Southampton have been handed an injury blow ahead of their upcoming Premier League showdown against Chelsea this afternoon.
In his latest press conference ahead of the match against the west Londoners, Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl revealed that Jack Stephens will not be available for the clash at Stamford Bridge as a result of the injury he picked up during 0-0 draw at Manchester City which saw him forced off the pitch in the first half.
With Hasenhuttl previously revealing that Stephens ruptured a tendon in his knee and is expected to be out of action for around 10-12 weeks, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the defender will play no part in the Chelsea clash, but it’s still a blow for the Saints.
Stephens, who is currently valued at £4.5m according to Transfermarkt, has made 139 appearances for Southampton across all competitions in which he has managed to chip in with six goals and provide five assists in the process.
Given how he played every minute of action in the Premier League for Southampton this term before picking up his injury at the Etihad Stadium, this shows just how vital he has been for Hasenhuttl and why it’s such a blow that he will now miss a considerable chunk of the season through injury.
Indeed, the 27-year-old has posted match averages of 1.8 tackles and 1.6 interceptions in the early weeks of the campaign, placing him third for both metrics among the Saints’ squad, as per WhoScored. That serves to illustrate how crucial he is as a defensive rock at St Mary’s.
Given how fellow Southampton centre-back Mohammed Salisu, who replaced Stephens in the City game, went on to play in the 1-0 defeat against Wolves and earn himself a respectable match rating of 6.8/10 from SofaScore, he should be given the chance to play alongside Jan Bednarek today to see if he can be the right person to fill in for Stephens while the 29-year-old is out injured.