Guus Hiddink’s free-scoring Chelsea take on Southampton’s impregnable defence at St.Mary’s Stadium in the pick of Saturday’s Premier League fixtures.
For all of Chelsea’s problems in defence, the return to form of Diego Costa as well as Cesc Fàbregas has meant that scoring goals has not been an issue for the Blues. Hiddink’s men have reached the five-goal mark in three of their last six fixtures, and go into Saturday’s game on the back of a morale-boosting 5-1 thrashing of Manchester City in the FA Cup.
Meanwhile, the return of goalkeeper Fraser Forster has been hugely beneficial to Ronald Koeman’s Southampton side, who are yet to concede a goal since his return — a run stretching to six games. After their horrible form in December and early January, the Saints have managed to turn things around significantly, and will give the Blues a real run for their money.
Possible starting XI (3-5-2): Forster; Van Dijk, Fonte (C), Yoshida; Cédric, Davis, Romeu, Clasie, Bertrand; Mané, Long
Possible starting XI (4-2-3-1): Courtois; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ivanović, Baba Rahman; Mikel, Fàbregas; Hazard, Willian, Pedro; Diego Costa
- Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 10 Premier League games — the longest run of any team currently.
- Southampton have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 11 league matches against the Blues.
- Chelsea have scored 11 goals in their last 3 games in all competitions, scoring 5 in two of them.
- Wilfried Zaha was the last player to score against Southampton, who have since kept 6 clean sheets in a row.
- Diego Costa has scored 7 goals in his last 8 Premier League appearances for Chelsea.
Southampton 1 – 2 Chelsea
Southampton have been in fine form of late, but will find it difficult to withstand Chelsea’s pressure for the full 90 minutes. Diego Costa is just one of several Blues attackers to hit a purple patch of form recently, and Guus Hiddink will push his team in an attempt to get back-to-back wins for the first time in the league. A narrow away win in a tightly-contested game is likely at St.Mary’s.