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Analyzing the relegation situation: One from six to go down

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Huddersfield Town and Fulham have already been relegated from the Premier League, but there is still an almighty scrap for at least six teams to stay out of the bottom three.

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Cardiff City is currently five points from safety with six games to go, so Neil Warnock‘s side are the favorites for the drop, but with some winnable games coming up in their run-in, is feels like the Bluebirds have another few surprise results up their sleeve.

[ PST Roundtable: Predicting the run-in

Below we take a look at the relegation situation, with Cardiff, Southampton, Brighton, Newcastle, Burnley and Bournemouth still involved in the scrap.


Cardiff City
Current position, points: 18th and 28 points
Fixtures remaining: 6 games – Burnley (A), Brighton (A), Liverpool (H), Fulham (A), Crystal Palace (H), Man United (A)
How many points needed: 12 points
Key in the run-in: Warnock’s men need to keep games tight and hope to nick points from set-piece situations. They must beat Burnley, Fulham and Brighton to have any chance of survival.


Southampton
Current position: 17th and 33 points
Fixtures remaining: 6 games – Wolves (H), Newcastle (A), Watford (A), Bournemouth (H), West Ham (A), Huddersfield (H)
How many points needed: 7 points
Key in the run-in: Saints have a pretty favorable run of games, on paper, with home matches against Bournemouth and Huddersfield must wins. The trip to Newcastle will likely determine if they’re going to continue their push away from the bottom three under Ralph Hasenhuttl, with Danny Ings‘ fitness key.


Brighton & Hove Albion
Current position: 16th and 33 points
Fixtures remaining: 7 games – Bournemouth (H), Cardiff (H), Wolves (A), Tottenham (A), Newcastle (H), Arsenal (A), Man City (H)
How many points needed: 7 points
Key in the run-in: Four home games left for Brighton, but they face Arsenal, Spurs and Man City, so the game against Cardiff looks massive in their battle against relegation. Not an easy schedule, and they need to get service to Glenn Murray if they’re going to pull clear.


Newcastle United
Current position: 15th and 35 points
Fixtures remaining: 5 games – Leicester (A), Southampton (H), Brighton (A), Liverpool (H), Fulham (A)
How many points needed: 5 points
Key in the run-in: This should be pretty straightforward for Rafael Benitez’s side. If they grab a win against Southampton or Brighton, they are pretty much safe. Some defensive injuries have left them short in recent weeks, but they will have enough to get them over the line.


Burnley
Current position: 14th and 36 points
Fixtures remaining: 5 games – Cardiff (H), Chelsea (A), Man City (H), Everton (A), Arsenal (H)
How many points needed: 4 points
Key in the run-in: What a few weeks for Burnley, as Sean Dyche‘s men may already be safe. That said, the Clarets will want one more win to make sure and if they don’t beat Cardiff it is tough to see where that will come from. Chelsea, Man City, Everton and Arsenal is a daunting last four games, but Burnley have put themselves in a great position.


Bournemouth
Current position: 13th and 38 points
Fixtures remaining: 5 games – Brighton (A), Fulham (H), Southampton (A), Tottenham (H), Crystal Palace (A)
How many points needed: 2 points
Key in the run-in: Eddie Howe‘s side have been in terrible form during the second half of the season, but their remaining games aren’t too tough. A win against Brighton or Fulham should do the trick but if they don’t, and the teams below them pick up a few wins in the next couple of weeks, all of a sudden Bournemouth will be looking over their shoulders a little.

The race for 7th: Who’s headed for Europa League?

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Since 2006, when Everton was eliminated in the third qualifying round, only seven Premier League clubs have played in the UEFA Champions League: Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs, Manchester City, Manchester United, Leicester City, and Liverpool.

Expanding the pool for the Europa League finds some odd ducks via cup winners — Birmingham City, Burnley, Hull City, Wigan Athletic — but precious few times have those clubs been able to maintain runs deep into the tournament.

[ MORE: Watford smashes Cardiff ]

When Man City or Chelsea lifts the League Cup on Sunday, it will officially expand the Europa League qualification places in the Premier League table to seventh (assuming the Blues would fall no further than sixth should they beat City).

Six teams have realistic shots at seventh, with two leading the way in Wolverhampton Wanderers and Watford.

What’s exciting about the group is that there’s substantial reason to believe at least five of them would focus on deep runs in the UEL, which makes Thursdays in the Fall all the more interesting to soccer fans.

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 7. Watford 27 11 7 9 39 35 4 6-2-5 5-5-4 40
 8. Wolves 26 11 6 9 34 33 1 6-3-5 5-3-4 39
 9. West Ham United 27 10 6 11 35 40 -5 6-3-5 4-3-6 36
 10. Everton 27 9 6 12 36 39 -3 6-3-5 3-3-7 33
 11. Bournemouth 26 10 3 13 37 47 -10 7-3-3 3-0-10 33
 12. Leicester City 26 9 5 12 31 34 -3 4-2-6 5-3-6 32

Bournemouth is the outlier here, but chairman Jeff Mostyn has shown ambition and a UEL place might just give Eddie Howe the inspiration to stay even longer at the Vitality Stadium.

But his fate may be tied to taking care of visiting Wolves on Saturday. Here are some of the key duels that will decide the Europa League places:

Saturday
Bournemouth v. Wolves — 10 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold

March 3
Watford v. Leicester City — 7 a.m. ET

March 30
Leicester City v. Bournemouth — 11 a.m. ET
West Ham v. Everton — 1:30 p.m. ET

April 20
West Ham v. Leicester City — 10 a.m. ET

April 27
Watford v. Wolves — 10 a.m. ET

May 12
Watford v. West Ham — 
10 a.m. ET

Premier League Preview: Liverpool v. Bournemouth

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  • Liverpool is on a club-record 33-game home unbeaten run
  • 2 goals for Salah in the next 4 games would make him the quickest to 50 PL goals
  • Bournemouth has lost 7 PL away games in a row

With four points dropped over their last two Premier League matches and Manchester City capitalizing, all eyes will be on Liverpool on Saturday as they host Bournemouth at 10:00 a.m. ET live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE HERE

With a win over Everton on Wednesday, Man City took over the top spot in the Premier League on goal differential, but Liverpool can wrestle back the lead with any result this weekend. Still, fans will be looking for all three points in the hopes of keeping City and Tottenham at arms length.

Mohamed Salah in particular will be watched intently, with the Egyptian on a nine-goal burst over an eight-match span before Liverpool’s two game skid, in which he has not found the back of the net. Salah has not gone three league matches without a goal in his entire Liverpool career, and you have to track all the way back to his Roma career to find his last three-match stretch of league play without a goal, spanning the turn of the 2015/16 calendar year, a spell that was interrupted by both injury and international duty.

On the flip side, Salah can write Premier League history if he gets back on the scoresheet. Salah needs just two goals in his next four matches to become the quickest player to 50 goals with one club in Premier League history, topping Alan Shearer’s 66 games. He currently stands on 48 goals in 61 matches.

Liverpool has dealt with injuries aplenty over the last month, but they could return a core of players that have missed significant time. Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum and Trent Alexander-Arnold have all returned to training and are in contention to play on Saturday. Dejan Lovren, however, is not healed yet from his hamstring injury, while Joe Gomez is still missing with his broken leg, unsure of his return.

For Bournemouth, Callum Wilson and David Brooks are still missing with injuries, leaving 17 goals this season on the sidelines. Still, the Cherries are playing for European positioning in the Premier League table and could be motivated by the chance to jump as high as eighth with a win.

What they’re saying

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp on the title race: “It’s getting exciting now. The only chance to improve our position, even though it is a good position, is by winning football games. I know that with each fibre of our bodies we will be ready to fight for everything. The only thing I want to say after the season is we gave our everything.”

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe on a potential season-defining win: “In the Premier League every game when we first came into the league was a case of rewriting history and proving we could do things for the first time. I think we tend to look at these things as a nice thing to do, to try and write new history for the club all the time.”

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Prediction

Too much is on the line for Liverpool, at home, against a banged up offense and a porous defense on poor away form. It would be against all notions to pick against Liverpool in this match, and the Reds will come home with a convincing 3-0 win to put fans at ease before a key run of matches against Bayern Munich and Manchester United. Anything less than all three points in this match will instill serious doubt into their title chase.

Premier League January transfer window grades (video)

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The deals have now been done. Every Premier League club now knows the squad of players they have until the end of the 2018-19 campaign.

Like it or not, this is what they have to work with.

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After a flurry of deals on Transfer Deadline Day, and some big movements in January, plenty of clubs have freshened things up ahead of the final push between now and May.

Below we give each team a grade based on how they fared, overall, in the January transfer window.


Arsenal: C

A pretty average window for Arsenal. Denis Suarez arrived on loan and will add some extra quality in midfield, but did they really need another silky midfielder? Probs not. A failure to strengthen in defense, especially after a spate of injuries, is a real concern. With no money to spend, we probably expected too much as late deals for Ivan Perisic and Christopher Nkunku didn’t materialize.

In: Denis Suarez (Barcelona) Loan
Out: Emiliano Martinez (Reading) Loan, Emile Smith Rowe (RB Leipzig) Loan


Bournemouth: B

The Cherries did their business early and their squad is looking stronger with Clyne and Mepham adding quality to their defensive unit. Solanke, when he returns to full fitness, will be a handful and keeping hold of Callum Wilson was perhaps the best piece of business Eddie Howe did this month.

In: Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool) Loan, Chris Mepham (Brentford) $15 million, Keelan O'Connell (Morton) Loan, Dominic Solanke (Liverpool) $24.1 million
Out: Jermain Defoe (Rangers) Loan, Alex Dobre (Yeovil Town) Loan, Tyrell Hamilton (Salisbury) Loan, Jordan Holmes (St Mirren) Loan, Corey Jordan (Eastbourne Borough) Loan, Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa) Loan, Marc Pugh (Hull City) Loan, Aaron Ramsdale (AFC Wimbledon) Loan, Charlie Seaman (Dundee United) Loan, Matt Worthington (Yeovil Town) Free


Brighton & Hove Albion: D

Very quiet January for Brighton and you have to think they needed a bit of extra quality, especially in attack, to stop their recent slide down the table. Chris Hughton brought in plenty of players in the summer, so this stance is understandable.

In: Tudor-Cristian Baluta (Viitorul Constanta) Undisclosed, Alexis Mac Allister (Argentinos Juniors) Undisclosed, Jan Mlakar (NK Maribor) Undisclosed

Out: Billy Arce (CS Emelec) Loan, Ben Barclay (Notts County) Loan, George Cox (Northampton Town) Loan, Anders Dreyer (St Mirren) Loan, Josh Kerr (Derry City) Loan, Jordan Maguire-Drew (Leyton Orient) Undisclosed, Mathias Normann (FC Rostov) Undisclosed, Oliver Norwood (Sheff Utd) Undisclosed, Ezequiel Schelotto (Chievo) Loan, Markus Suttner (Fortuna Dusseldorf) Loan, Ben White (Peterborough) Loan, Alexis Mac Allister (Argentinos Juniors) Loan, Stefan Ljubicic (Eastbourne Borough) Loan


Burnley: C

A bizarre deal on Deadline Day highlighted January for Sean Dyche‘s improving side. Sam Vokes left for Stoke and Peter Crouch arrived as the veteran will fit their system well off the bench. You can already picture Crouch getting on the end of those crosses from Burnley’s wingers and full backs…

In: Peter Crouch (Stoke City) Undisclosed

Out: Jimmy Dunne (Sunderland) Loan, Ali Koiki (Swindon Town) Loan, Ntumba Massanka (RWD Molenbeek) Loan,, George McMahon (Ashton United) Loan, Conor Mitchell (Linfield) Loan, Sam Vokes (Stoke City) Undisclosed


Cardiff City: C+

Neil Warnock focused all of his attention on Emiliano Sala, who became their club-record signing, and his tragic disappearance has hit Cardiff City hard on and off the pitch. Niasse and Bacuna will play right away and are shrewd additions, but Cardiff would have wanted to do a bit more business.

In: Leandro Bacuna (Reading) Undisclosed, Oumar Niasse (Everton) Loan, Emiliano Sala (Nantes) Undisclosed

Out: Omar Bogle (Portsmouth) Loan, Ciaron Brown (Livingston) Loan, Mark Harris (Port Vale) Loan, Gary Madine (Sheffield United) Loan, Paul McKay (Morecambe) Loan, Anthony Pilkington Released, Lee Tomlin (Peterborough)


Chelsea: B

Christian Pulisic’s arrival for $73 million happened right at the start of the window and long-term he will prove to be a good buy. Gonzalo Higuain arriving on loan was necessary, as Cesc Fabregas, Alvaro Morata and Michy Batshuayi all departed. Maurizio Sarri needs to make Higuain’s move work, but he will be a little miffed he didn’t sign a new central midfielder.

In: Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund) Undisclosed, Gonzalo Higuain (Juventus) Loan

Out: Lewis Baker (Reading) Loan, Cesc Fabregas (Monaco) Undisclosed, Josh Grant (Yeovil Town) Loan, Matt Miazga (Reading) Loan, Alvaro Morata (Atletico Madrid) Loan, Victor Moses (Fenerbahce) Loan, Lucas Piazon (Chievo) Loan, Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund) Loan, Kasey Palmer (Bristol City) Loan, Karlo Ziger (Sutton United) Loan, Michy Batshuayi (Crystal Palace) Loan


Crystal Palace: B+

The addition of Michy Batshuayi on Deadline Day changed Palace’s fortunes, as he will provide a real focal point to their attack. Bakary Sako‘s return was unexpected but makes sense, and Palace really needed extra options in attack as they’re sorted in mdifield and defense. A very good window for Roy Hogdson, overall.

In: Lucas Perri (Sao Paulo) Loan, Bakary Sako (West Brom) Undisclosed, Michy Batshuayi (Chelsea) Loan
Out: Joseph Hungbo (Margate) Loan, Sullay Kaikai (Breda) Undisclosed, Nya Kirby (Blackpool) Loan,  Jordon Mutch (released), Jason Puncheon (Huddersfield Town) Loan, Alexander Sorloth (KAA Gent) Loan, Oliver Webber (Greenwich Borough) Loan, Jonny Williams (Charlton) Undisclosed


Everton: D

Marco Silva will have wanted to sign a new striker in the window, but he did spent plenty of cash in the summer. Everton have loaned out a few fringe players, but if they had signed someone like Batshuayi then they would have improved their chances of finishing seventh drastically. Keeping hold of midfield destoryer Idrissa Gueye, who was chased by PSG up until the window closed, was their best piece of business this window.

In: None
Out: Kieran Dowell (Sheffield Utd) Loan, Mason Holgate (West Brom) Loan, Shayne Lavery (Falkirk) Loan, Cuco Martina (Feyenoord) Loan, Oumar Niasse (Cardiff City) Loan, Yannick Bolasie (Anderlecht) Loan


Fulham: D

Claudio Ranieri‘s side needed to sign plenty of new defenders this month. They signed one in Norwegian utility man Havard Nordtveit on Deadline Day, but Gary Cahill turned them down. Lazar Markovic also arrived right at the end of the window, but he’s yet another attacking player. Ryan Babel adds an extra dimension to their attack, but you have to feel that this Fulham squad is still unbalanced.

In: Ryan Babel (Besiktas) Undisclosed, Havard Nordtveit (Hoffenheim) Loan, Lazar Markovic (Liverpool) Undisclosed
Out: Stephen Humphrys (Southend) Undisclosed, Aboubakar Kamara (Pictured, Yeni Malatyaspor) Loan


Huddersfield Town: D

The Terriers look resigned to relegation and their business in January proved it. David Wagner‘s departure meant big deals were unlikely for new manager Jan Siewert, but Jason Puncheon is a solid addition. That said, Huddersfield needed to spend big in the window if they were going to give themselves any chance of staying up. They didn’t.

In: Jaden Brown (Spurs) Undisclosed,  Jason Puncheon (Crystal Palace) Loan, Karlan Grant (Charlton Athletic) Undisclosed
Out: Jaden Brown (Exeter City) Loan, Rarmani Edmonds-Green (Brighouse Town) Loan, Rekeil Pyke (Rochdale) Loan,  Collin Quaner (Ipswich Town) Loan, Ryan Schofield (Notts County) Loan, Ramadan Sobhi (Al Ahly) Loan, Rajiv Van la Parra (Middlesbrough)


Leicester City: C

One addition in January came on Deadline Day, and Leicester added promising Belgian midfielder Youri Tielemans from Monaco. Adrien Silva went in the opposite direction, and Tielemans is a quality pick up. The 21-year-old shone at Anderlecht in the past and played for Belgium at the World Cup in the summer.

In: Youri Tielemans (AS Monaco) Loan
Out: Yohan Benalouane (Nottingham Forest) Undisclosed, Fousseni Diabate (Sivasspor) Loan, Callum Elder (Ipswich) Loan, Vicente Iborra (Villarreal) Undisclosed, Adrien Silva (Monaco) Loan


Liverpool: C

No additions for Liverpool, and their squad is so strong that is not surprising. Solanke and Clyne moved to Bournemouth and Jurgen Klopp may have been tempted to bring in a new defender to help with some injuries. In the end, Liverpool did what they needed to: nothing.

In: None
Out: Nathaniel Clyne (AFC Bournemouth) Loan, Ovie Ejaria (Reading) Loan, Liam Miller (Kilmarnock) Loan, Dominic Solanke (AFC Bournemouth) Undisclosed


Manchester City: C-

Pep Guardiola‘s men were linked with adding cover in central midfield to help Fernandinho, and they did sign promising Croatian midfielder Ante Palaversa from Hajduk Split. He was loaned back to the Croatian side right away and the 18-year-old is highly rated in his homeland.

In: Ante Palaversa (Hajduk Split) Undisclosed
Out: Brahim Diaz (Real Madrid) Undisclosed,  Ed Francis (Wolves) Undisclosed Luke Bolton (Wycombe Wanderers) Loan, Rabbi Matondo (Schalke) Undisclosed, Ante Palaversa (Hajduk Split) Loan


Manchester United: C

A quiet window, as expected, at United as caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has improved their star players straight away. Easy window.

In: None
Out: Ethan Hamilton (Rochdale) Loan, Joel Pereira (KV Kortrijk) Loan, Regan Poole (Newport) Loan, Ro-Shaun Williams (Shrewsbury Town) Undisclosed


Newcastle United: B+

One of the winners of the window, as Rafael Benitez was given money to spend as they broke their club-record transfer fee and paid $27.5 million for Miguel Almiron. The Paraguayan attacker has been a revelation in MLS and although this is a huge step up, his arrival is something we didn’t think we would see under Mike Ashley.

In: Miguel Almiron (Atlanta United) $27.5 million, Antonio Barreca (Monaco) Loan
Out: Liam Gibson (Accrington) Loan, Elias Sorensen (Blackpool) Loan, Jamie Sterry (Crewe) Loan,  Josef Yarney (Chesterfield)


Southampton: C-

No arrivals at Saints in January as Ralph Hasenhuttl focused on trimming his squad and promoting youth players. Out went Davis, Gabbiadini, Hoedt and Cedric, with Charlie Austin nearly leaving too. Could the failure to add a striker this month cost Southampton their place in the Premier League? We will wait and see, but this was a window which sees them have a leaner and better-balanced squad. From the outside looking in it seems like Saints got rid of plenty of talented players for no reason. A risky tactic from Hasenhuttl, but he is all about the team-first approach.

In: None
Out: Steven Davis (Rangers) Loan, Manolo Gabbiadini (Sampdoria) Undisclosed, Wesley Hoedt (Celta Vigo) Loan, Ryan Seager Released, Cedric Soares (Inter Milan) Loan


Tottenham Hotspur: C

Tottenham have now gone a full 12 months without signing a single player. Wow. Losing Mousa Dembele was a blow, but expected, as Harry Winks and Oliver Skipp will be expected to pick up the slack. Tottenham have suffered with injuries, but can they afford players who will make their squad better? Not right now given the move to their new stadium. Sensible business for Mauricio Pochettino even if they tried to chase an extra striker late in the window.

In: None
Out: Jaden Brown (Huddersfield Town) Undisclosed, Mousa Dembele (Guangzhou R&F) Undisclosed, Georges-Kevin Nkoudou (Monaco) Loan, Kazaiah Sterling (Sunderland) Loan


Watford: C

The biggest win in January for Watford was keeping hold of Abdoulaye Doucoure as PSG were linked with a move for him. Quiet window for Javi Gracia, as he continues to get this Watford squad performing above their potential.

In: Adam Parkes (Southampton) Undisclosed
Out: Stefano Okaka (Udinese) Loan, Jerome Sinclair (Oxford United) Loan, Ben Wilmot (Udinese) Loan, Randell Williams (Exeter City) Undisclosed, Marvin Zeegelaar (Udinese) Loan


West Ham United: C+

A strange window for the Hammers as Marko Arnautovic was linked with a move to the Chinese Super League but ended up signing a new contract with the club. They were linked with a big money move for Uruguayan striker Maxi Lopez and that may now happen in the summer, while Samir Nasri‘s arrival on a free transfer was a smart pick up.

In: Samir Nasri (Unattached) Free, Mesaque Dju (Benfica) Undisclosed
Out: Sead Haksabanovic (Norrkoping) Loan, Moses Makasi (Stevenage) Loan, Toni Martinez (Lugo) Loan, Vashon Neufville (Newport) Loan, Reece Oxford (FC Augsburg) Loan,
Joe Powell (Northampton) Loan


Wolverhampton Wanderers: C

Wolves were looking at adding some extra cover in attack, with Tammy Abraham close to joining on loan right at the start of the window. In the end, Nuno Espirito Santo‘s men didn’t really need extra help going forward and signing right back Jonny from Atletico Madrid on a permanent basis on Deadline Day was superb business.

In: David Wang (Jumilla B) Undisclosed, Ed Francis (Manchester City) Undisclosed, Jonny (Atletico Madrid) Undisclosed
Out: Benik Afobe (Stoke) Undisclosed, Danny Batth (Stoke) Undisclosed, Harry Burgoyne (Falkirk) Loan, Ethan Ebanks-Landell (Rochdale) Loan, Bright Enobakhare (Coventry) Loan, Kortney Hause (Aston Villa) Loan, Ben Stevenson (Colchester United) Undisclosed,  David Wang (Sporting Lisbon) Loan

Premier League Preview: Bournemouth v. Chelsea

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  • Cherries have beaten Chelsea twice in nine
  • Blues beat Bournemouth twice at Stamford Bridge this season (PL, League Cup)
  • Chelsea leads all-time 10W-3L

Chelsea can create distance from the chasing pack when it visits Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Wednesday (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET Wednesday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

The Blues can pull three points clear of fifth place Arsenal and five ahead of the fifth place Manchester United.

[ MORE: What did we learn in the PL on Tuesday? ]

A miserable run of form for Bournemouth ended last time out, as the Cherries knocked off West Ham 2-0 in London.

What they’re saying

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe on new signing Chris Mepham“He’s a very talented young lad. We’re really excited by what he can deliver for us, now and in the future. He fits our mold of what we’re after in a young defender. He’s very good on the ball, composed and he has leadership qualities.”

Chelsea’s Maurizio Sarri on getting back in PL win column“We showed we are able to react to a difficulty. Now we need to show continuity in our approach to matches, when we have to manage a match. The last two matches were very good, but now we need to show continuity. When I look at the numbers, we have a very good physical performance in quantity and quality.”

Prediction

Bournemouth has not had success against the big boys. Can that change at home? Unlikely. Eden Hazard makes it happen in a 2-1 win.