the middle, despite Mourinho stating that he is more of a winger.
Baba Rahman comes in for Cesar Azpilicueta at left-back, while Branislav Ivanovic is playing at right-back and will captain the side in the absence of John Terry, who is down with an ankle injury.
Kurt Zouma and Gary Cahill continue in the heart of the defense, with Nemanja Matic, Willian and Pedro all starting as well.
Meanwhile, for Bournemouth — coming off that dramatic draw with Everton — they make a change in goal with Artur Boruc returning in goal.
Joshua King, Dan Gosling and Matt Ritchie are all among the starters today for the visitors.
Bournemouth Team: Boruc, Daniels, Cook, Francis, Smith, Arter, Gosling, Surman, Ritchie, Stanislas, King. Subs: Allsop, Cargill, Butcher, O’Kane, Kermorgant, Murray, Rantie.
Chelsea Team: Courtois, Ivanovic, Zouma, Cahill, Baba, Fabregas, Matic, Willian, Oscar, Pedro, Hazard. Subs: Begovic, Azpilicueta, Mikel, Loftus-Cheek, Traore, Remy, Costa.