Chelsea v Southampton: Eden Hazard to finally deliver the goods

It’s almost been a case of one step forward, two steps back for Chelsea in the past fortnight, so predicting how they will fare this weekend is a big ask.

After straight victories over Maccabi Tel Aviv, Arsenal and Walsall, netting 10 goals in the process, many will have come to the conclusion that the title winning Blues of old season were back.

However, the necessity to come from two goals down at Newcastle and a shambolic performance against Porto that Jose Mourinho rated as ‘minus-one-out-of-10’ almost puts them back to square one again.

The statement from the man in charge that no-one is “untouchable” may be what is required to kick the capital club back into life when Southampton come to visit on Saturday.

And it could a man who has failed build on the promise of last season that steps up and takes advantage.

Eden Hazard is the subject of Ladbrokes’ latest price boost, the bookmaker boosting the Belgian to score and the Stamford Bridge outfit to win from 5/2 to 7/2!

The 24-year-old scored 14 goals last term, but has failed to break his duck this time around, so is surely due a goal for the Londoners.

Should he find the net, then it looks unlikely that the visiting Saints leave with anything whatsoever.

In his three-year career in England, the former Lille man has scored in 33 different Premier League matches, and his talismanic qualities cannot be underestimated.

When bagging a goal or two Chelsea have gone on to win 27 times, tasting defeat on just two occasions.

He netted against the south coast club last season, and is more than capable of moving onto one for the season as the year enters October.

In another twist, Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier has been critical of the host’s attacking players of late.

“It has been a struggle [for Chelsea], mainly because none of their offensive players have hit top form yet,” he told Sky Sports.

But while Mourinho’s men may not have scored as many goals as they had hoped, Le Tiss may want to look closer to home before sticking the boot in.

Ronald Koeman’s side have netted just five times in their last ten road trips in the Premier League (including twice in the last five), and have been far from potent themselves.

Understandably that means the wins haven’t been free flowing away from St Mary’s either.

In fact, you have to go all the way back to February 7 for the last time they returned to the south coast with all three points when they beat QPR by a solitary goal.

Backing Chelsea to win to nil at 15/8 looks outstanding value with the ‘Special One’ likely to be demanding an organised, and ultimately victorious performance in front of their own fans.

And with last year’s PFA Players’ Player of the Year under pressure, expect Hazard to be at the forefront of it all.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.