Chelsea Football Club are looking much better over the last few weeks, with Antonio Conte switching to his favoured 3-5-2 formation and it seems to be paying dividends. Southampton themselves are looking absolutely fantastic, and haven’t lost in their last five outings. Claude Puel must be delighted with his team who sit seventh in the Premier League.
After back-to-back defeats at the hands of Liverpool and Arsenal, Conte has really turned things around brilliantly. That started with a good 2-0 victory away at Hull City, and they backed that up with a stunning 3-0 performance at home to Leicester. Their best display was, without doubt, the 4-0 walloping of Manchester United. The thing that’ll please Conte most is the fact that they didn’t concede one goal in any of these games.
You have to give a tonne of credit to Claude Puel. Once again, they lost their leader in Ronald Koeman and key players like Sadio Mane and Victor Wanyama but somehow the South Coast team still keep improving. In their last five they have won three against Swansea City, West Ham and Burnley. The draws came against Leicester and Manchester City.
Southampton starting XI Chelsea starting XI
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Southampton are looking very secure at the back with Virgil van Dijk playing out of his skin at the moment. Dusan Tadic is playing brilliantly also, and with Charlie Austin up front, they’ll always have a chance at getting at least one goal on the board against any opponent.
For Chelsea, it’s a case of if it’s broke don’t fix it. Why on earth would they switch anyone out of a team that demolished Manchester United. The likes of Victor Moses and Pedro played some superb football in that one, and they more than deserve their place in the starting line-up.
Suspensions and injuries
Chelsea have a problem with Cesc Fabregas who’ll miss this one with a thigh issue. Branislav Ivanovic has a muscle problem, and Marco van Ginkel is still missing. Aside from that, though, Conte has a fully fit squad at his disposal and they are looking extremely strong.
Southampton have also been against all odds on the injury front. Jay Rodriguez has barely featured this calendar year since that horrific injury, and he still has no return date based off of his latest head problem. Shane Long has a hamstring issue which could keep him out of this one. However, Matt Targett, Ryan Bertrand and Cedric Soares could all return on Sunday.
This one will be an interesting game. Southampton’s counter attack style will undoubtedly cause Chelsea problems on the break when they get the chance. However, I expect Chelsea to be able to find the back of the net more than once, and I fancy the hosts to win this one 2-1.
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