Southampton’s enforced two-week break could well give them the edge over Chelsea when the Blues travel to St Mary’s this weekend.
That is according to Saints manager Ronald Koeman who has seen the positive side of being dumped out of the FA Cup, claiming that while his side likes to play football the demands of the modern game mean a two-week break is a rare treat.
“It gave us time to recover and to prepare well for Chelsea,” the Dutchman told the club’s official YouTube channel.
“You know the schedule of the season and that you get a weekend off if you go out of the FA Cup. We took it and it was good to have it but, of course, we like to play football.”
However, while the chance to relax and then fully prepare for the Chelsea game was welcomed by Koeman and his squad the Saints gaffer has noted that his side’s upcoming opponents are quickly regaining form and will provide them with a tough challenge this weekend.
“We’ve had good sessions and we have to be prepared because Chelsea is running back – they look strong and are full of confidence, so it’s a tough one,” he added.
Southampton currently sit seven points and six places above the Blues in the Premier League and with eyes on a European adventure next year three points against the champions would be a welcome result.
However, the betting suggests the south coast side go into the game as marginal underdogs at odds of 9/5.
The draw is available at 21/10 but the most likely result – according to the betting – is a Chelsea win at 6/4.
That said, the Saints 3-1 win at Stamford Bridge earlier this season showed exactly what Koeman’s men can do when at their best and after a prolonged rest it could pay to back the longer odds again this time around.
All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing.