Having suffered yet another disappointing defeat in midweek, Chelsea will be desperate to return to winning ways when they host Southampton at Stamford Bridge. The Saints may not have impressed in the early exchanges, but they head into the match on the back of comfortable wins over MK Dons and Swansea.
This season is quickly turning from bad to worse for the reigning Premier League champions, who cannot seem to rediscover the form that served them so well last term. Manager Jose Mourinho has got to take the blame for the fact that almost all of his key men are struggling at the moment, with back to back setbacks against Newcastle United and Porto creating additional problems for the Special One. With both Loic Remy and Radamel Falcao far from the desired form, Diego Costa is being sorely missed in Premier League fixtures, whereas the back line continues to commit cheap mistakes that have seen them concede four goals in last two games. It looks as though the time has come for Mourinho to relegate Branislav Ivanovic to the bench considering that the Serbian defender has been one of Chelsea’s worst performers this term and at fault for quite a few conceded goals. This team obviously have got a lot more potential than they are showing and will probably come good eventually, but given the circumstances, things are not looking too good ahead of the Southampton clash. Diego Costa continues to serve a three-match suspension for the hosts, whilst Thibaut Courtois is the only player in the infirmary.
Southampton have nobody else to blame for the run of several very successful seasons that seriously raised expectations at St Mary’s. This means that not too many fans are satisfied with the start to the new season that saw Saints take nine points from seven games, climbing or dropping, whichever you prefer, to 10th place in the overall standings. The reality is that Southampton are better positioned than their next opponents and certainly under less pressure than Chelsea are at the moment. And it has not all been doom and gloom for the Saints, as they have shown a lot of improvement after the poor start. While suffering a narrow loss to current leaders Manchester United, Ronald Koeman’s charges recorded comfortable wins over Norwich and Swansea at home, while bringing one point from the Hawthorns. And having also hammered MK Dons in the League Cup, they have plenty of reason for optimism ahead of the trip to Stamford Bridge. The return of summer recruit Jordy Clasie is another welcoming boost, whereas Ryan Bertrand is ready to face his former club having proved his fitness after recovering from injury.
With the back line all over the place at the moment and the only somewhat in-form player in the squad Diego Costa missing, we have reason to doubt that Chelsea will return to the right track this weekend. Southampton have been raising their form of late and we are backing them to pile more misery on the Blues.
Verdict: Southampton not to lose
Best Odds: 1/1