Chelsea faces Southampton in the English Premier League on Saturday at Stamford Bridge. The Blues are in dire poor with just one win in nine matches in all competitions. They face a Saints side who just fired coach Nathan Jones and who have lost 15 of their 22 league matches this season. Can Graham Potter get a rare win against the club for whom he played in the Premier League?
The Blues are in dire form in terms of results. The last nine fixtures across three competitions have seen four losses and four draws, with the only win being a 1-0 victory vs Crystal Palace. A 2-1 loss at Fulham with ten men made it three defeats on the bounce. A slight improvement came after that as they went four matches without defeat, starting with the win vs Palace.
Two 0-0 draws followed, at Liverpool and at home to Fulham. Chelsea then drew 1-1 at West Ham having led 1-0 but could only put up 0.15 xG in a stale second-half display. In midweek, they lost 1-0 at Dortmund after a goal on the counter-attack. Chelsea had all seven shots in the match after going 1-0 down and put up 1.76 xG in the second half.
Chelsea Team News
In defence, Benoit Badiashile will start after being ineligible for the Champions League. Noni Madueke, David Datro Fofana, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are also all available again and could be involved. Raheem Sterling is doubtful in attack and both Christian Pulisic and Armando Broja are injured.
N’Golo Kante is injured in midfield but Denis Zakaria and Mateo Kovacic are available. Wesley Fofana is also fit again at centre back but he is not expected to start.
Anything less than three points against the bottom-placed club would be unacceptable. Chelsea must attack and win convincingly in this match to show that Graham Potter is making progress.
Even a draw here would see pressure and dissenting voices ramp up. The coach will have to throw on extra attackers if his side are trailing or not leading in the second half.
Saints have had a truly awful season. On the road, they’ve lost eight of 11 matches with just eight goals scored. They have the league’s second-worst overall defensive record with 40 goals conceded and have lost 15 of their 22 fixtures. They briefly threatened a resurgence in January as they won 2-1 at Crystal Palace in the FA Cup, beat Man City 2-0 in the Carabao Cup, and then won 2-1 at Everton in the league.
However, since that win, they’ve lost all three Premier League fixtures as well as home and away to Newcastle in the Carabao cup semi-finals. They were beaten 1-0 at home by Aston Villa (just 0.58 xG created), 3-0 at Brentford (2.15 xG conceded), and then came their rock-bottom: they led 1-0 vs Wolves at home last time out vs ten men. Two goals conceded in the last 20 minutes saw them lose despite a man advantage, leading to the sacking of coach Nathan Jones.
Southampton Team News
Right back Kyle Walker-Peters is nearing a return from injury and could make the squad. Tino Livramento continues to miss out with wrath of injury problems, though. Nathan Jones was making some baffling decisions towards the end of his reign. Jan Bednarek was selected ahead of the frozen-out duo, Duje Caleta-Car, and Armel Bella-Kotchap in the last match with Ainsley Maitland-Niles bizarrely used on the right of the back three.
Interim boss Ruben Selles could bring both summer signings back into the XI in defence. January arrival Mislav Orsic had been playing for the B team and could come back into the squad, too. Other transfer window additions are expected to start in Nigerian target man Paul Onuachu and Ghanian winger Kamaldeen Sulemana.
Southampton are four points from safety but would bite your hand off for a point at Stamford Bridge. Caretaker coach Selles could play very defensively and look for a draw from the first whistle, or see this as a ‘free hit’ and try to win.
The team selection will tell us a lot; if it’s a back five or a back three and how many destructive midfielders are selected.
Chelsea have won 1 of their last 9 matches in all competitions (L4, D4)
CFC have failed to score in 8 of their last 13 matches (all comps)
Chelsea have won just 1 of their last 5 home matches vs Southampton (DWDLD)
Southampton have lost 8 of their 11 away EPL matches
Saints have conceded 40 goals in 22 matches (2nd worst defensive record in the EPL)
Southampton have lost 15 of their 22 league matches
Chelsea are in a real rut in terms of results and this looks like the perfect chance to get back to winning ways. The fixture got harder after Saints changed coach and some good defenders could come back into the XI after bizarrely being sidelined of late. The Blues should win but extracting value won’t be easy.