Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea will be looking to put their Champions League exit to rest this Sunday as they welcome Southampton to Stamford Bridge. The Blues will be looking for a bounce back from their defeat to Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday.
Chelsea came so close to progressing on Wednesday as Gary Cahill and Eden Hazard found the net, but goals from former Blue David Luiz and a later winner from Thiago Silva gave the French side the advantage and sent them through on away goals.
In the Premier League, things look brighter for the league leaders – they are five points clear ahead of second place Manchester City, with a game in hand. The 2009-10 champions are firm favourites to land the all-important Premier League trophy come May.
However, should Manchester City come out victorious at home to Burnley, and the Saints capitalise on the 120 minutes Chelsea played on Wednesday, the gap at the top of the table cuts to only two points.
In recent months, Southampton have been dropping points due to their lack of goals. In their last six outings, they have only scored one goal, through Sadio Mane. However, Ronald Koeman’s men have the best defensive record in the league this season and if all goes to plan for the visitors, they could put a big dent in Mourinho’s title hopes.
In his press conference on Friday, Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho was adamant that “everyone wants to play,” and has Nemanja Matic back from his two-game suspension for getting sent off vs. Burnley. The only certain absentee for the hosts will be John Obi Mikel, who is out with a knee injury.
For Southampton, Toby Alderweireld is set to return from injury, after nine weeks out. The Belgian has been out since January 11th after complaining of hamstring problems vs. Manchester United. Being a substitute in Southampton’s last game, he could quite possibly start in West London.
Jay Rodriguez is still out with his knee problem and Emmanuel Mayuka is currently on the side-lines with a groin injury. However, there are no fresh injuries for the Saints.
Stats – via Opta:
- In their last 11 BPL games vs. So’ton, Chelsea have only lost the one game. (W6, D4, L1)
- Shane Long has found the net at Stamford Bridge twice, in three appearances.
- In the four divisions in English football, Chelsea are the only side this season in the league to not lose at home.
- When Southampton have taken the lead, Chelsea have been the only team to pick points up from them in the Premier League.
- In his last seven Premier League starts, Sadio Mane has found the net five times.
- In the Premier League this season, the Saints are the only team to have not conceded a penalty.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-0 Southampton