Chelsea v Southampton Preview: Stumbling Saints make visit to Stamford Bridge

Chelsea welcome Southampton to Stamford Bridge on Saturday as both sides urge for the three points in a desperate attempt to rekindle their form.

Chelsea v Southampton Preview: Stumbling Saints make visit to Stamford Bridge
(Photo by Rob Newell - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Third-placed Chelsea play host to a Southampton side sitting in 11th in the Premier League table this weekend, with Antonio Conte hoping his Blues team can revive the form that saw them capture the division title last campaign. 

Both outfits had very differing results in the midweek round of fixtures as Saints entertained a rejuvenated Leicester City but failed to take advantage of home turf as Claude Puel's men walked away with a 4-1 triumph. 

Meanwhile, Chelsea were on the road in Yorkshire as the London-based club visited Huddersfield Town. Goals from Tiémoué Bakayoko, Willian and Pedro were enough to win the three points and continue to hold the pressure on José Mourinho's Manchester United

If the weekend's hosts came out victorious in this encounter then they could potentially finish the round level on points with their nearest title rivals, whereas a Southampton win would see them remain in the bottom-half but may very well cut the gap between themselves and the top ten. 

​Morata absence could give Saints a chance

​Antonio Conte will be frustrated at the number of players side-lined going into the hectic festive schedule, with key forward Álvaro Morata continuing to recover from a back injury which saw him miss the Tuesday trip to Huddersfield Town.

David Luiz is also going to be absent from the matchday squad on Saturday as the defender remains missing following a knee injury, but summer acquisition Danny Drinkwater is expected to feature after returning to the team in midweek following illness. 













Pellegrino able to pick from a fully fit squad

Southampton boss Mauricio Pellegrino has stated he has a fully fit squad to choose from ahead of the trip to the capital this weekend; full-back Cédric Soares made a comeback to the team during the club's humiliating defeat to Leicester City. 

Charlie Austin has started both home games in the last week, against the Foxes and previously Arsene Wenger's Arsenal, and Pellegrino may be tempted to drop the striker in favour of Manolo Gabbiadini, whose been dropped to the bench in recent outings. 

Chelsea to fulfil victory at the Bridge?

This Saturday's game represents the 100th encounter between the two clubs and previous head-to-heads would suggest Conte has a win in the bag as the Blues have won 41 out of the prior 99 matches - the Saints have tallied 30 victories against the west London club.

The most recent time the Blues and Southampton have met was earlier this year in April, played out at Stamford Bridge. 

Goals from Eden Hazard and Gary Cahill came either side of a Oriol Romeu netting in the first-half before Diego Costa bagged a brace after the interval, Saints left-back Ryan Bertrand scored what turned out to be a consolation goal in the 90th minute of action. 

''Sometimes they don’t have a good moment''

For many Southampton supporters, the Leicester defeat was the final straw for Pellegrino but the manager has recognised the poor performance and is expecting a swift reaction by his players for the trip to Chelsea on Saturday, “Not too many players are in this situation. Obviously we have to start to choose the players that want to help the club 100 percent.”

He is also looking forward to visiting Stamford Bridge, with the optimism that a big team may be beneficial for his Saints squad: “For us it is a good opportunity this Saturday where we can play a top team where we might find more space. Even against really good teams you can beat them, in 90 minutes anything can happen.”