Chelsea vs Southampton: Match Preview - The Chelsea Chronicle

Chelsea vs Southampton: Match Preview

Southampton are the opponents at Stamford Bridge on Saturday as Chelsea’s festive fixture list continues. The Saints come into the game on the back of a heavy defeat at home to their old boss Claude Puel and Leicester City while Antonio Conte’s men cruises past Huddersfield on Tuesday.

Team News

Alvaro Morata is expected to return to the starting line-up after he missed the trip to Huddersfield in midweek so Willian and Pedro could both drop out. David Luiz is unlikely to return to the squad however, as he recovers from a knee injury. Morata, Marcos Alonso and Antonio Rudiger are all one booking away from suspension so expect Conte to use these three wisely. Southampton should be at full strength with Oriol Romeu and Ryan Bertrand in contention to play against their former club.

Key Battles

Charlie Austin has been on fire lately with four goals in his last five games so Andreas Christensen will have to be at his best to stop the physical English striker. Cedric and Bertrand are very attacking full backs so Alonso and Victor Moses will have to be well aware of the threat they pose, as well as exploiting the gaps they leave. Oriol Romeu has been a revelation since signing for the Saints last season so Cesc Fabregas and co. will have to find a way past the big Spaniard on Saturday.

Chelsea’s record against Southampton

The Blues have only beaten Southampton twice at home in the last five seasons with the South Coast club winning once and drawing twice in West London since their promotion in 2012. The two teams last met in April when Chelsea were looking to clinch the Premier League title. Two goals from Diego Costa saw his side run out 4-2 winners with Ryan Bertrand grabbing a late goal on his return to Stamford Bridge. In the current Chelsea squad, Eden Hazard has the most goals against Saturday’s opponents with three. Gary Cahill and Willian each have two against the Saints.

With Man City breaking all kinds of records and bursting away at the top of the table, it might be the time to think about consolidating a place in the top four. A win against Southampton would be the perfect way to move ahead of the chasing pack and move level with Manchester United in second.