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Southampton v CHELSEA: Preview

Date: Saturday 20th February 2021

Venue: St Mary’s Stadium

Kick-off: 12:30 GMT

Today’s early kick-off sees us travel to St Mary’s Stadium to take on an out of sorts Southampton.

Chelsea have five straight wins in all competitions, four in the Premier League, and look a bit more resilient of late, if still not exactly prolific in the goal-scoring department. We have managed to get ourselves up to joint fourth in the table going into this game, whilst Southampton, with six straight defeats in the Premier League, are down in 13th.

In terms of confidence, the Saints could be in a similar position to the one we found ourselves in at the start of this year but let’s be clear, they are more than capable of making this another difficult game for us. At St Mary’s, Southampton managed to keep the scoreline down to a narrow 1-0 defeat against City and have taken 3 points off Liverpool, so we’d be daft to underestimate them.

Worth a mention Timo Werner finally put an end to his goal draught against Newcastle on Monday. An opening of the flood gates to well and truly end the dry spell would be very welcome today.

MANAGER’S VIEWS

Going into today’s game, Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl, says They [Chelsea] are very different, with very obvious changes, especially with the ball. They are quicker, passing better, using the spaces between the lines, better counter-pressing when they lose the ball. It’s not so high-scoring domination if you want, but it’s a controlled game all the time with a lot of possession and a lot of ball wins also in the opposition half and that shows how high they [Chelsea] want to press now, how early they want to press, but also how strong they are with the ball. 

This [Chelsea] is, for me, one of the best squads in terms of individual quality in the league, and now they are becoming more and more a team that is playing in a good shape and playing good football. You cannot allow them [Chelsea] to have too much possession, you cannot allow them to have too many ball wins against the ball. You don’t have a lot of time when you win it and want to create a chance, because they [Chelsea] have very good counter-pressing and closing. It’s a good team, a very strong side, this is how it looks when a good manager gets a good team.”

Thomas Tuchel, meanwhile, says “The thing is that we do our stuff right and be brave enough to impose our style onto the opponent, we play the same game no matter who is on the other side. I would say Barnsley was the hardest team to beat. Now the challenge is to be ready for tomorrow. I have experienced incredible work ethic from the players, they are eager to compete as a team. We can totally rely on them that we play with our principles in the game. This is the most important and if we have less time on the training ground, we work on video sessions and use games to improve, get used to each other. There is no reason not to [trust players], they have delivered from the first minute here. There is no reason to doubt them. I feel totally included in their process and a very strong bond between the players. It is a pleasure to work with the guys.”

SQUAD NEWS

For Southampton, Kyle Walker-Peters, Theo Walcott and Ibrahima Diallo are all out.

For Chelsea, Thiago Silva (thigh) and Christian Pulisic (calf) are out, although Tammy Abraham and Kai Havertz should be available.

TEAMS

SOUTHAMPTON (Possible line-up); McCarthy; Stephens, Bednarek, Vestergaard, Bertrand; Armstrong, Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Minamino; Adams, Ings

CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Mendy; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; Hudson-Odoi, Jorginho, Kovacic, Alonso; Mount, Giroud, Werner

LAST SEASON

Southampton 1 – 4 Chelsea (6th October 2019)

CURRENT FORM (PL)

SOUTHAMPTON: LLLLLL

CHELSEA: LDWWWW

OTHER STUFF

  • Chelsea have won the last five at St Mary’s in the Premier League.
  • Southampton have won only one of the past 11 meetings in all competitions.
  • Southampton have lost six consecutive league matches for the first time in their history.
  • Chelsea are unbeaten in their last six games in all competitions.
  • Southampton have conceded 20 goals in their seven Premier League games this year.
  • Chelsea have kept 11 league clean sheets this season.
  • Southampton have dropped 16 points from winning positions this season.

PREDICTION

BBC Sport: Southampton 0-2 Chelsea

Sky Sports: Southampton 1-1 Chelsea

Sportsmole: Southampton 0-1 Chelsea

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