Southampton host Chelsea at St Mary’s on Saturday in the Premier League as both sides look to arrest recent poor results. The hosts have lost four of their last five matches whilst the Blues have seen consecutive defeats with seven goals conceded. Chelsea are unbeaten in eight trips to St. Mary’s and have won six away matches in a row. Saints will be without dynamic striker Armando Broja as he faces his parent club.
Saints have been in a slump of late having secured their Premier League status. Between Boxing Day and the end of February, they were outstanding as they won five and drew three in a nine-match streak in the Premier League. They drew at Man Utd, won at Spurs, and ended that fine run of form with consecutive clean sheets, 2-0 at home to Everton and then Norwich.
Four consecutive defeats have followed. They were thrashed 4-0 at Aston Villa before losing 2-1 at home to both Newcastle and Watford. A 4-1 defeat at Wembley came next against Man City despite equalising in that match. Their last outing saw the rot ended somewhat by a 1-1 draw away at Leeds as James Ward-Prowse scored a freekick equaliser.
Southampton Team News
Ralph Hasenhüttl is without striker Armando Broja for this match as he is ineligible to face his parent club. Lyanco is pushing for a return at centre back but Shane Long and Alex McCarthy are major serious doubts.
Adam Armstrong is set to replace Broja and partner Che Adams upfront. Stuart Armstrong is hoping for a return to the starting lineup if a 4-2-2-2 shape is used. Hasenhuttl used a midfield diamond against Leeds with Ibrahima Diallo as an extra central midfielder.
In recent weeks, Saints have looked “on the beach” as the saying goes, with one eye on their summer holidays already. Facing the European Champions is usually a big motivator by itself.
Southampton will fancy their chances having seen Chelsea’s recent defensive displays. A draw would be a decent result and after recent losses, they may play for one from the start.
The Blues lost just four of their first 49 matches this season but have now lost two in a row, both damaging defeats after some terrible defending. Having lost to Man City in January, Chelsea went 14 matches without defeat. Their cup final 0-0 draw with Liverpool (and subsequently losing on penalties) was followed by six wins in a row.
A last-minute winner saw Newcastle beaten 1-0 at home before winning 2-1 away in Lille. Chelsea then won 2-0 at Middlesbrough in the FA Cup to reach the semi-finals. After the international break, a very poor 4-1 home loss to Brentford followed having led 1-0. In midweek, a terrible performance saw a 3-1 first leg home loss to Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg. After falling 3-1 down in the 46th minute, Chelsea had 12 shots to nil but couldn’t pull a goal back.
Chelsea Team News
Thomas Tuchel is expected to play close to his best XI for this match to look to arrest their losing streak. Marcos Alonso could return at left wingback with Cesar Azpilicueta dropping into the back three in place of Andreas Christensen. Mateo Kovacic will surely replace Jorginho in central midfield.
In attack, Christian Pulisic could miss out with Hakim Ziyech coming in. Romelu Lukaku is set to remain amongst the substitutes having missed chances in midweek in a limp, disinterested performance.
The Blues need a reaction. Tuchel said this match is his priority and not the second leg in Madrid. He will set his team up to win this match and consider a draw to be a poor result.
Only once this match is won will he look to take off older, key players ahead of travelling to the Bernabeu.
Southampton have lost 4 of their last 5 matches
Saints were 10 home PL matches unbeaten before 2 losses in their last 2
Southampton have scored in each of their last 12 home PL matches
Chelsea have won 6 of their last 8 matches
CFC have lost once in 14 away matches, winning 6 in a row on the road
Chelsea have lost just 1 of their last 13 away matches vs Southampton (W9, D3)
This match arguably became more difficult for Southampton after Chelsea’s result in midweek. Tuchel may have rested players had his side won the first leg against Real Madrid. Both teams need a reaction to poor recent form. Chelsea should have enough to win this one with Southampton not looking fully focused of late.
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