The Blues host The Saints who themselves are in dire straits on Matchday 24 in the league.
Chelsea’s woeful season continues under the reign of Graham Potter as fans are now beginning to raise their voices against the current management. Despite pulling off a relatively better performance midweek away at Signal Iduna Park in the UEFA Champions League. The Blues succumbed to a 1-0 defeat after a moment of brilliance by Karim Adeyemi. Their league form has also shown no signs of improvement as they remain stranded at 10th in the table with just 31 points from 22 games. They have won only one game since the turn of the year and it is a very dreadful sign after spending huge amounts on recent acquisitions. Emerson Palmieri scored the equalizer to give Chelsea another 1-1 draw after an early goal from Joao Felix gave them the lead in their recent run out in the Premier League.
Southampton on the other hand are looking for a ray of hope amidst all that is going on in the club. With relegation being imminent, the faithful of St. Mary’s will be looking to complete their first league double over the Blues since the 1987-88 campaign. Jesse Marsch or Steven Gerard are the most likely to get on the helm and help the Saints out of these unfamiliar doldrums with Nathan Jones on the brink of departure. A valiant performance against Wolves was cut short as they faced their 15th defeat of the season after a late goal from Joao Gomes handed Southampton another 2-1 loss. They are now 4 points away from the 17th spot Leeds United and will be desperate to get something out of this fixture.
Saturday, 18-02-2023, 08:30 pm (IST)
Saturday, 18-02-2023, 03:00 pm (GMT)
Chelsea form (all competition): L-D-D-D-W
Southampton form (all competition): L-L-L-W-L
Player to watch
Fernandez usually plays as a deep-seated playmaking central midfielder, responsible for breaking up play, dictating the tempo, and recycling possession, while he is also a capable attacking midfielder. He has looked most promising in the recent set of fixtures to score from outside the box as he has a great shooting range.
Lavia is a holding midfielder, who excels in his ability to retain the ball in the build-up phase. As well as possessing the ability to play defensive splitting passes deep down from the midfield. He has been the only promising aspect for the Saints this season and has scored against the Blues earlier. He will be looking forward to repeating the same feat again.
- Chelsea lost the reverse fixture 2-1 against Southampton in August 2022, they have not lost consecutive matches against Saints since December 1993.
- Southampton have kept just one clean sheet in their last 28 Premier League matches, a 1-0 win away at Bournemouth in October 2022.
- Chelsea have drawn their last three Premier League matches, last having a longer run of consecutive draws in their final five matches in the 2006-07 campaign.
Injury and team news
Ngolo Kante, Armando Broja, Christian Pulisic and Edouard Mendy have been sidelined for a while and the worrying thing is that there is no possible return dates for any of these players. Raheem Sterling and Denis Zakaria have returned to training and could start on the bench for Graham Potter. Wesley Fofana was deemed fit ahead of the fixture against Dortmund but he did not make an appearance despite being on the substitutes’ bench. Havertz has not been clinical in front of goal but it is very unlikely that anybody else will replace him in the number 9 role up front.
Valentino Livramento and Kyle-Walker Pieters are currently being assessed with due diligence as both of them have been out for a while with muscular injuries. Carlos Alcaraz has been a real menace for the opposition defenders in recent weeks and it is a good sign for the Saints. Alex McCarthy will also be unavailable to make the trip to Stamford Bridge due to an ankle/foot injury as his return date is unknown.
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Head-to-Head stats in Premier League
Chelsea predicted lineup (4-2-3-1):
Arrizabalaga; James, Thiago Silva, Badiashile, Chilwell; Loftus Cheek, Enzo Fernandez; Madueke, Felix, Mudryk; Havertz.
Southampton predicted lineup (5-3-2):
Bazunu; Bree, Maitland-Niles, Bednarek, Salisu, Perraud; Ward-Prowse, Lavia, Carlos Alcaraz; Sulemana, Onuachu
Given the current context of the season, Chelsea have found it hard to find the back of the net despite making big-money signings in the January transfer window. Although their resurgent performance in the Champions League against Dortmund shows the class that is in their ranks and how they might torment the defence of bottom-placed Southampton. We are keeping the Blues ahead in this fixture but it won’t be a shock if things go otherwise.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-0 Southampton.
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