CHELSEA v Southampton: Preview

Date: Saturday 16th December, 2017
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT

After picking ourselves up, or being pulled up by the boss after last weekend’s disaster against West Ham, we looked more like ourselves against Huddersfield midweek. As Conte pointed out though, with City beating everything in front of them, and us blowing hot and cold, the chances of us retaining this title are slim to just about none.
Today’s opponents are no more consistent though, with a battling display in a narrow defeat to Arsenal followed by an absolute thumping from Leicester in the past week. It’s worth remembering though that whilst the Saints have also won just two of their 40 top-flight matches away against the reigning champions, one of those was us in 2015. And whilst we’re on notes of caution, another fact worth bearing in mind is that all but one one our nine Premier League defeats under Conte have come in London.

MANAGER’S VIEWS
Going into today’s game, Chelsea boss Antonio Conte says “We must be realistic. In the last nine games we won seven games, drew one and lost one – and the distance, the gap, improved for Manchester City. Time is moving on. They are continuing to win. Manchester City is building a strong team to lead in Europe and the world. To have these 15 wins in a row, also you must be lucky, because in many games they won at the last minute or five minutes to go.”
Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino meanwhile, says “Chelsea is a team where they don’t need to dominate you too much to be dangerous. In counter-attacks they have players that can create their own actions. They can run 30 or 40 metres… It is a side where they are comfortable sometimes when they are deep. But it is a good opportunity for us because also we maybe have more space than normal.”

SQUAD NEWS
For Chelsea, David Luiz (knee) remains out but Alvaro Morata is no longer tired and his backache has gone after a rest against Huddersfield, so he’s available today.
For Southampton, there’s a full squad available.

TEAMS
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Courtois; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Cahill; Zappacosta, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Fabregas, Hazard; Morata
SOUTHAMPTON (Possible line-up): Forster; Soares, Van Dijk, Yoshida, Bertrand; Romeu, Lemina, Ward-Prowse; Redmond, Tadic, Gabbiadini

LAST SEASON
Chelsea 4-2 Southampton (25th April 2017)

RECENT FORM
CHELSEA: WDWWLW
SOUTHAMPTON: LWLDDL

OTHER STUFF
~ Chelsea have won each of their last three Premier League games against Southampton
~ Southampton have kept one clean sheet in their last 24 league games against Chelsea
~ Chelsea have won seven of their last nine league matches
~ Chelsea have won their last four games at Stamford Bridge.
~ Southampton’s tally of 18 points after 17 games is their lowest at this stage since 2012-13.
~ Southampton have six points fewer than at this stage last term

PREDICTIONS
BBC Sport: Chelsea 2-0 Southampton
Sky Sports: Chelsea 3-0 Southampton
SportsMole: Chelsea 4-1 Southampton

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