Chelsea vs Southampton
Dec 1, 2013 at 4.10pm (UK)
A tired Chelsea side beaten by Basel in Switzerland take on Southampton who went down at the hands of the table toppers Arsenal. While Jose Mourinho’s second homecoming at the helm of Stamford Bridge hasn’t quite gone according to plan, Mauricio Pocchetino’s squad have been a revelation this campaign. Chelsea are currently seated third in the Premier League table but have struggled quite often as the Saints are currently positioned two places below at fifth with just two points behind the Blues.
Last time Chelsea were at home, they needed a blatant Ramires dive in the penalty area against West Brom as Eden Hazard took responsibility to score from the spot to save a point at Stamford Bridge. However the 3-0 win against West Ham at Upton would have brought some relief for the Blues faithful, they will square up against a very competitive Saints side who are capable of beating anyone on their day. Southampton however have to quickly get over their 0-2 loss to Arsenal last weekend and Goalkeeper Artur Boruc needs to have a good day at the office. Pochettino’s men are still performing well above expectations as this is comfortably their best-ever start to a Premier League campaign. After this many games last season they were 19th with eight points. How times change!
Coming to the team news Samuel Eto’o is out for Chelsea after a torn hamstring in midweek’s Champions League fixture away to Basel while David Luiz might not make the squad due to a bruised knee. Juan Mata is expected to feature in the starting eleven even though Oscar has been absolutely sublime in the number ten role this season.
Talking of Soutahmpton, Luke Shaw’s stiff hip could see him sidelined against his boyhood team. However, the likes of Gaston Ramirez and Jack Cork will be returning from their respective injuries. However the good news for Pocchetino is that influential centre back Dejan Lovren should make it to the starting line up after recovering from illness.
- Frank Lampard has scored four goals in his last five Barclays Premier League appearances against Southampton.
- Rickie Lambert scored in both Barclays Premier League appearances against Chelsea last season.
- This is Southampton’s best ever start to a Premier League campaign, surpassing the 17 points they had earned after 12 games in 2003-04.
- Chelsea have an identical Premier League record this season to the one they had in the opening 12 games under Roberto di Matteo last season (W7 D3 L2) who was sacked after 12 games.
- Southampton have scored just five goals in their last nine Premier League away games, and not more than once in a single match in that run.
- Chelsea have scored eight goals in the final 15 minutes of matches, more than any other team in the top flight this season.
- Southampton have scored six headed goals in the Premier League, the joint-most in the top flight along with Liverpool.
Stats compiled from Eurosport.yahoo
Possible starting lineups:
Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Terry; Mikel, Ramires, Schurrle, Oscar, Hazard; Torres
Southampton: Boruc; Clyne, Shaw, Fonte, Lovren; Schneiderlin, Ward-Prowse, Wanyama; Lallana, Lambert, Rodriguez
Southampton will surely be looking to bounce back from their defeat to Arsenal against a beatable Chelsea side on Sunday. Going by history, matches have been very tight between these two sides, but Chelsea might just have enough resources in them to just nick it by a 2-1 margin.
Blast from the past: