At the start of the season you would have probably been branded stupid to class this as a top four clash, yet that’s exactly how some quarters have described it. While Southampton have dropped out of said places over the past week, the fact that they could leapfrog their opponents and go as high as 2nd this Sunday speaks volumes about the importance of the fixture.
Just like Manchester United and Manchester City, Chelsea are another side that everyone claims have experienced a poor start. Fortunately for them, they are still well in the title reckoning and a victory this weekend will send them within four points of leaders Arsenal. Whether or not they manage such a feat remains to be seen though, with their recent form being poor to say the least. They lost in the Champions League to Basel during the week, while their victory over West Ham was their first in three Premier League matches. Fortunately for them, their home form is impeccable and after dropping just two points at Stamford Bridge all season, their supporters will still approach this game full of optimism.
Southampton on the other hand will be looking to get back on track, with Saints tasting defeat in their last outing following a 2-0 loss to Arsenal. Nevertheless, should they collect all the points from Stamford Bridge this weekend, they will return to the top four and at least move within six points of the leaders. The club’s supporters might be a little downcast about this occurring though as while Southampton’s general form is fantastic, their away record is disappointing. They have won just one fixture on the road since September and when this is compared to the home form that their opponents find themselves in, it’s no surprise to see that Chelsea are firm favourites ahead of the clash.
As for team news, Chelsea have been dealt a blow this week with the news that Samuel Eto’o will not be featuring for the next few weeks due to a hamstring injury. That limits Jose Mourinho’s attacking options somewhat, while the Blues’ boss also has problems at the back with David Luiz still not fit to return. It’s a different story for the visitors meanwhile, with Mauricio Pochettino welcoming back two influential players. Jack Cork and Gaston Ramirez both missed their side’s last game and their absence must have played some part in the rare defeat Saints experienced.
Even though Southampton fans will be happier with their progress this term than the Chelsea ones, we just can’t see past the Blues ahead of this clash. Their home form is almost perfect, while Saints have struggled somewhat on the road. Subsequently, our prediction will be a comfortable 2-0 win for Jose Mourinho’s side.