Written by: @GrantMilesFF
Chelsea go into 2014 sitting just two points off the summit of the Premier League and will feel they can still find a few extra gears as we reach the business end of the season.
Southampton, conversely, were flying at the beginning of the campaign but have stuttered of late and won one of their last nine matches and will be hoping for a revitalised start to 2014.
Jose Mourinho’s men secured a 2-1 victory against Liverpool on Sunday and having won three of their last four will be hoping to build on their winning ways. John Terry admitted prior to this fixture though that the Blues are aware of the dangers they face in this game, as Chelsea failed to win at St Mary’s last season.
Any lapse in concentration could be seized on by Southampton as they took a 1-0 lead in the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge before eventually losing 3-1.
Mauricio Pocchetino has a few injury concerns ahead of this fixture as his team look to spring an upset on one of the title favourites. Pablo Daniel Osvaldo is suffering from illness whilst fellow striker Guly Do Prado is out with a knee problem. Victor Wanyama remains out with a fractured leg whilst Artur Boruc isn’t ready to return in between the sticks, still suffering with a hand complaint. Morgan Schneiderlin is available, though, after missing Sunday’s 2-1 defeat to Everton due to suspension.
Chelsea travel to the south coast without Frank Lampard who has a muscular injury and Branislav Ivanovic is also out with a knee problem. David Luiz picked up a one game suspension in his last outing, yet Ramires is available after returning from suspension. Van Ginkel remains out for the rest of the term with a knee injury.
Southampton have gone from surprise package to a slump but should cause problems for Chelsea who are yet to fully resolve their striking problems, despite their positive league position.
Southampton vs Chelsea Pre-Match Stats
Saints have only won one of their last nine Barclays Premier League games against Chelsea (D3 L5), but that was in this fixture last season.
Chelsea are likely to be missing Frank Lampard, who has scored four goals in his last five Barclays Premier League starts against Southampton.
Southampton only had one shot on target in the reverse fixture last month (the Rodriguez goal after 13 seconds).
37% of the goals Chelsea have conceded this season have come from set-pieces, the highest proportion in the Premier League (excl. penalties).
The Saints have lost only one of their last six Premier League home games against sides from London (W3 D2).
Jose Mourinho has made more substitutions than any other Premier League manager this season (57).
Chelsea have conceded 799 Premier League goals.
No Chelsea striker has scored a Premier League away goal since December 2012.
Jay Rodriguez has scored five goals in his last seven Premier League appearances for Southampton, with one of those coming against Chelsea.
Chelsea have lost as many away games as they have won this season (W3 D3 L3).