Saints make tempting case for handicap success at Chelsea

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What looked to be an untroubled run at four trophies for Chelsea this season, with a squad as strong as it is deep, has quickly become a reliance on their five-point Premier League gap being big enough to earn them a double instead.

After Bradford sent them packing in the FA Cup, Paris Saint-Germain outplayed them to end their Champions League hopes. Now, with legs weary and confidence flagging, Southampton arrive with their minds firmly set on a top-four spot.

Cesc Fabregas hasn’t shown his early-season majesty since 2015 arrived, while Diego Costa’s last goal came eight games ago. Without those two firing Eden Hazard is left on a lone mission to keep the Blues’ band playing.

In Spain, where tough games come around once every couple of months, the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid can allow one man to carry them through. The Premier League isn’t quite as forgiving.

The Saints have the best defensive record in the division, conceding 20 goals all campaign and keeping 13 clean sheets.

As they arrive at Stamford Bridge for Sunday’s early kick off, they well be warmed by the knowledge that only one home side has managed more than one goal against them.

That two-goal slip came against Liverpool on the opening day of the season, with visits to fellow Europe-chasing Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham all containing just one goal in the game.

With that in mind, taking the 8/15 on Ronald Koeman’s outfit prevailing with the advantage of a two-goal handicap is very much the play to make for the occasion.

Southampton’s stability also points to the 21/10 on under 1.5 goals being scored.

That has been the case in 13 of the south-coast club’s 28 league games this season and in five of their last six.

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

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.