Southampton v Chelsea: Blues response unit to deliver once more
Chelsea have been dealt some pretty hefty blows already under Antonio Conte: the home defeat to Liverpool, the 3-0 first-half shaming at Arsenal and being outperformed at West Ham in the EFL Cup this midweek.
The difference between now and last year, when things turned sour under Jose Mourinho and the situation just worsened until it couldn’t continue anymore, is that every time something goes wrong, there is a reaction which shows that they remain united.
After Conte’s first loss against Liverpool, his squad visited champions Leicester, who haven’t been beaten in front of their fans since January, in the EFL Cup and rallied from 2-0 down to prevail 4-2 after extra time.
The humbling at the Emirates was followed by a hat-trick of wins to nil: 2-0 at Hull, 3-0 over Leicester and 4-0 against Manchester United, and the setback at the London Stadium is 29/20 to be forgotten with the aid of a victory at Southampton.
The Saints are one of the most admirably run clubs in the country, if not the continent, and appear to be on course for another top-10, if not top-six, Premier League finish.
However, they are not at their hottest at the moment, claiming two triumphs in their past six games: 3-1 when hosting pointless Burnley and 1-0 against bottom team Sunderland at St Mary’s in the EFL Cup.
The draw at Manchester City was the lone point that they have earned against a Big Six opponent, going down 2-0 to Man Utd and 2-1 to Arsenal, and it is notable that Chelsea won on the south coast last term, during their worst Premier League season in 20 years and Southampton’s best ever.
That February meeting even came during their most purple patch, with Ronald Koeman overseeing a sequence of six successive clean sheets decorated with five wins, so if the Blues could conquer them at their best, they can do so now, especially having become a far better functioning unit themselves.
None of the most recent five clashes between this pair were won by the home side, with the guests delivering in both 2015-16 collisions. If you expect that to change, Southampton are 2/1 and the draw is 12/5.
Two more trends to be aware of are that both teams to score has paid out in only two of Claude Puel’s men’s previous 10 matches and none of Chelsea’s latest four in the Premier League. It can be opposed at evens on this occasion.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.