Southampton v CHELSEA: Preview

Venue: St Mary’s Stadium
Date: Sunday 28th December
Kick-off: 14:05 GMT

This afternoon’s early kick-off sees us travel to St Mary’s for an away fixture against Southampton. The Saints come into this game back up to fourth in the Premier League after their four-game losing streak was put to bed with back to back wins over Everton and Crystal Palace. Their defeats, of course, came against City, Arsenal and United, so Koeman will be looking for his players to demonstrate their ability to stand up against at least one of the top four.
With just one win from their last ten against us, Southampton don’t have the best record against us in the Premier League until now, although Shane Long, with 3 from his last four starts in the Premier League against us might be one to keep an eye on. And with a defence that’s kept six clean sheets in their nine home games so far this season, if we let them in, they’re almost certain to shut up shop.
Of course, we go into this game off the back of a very impressive win over West Ham on Boxing Day, where the 2-0 scoreline really flattered the visitors. That was at home though whilst away, we’ve won just two of the last five. Let’s just hope our fortunes at St Mary’s continue.

MANAGER’S VIEWS’
Going into today’s game, Southampton manager Ronald Koeman says “I am a coach that always tries to win. They have fantastic football players but it’s 11 against 11 and we will try to do everything to win that game. We know it will be very difficult but it isn’t impossible. What we like to do is play football and to play attractive, offensive football and to go for it. But that is for every game, not just when our opponent is Chelsea or Manchester City. We will go for it. That’s football and if you don’t go for it, stay at home.”
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho meanwhile, says of Koeman “I know that he is a good coach, and I know the football principles that he defends and he likes. When I saw him get his hands on [Mauricio] Pochettino’s team, I thought he was the right guy to do it.”
Whilst on Southampton, Mourinho says “Obviously they lost some good players, but they were very clinical in their choices,’ he added. They don’t have any pressure because they are very, very far away from relegation and the title is not for them. They are in a fantastic situation to play beautiful football.”

SQUAD NEWS
For Southampton, Jay Rodriguez (cruciate ligament), Sam Gallagher (knee) and Jack Cork (knock) are all out and on loan Ryan Bertrand is ineligible against us. Shane Long, Dusan Tadic and Victor Wanyama could all start.
For Chelsea, Mourinho has a full squad to choose from but could make some changes, with Andre Schurrle, John Obi Mikel, Filipe Luis and Didier Drogba possibles to start.

TEAMS
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Courtois, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Fabregas, Matic, Willian, Oscar, Hazard, Costa
SOUTHAMPTON (Possible line-up): Forster, Clyne, Alderweireld, Fonte, Targett, Ward-Prowse, Davis, Schneiderlin, Mane, Tadic, Pellè

LAST SEASON
Chelsea 3-1 Southampton (1 December 2013),

OTHER STUFF
•Chelsea have won six of the last eight meetings with Southampton in the league and cup.
•Southampton have had one victory in their last 11 league and cup games against Chelsea
•Chelsea have won on four of their last five visits to Southampton in all competitions.
•Southampton have kept clean sheets in six of their nine top-flight games at St Mary’s ths season
•Chelsea have kept clean sheets in six of their last seven Premier League games.
•Chelsea have conceded just one first-half goal in their last 14 top-flight games
•Shane Long has scored in 3 of his last 4 Premier League starts against Chelsea.

PREDICTION
Tricky one this. Whoever gets their nose in front first is likely to hang on for their lives!

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