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Preview: Chelsea vs. Southampton - prediction, team news, lineups
02/10/2021 11:19:15

Seeking to avoid a third successive defeat in all competitions, Chelsea welcome winless Southampton to Stamford Bridge for Saturday afternoon's Premier League clash.

The Blues' most recent top-flight battle saw them lose 1-0 to champions Manchester City, while Ralph Hasenhuttl's side suffered defeat by the same scoreline to Wolverhampton Wanderers.

We say: Chelsea 2-0 Southampton

Southampton have enjoyed a string of positive results at Stamford Bridge over the past few seasons and will aim to take advantage of Chelsea's depleted confidence, but they are hardly high on morale themselves.

Tuchel's side will view this encounter as the ideal opportunity to get back on track before the international break, and we can only back the Blues to return to winning ways and leave Southampton still searching for their first three points of the new term.

Match preview

In what has arguably been one of the most challenging weeks of his otherwise wholly successful reign, Thomas Tuchel has witnessed his side lose their attacking bite and suffer back-to-back defeats to fellow powerhouses Man City and Juventus in the space of a few days.

After Gabriel Jesus's strike found its way through to condemn Chelsea to defeat in front of their own fans, Federico Chiesa took no longer than 11 seconds of the second half to score the winner for Juventus on Wednesday evening, as the Blues' defence of their European crown took an early hit.

Defeat to Man City allowed the champions to leapfrog them in the embryonic rankings, but the Blues remain firmly in the title-chasing mix with 13 points at this early stage as they sit third in the table - level with four other high-flyers and one behind leaders Liverpool.

Tuchel is yet to lose three games in a row in all competitions since succeeding Frank Lampard and will be determined to avoid that unwanted first this weekend, but Chelsea can take confidence in the fact that they won four home matches on the spin before falling to the champions' superiority.

Not since December 2019 have Chelsea lost twice in a row on home soil in the Premier League - the second loss of which did come 2-0 against Southampton - but Hasenhuttl's side are struggling for any sort of inspiration at this moment in time.

Raul Jimenez finding the back of the net was a joy to watch for almost all football fans last week, unless it was the home crowd at St Mary's, who witnessed the Wolves striker condemn their side to a 1-0 defeat last weekend as their winless start to the new league season continued.

With 61 minutes on the clock, the impenetrable wall that was Jose Sa found Jimenez with a pinpoint long ball, and the Mexican striker proceeded to fire home for his long-awaited first goal of the new season, and the home side could not find a way back in the final half hour.

Claiming points in clashes with Manchester City, Manchester United and West Ham United is certainly admirable, but as one of five sides boasting no wins from their opening six games of the new season, Southampton lie in a lowly 16th spot before a daunting trip to West London.

EFL Cup successes over Newport County and Sheffield United have seen Hasenhuttl's men set up another trip to Stamford Bridge for next month's fourth round, and they have only claimed one win from their last 16 away from home in the top flight - losing six and drawing two of their last eight on the road.

However, Southampton did manage to rescue a point in a 3-3 draw in this fixture last season thanks to Jannik Vestergaard's last-gasp equaliser and are unbeaten in three at Stamford Bridge, although they have only registered one win from their last 12 in all competitions against the European champions.

Team News

Chelsea should be able to welcome Mason Mount back in time from a minor knock for this game, with the England international a sure-fire starter over Hakim Ziyech after the Moroccan lasted just 62 minutes of the Juve defeat.

However, Christian Pulisic and Reece James both remain in the treatment room with ankle injuries, while N'Golo Kante is isolating after returning a positive coronavirus test.

Chelsea fans have been calling for Ben Chilwell and Ruben Loftus-Cheek to return to the first XI, and the former could have a strong chance of doing so after replacing Marcos Alonso at half time against Juventus.

Meanwhile, Southampton's Armando Broja is ineligible to face his parent club but would have struggled for a starting role anyway, while Jack Stephens is out for at least 10 weeks with a serious knee injury.

Will Smallbone is edging closer to a comeback having rejoined team training, but it remains to be seen if Stuart Armstrong and Theo Walcott will be passed fit for the encounter in the capital.

Hasenhuttl is unlikely to consider many changes from the side that failed to fire against Wolves, but Moussa Djenepo will hope to be recalled to the left over Nathan Redmond.

Chelsea possible starting lineup:

Mendy; Silva, Christensen, Rudiger; Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Kovacic, Chilwell; Mount, Havertz; Lukaku

Southampton possible starting lineup:

McCarthy; Livramento, Bednarek, Salisu, Walker-Peters; Elyounoussi, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Djenepo; Adams, Armstrong

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