St Mary’s Stadium - Premier League
Chelsea’s young guns return to Premier League action after their midweek exertions in the Champions League with a trip to Southampton. The Saints are looking to get back on track following successive league defeats, but start as the underdogs in the betting.
Chelsea were 3-0 winners at St Mary’s last season, but Southampton enjoyed a better time of it in the return as they claimed a point at Stamford Bridge courtesy of a goalless draw. The Blues beat the Saints seven times in a row before that, with Southampton’s last victory in this fixture coming back in 2015.
Goalkeeper Alex McCarthy is rated as 50/50 for this game, so Angus Gunn will continue between the sticks. Moussa Djenepo has been ruled out with a thigh injury, while Cedric Soares is also doubtful.
Antonio Rudiger misses out for the visitors with a groin problem, while full-back Emerson Palmieri is set to miss another couple of weeks of action. Ruben Loftus-Cheek is expecting to step up his recovery over the coming weeks after a long-term injury.
Southampton v Chelsea Preview and Predictions
An away day in Lille on Wednesday means Chelsea have less time to prepare for this game, but their youngsters should have the legs to match Southampton this weekend. The question is whether they have the quality to take their chances, or will the Saints manage to keep their visitors at bay and claim a big win?
The Blues were wasteful in only beating Brighton 2-0 at home last weekend, and they need to be more clinical in front of goal. They got away with it last time, and they’ll also get their chances in this game, so it’s all about the composure the likes of Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount can display.
Those two have made a wonderful start to life as senior Premier League players for Chelsea, while Callum Hudson-Odoi is also working his way back to full fitness. With Southampton’s lively style, pressing and propensity to get numbers forward in mind, we could be in for a cracking game on the south coast.
The Saints lost 3-1 to rivals Bournemouth in their last home game, before failing to take advantage of Tottenham being a man down for an hour as they lost 2-1 in north London last time out. Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side are 3/1 to bounce back with a victory here, while Chelsea are the 10/11 favourites and the draw is 29/10.
Chelsea to win and BTTS at 5/2
The Blues have an excellent record against Southampton and Frank Lampard’s side are the favourites. They may not have it all their own way though.
Abraham to score first at 4/1
Chelsea’s promising young striker turned 22 on Wednesday and has managed seven goals in seven Premier League matches so far this season.