Chelsea might be flying high in the Premier League but their recent away record has been far from convincing. The Blues have won just one of their last three away games and visit St. Marys on Sunday looking to beat Southampton and maintain their three-point lead over Manchester City. The Saints on the other hand, are glad to finally get back to winning ways after five-straight losses in the League.
Given the quality of both defenses, it is likely to be a tight affair, so let us look at the key battles that will swing the game one way or another.
1. Graziano Pelle vs Diego Costa
Ever since signing for Chelsea, Diego Costa has shown just why he is the missing piece in the Chelsea jigsaw. Ruthless in front and a nuisance to any defender, the Spaniard is exactly the kind of striker that the Blues have lacked since the departure of Didier Drogba in 2012. After four games without a goal, two goals and an assist in the last three games means that Costa will take on the Saints defense, hungry for more.
The problem for Southampton has been the form of their strikers. Although he has scored eight League goals, Pelle isn’t as clinical as the League’s top marksmen. The Italian striker’s inability to score in the big games, cost them dear and the side will be hoping to see him firing on all cylinders once again. Given the form the Blues defense has been in, the Saints will need him to or their chances of taking anything away from the game will become slimmer.