Date: Saturday 2nd October 2021
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Kick-off: 15:00 BST
I wouldn’t say the wheels have come off at Chelsea but they’re not exactly pumped up right now.
After the sort of start to a season that had heads in the clouds predicting silverware, back to back defeats have brought a few crashing down to the realms of reality. The loss to City last weekend wasn’t so surprising, they’d lost three on the bounce to us and were still smarting from the Champions League defeat. They came at us with intent and whilst we held them off admirably – and why wouldn’t we with five across the back – Jesus was blessed with a deflection early in the second half and as tight as we were in defence, we were less cohesive in attack. Wasn’t our day.
The defeat away in Turin midweek was a bit more worrying though. I felt as flat as we looked watching it after the first (promising) ten minutes. Yes, Juventus were always going to be hard to break down but with 78% possession and only one shot on target, there was more chance of us breaking down watching it. And whilst I’m not going to point the finger, we all know kick-off means the game has restarted, right?
Anyway, onto today’s game and Southampton’s trip to Stamford Bridge. The Saints come into this game after a defeat to Wolves last time out and 16th in the table. We’ve kept pace with those around us at the top so far but of course dropped 3 points against City in our last Premier League game and need something out of this to avoid three defeats on the bounce.
Southampton took a point off us in this fixture last season and despite their results so far, shouldn’t be written off. Only a couple of weeks ago they fared better against City than we managed, taking a point off the Champions who would have had more confidence than we’ll go into today’s game with.
We’ll be feeling edgy – and rightly so because we must have the worst track record against struggling sides – Southampton haven’t had a win yet this season and that’s always a bit ominous.
Going into today’s game, Thomas Tuchel, says “We haven’t trained a lot. Yesterday was a recovery day, those who played 90mins in Turin haven’t done a lot. It is always about reaction. We always demand the very best from us. Nobody likes to lose, we hate to lose.
We need to respect the quality of our opponents. Also, we were not really bad. We have played good matches. It was not long ago. We miss a little step from 90% to 100%. We have to question ourselves deeply.
We of course miss Mason. The whole team missed Kante and Mason, of course that’s why he plays. Reece James too? Yes of course. Pulisic? Of course. We have a squad and the duty, for me as a coach, to find a solution. It is possible to win games with Mason Mount.”
Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl, meanwhile, says “I think, for Chelsea, this is an important time now. They’ve lost twice now and that is new for them. This is once again a game against one of the top teams for us, as they’re Champions League winners, but they’re under a little bit of pressure. We will go there, like every year, and will respect them but we also will believe in what we are doing. This is how we will create another positive result in this stadium.”
For Chelsea, Christian Pulisic (ankle) remains out and N’Golo Kante continues to self-isolate following a positive Covid-19 test. Reece James (ankle) is out although Southgate seems to be of the impression he’s just being rested for England. Mason Mount is available again and should feature at some point.
For Southampton, Jack Stephens (knee) is a long-term absentee, although Stuart Armstrong (calf) has resumed training and Theo Walcott (calf) is fit. Armando Broja is ineligible to face us.
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Mendy; Chalobah, Christensen, Rudiger; Azpilicueta, Loftus-Cheek, Kovacic, Chilwell; Mount, Hudson-Odoi, Lukaku
SOUTHAMPTON (Possible line-up): McCarthy; Livramento, Bednarek, Salisu, Walker-Peters; Elyounoussi, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Djenepo; Adams, Armstrong
CURRENT FORM (PL)
Chelsea 3-3 Southampton (17th October 2020)
- Chelsea have lost once (Dec 2019) in the past 11 league meetings.
- Southampton have earned 19 points away to Chelsea in the Premier League.
- Chelsea are in danger of losing back-to-back Premier League matches.
- Southampton are without a win in eight league matches.
- Chelsea have not lost consecutive top-flight games at Stamford Bridge since December 2019.
- Chelsea have lost four Premier League home matches in 2021.
- Chelsea have scored six first-half goals in this season’s Premier League.
- Southampton have lost 17 of 28 Premier League fixtures in 2021.
BBC Sport: Chelsea 3-0 Southampton
Sky Sports: Chelsea 2-0 Southampton
Sportsmole: Chelsea 2-0 Southampton