This 2015/16 league fixture matches up Premiership new boys Bournemouth against one of the most successful and widely-supported teams in the history of English football, Chelsea. There can be few fixtures in the football calendar that feature two more contrasting clubs.
The south coast seaside town of Bournemouth is perhaps better known for its sandy beaches than as the home of Premiership football. However the Cherries, as they are popularly known due to their bright red strip, won the Championship title race in 2015 and gained promotion by right to the highest tier of English soccer for the first time in their history. Bournemouth are now rubbing shoulders with world famous soccer clubs such as Arsenal and Manchester United.
Bournemouth narrowly avoided relegation from the football league in the 2008/09 season and were only saved by beating fellow strugglers Grimsby Town 2-1, with the winning goal scored in the last 10 minutes of their final fixture. However since then the club has enjoyed a meteoric rise through the leagues.
Bournemouth currently play at Dean Court, also known as the Vitality Stadium, and are managed by Eddie Howe. Average attendance last season in the Championship was just over 10 000. Bournemouth were previously managed by Harry Redknapp at the start of his management career when he was in charge for 464 games.
Bournemouth's opponents Chelsea FC are based at their West London stadium Stamford Bridge, which has a capacity of nearly 42000 seats. In contrast to Bournemouth, Chelsea is one of the wealthiest clubs in world football, owned by Russian oil billionaire Roman Abramovich, who has funded the development of the current squad. As a result Chelsea have become one of the most successful English clubs of all time, winning the European Cup in 2012 and Premier League most recently in 2015, under their controversial and charismatic Portuguese manager, Jose Mourinho. In 2010 Chelsea were the first team to score at least 100 goals in the Premiership, reaching this total on the final day of the season.
The Chelsea squad is packed with well-known international stars including Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas, led by captain John Terry who has played for England. Thanks to their success on the field, Chelsea has become a global brand in world football and has an international fan base, many of whom will never visit Stamford Bridge but enjoy following the fortunes of their team on television.
There can be few matches in the Premier League that offer such a fascinating contrast as this one, between a minnow and one of the most powerful teams in English soccer.