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Prediction: Southampton vs Chelsea


Verdict: Both teams to score – No

Best Odds: 21/20

Bookmaker: William Hill

Southampton extended the bright run of results by securing their place in the English Football League Cup quarter-finals, and they are now looking to prove their worth when facing in-form Chelsea. The Blues were eliminated from said competition, but they are now searching for fourth consecutive Premier League triumph.

Southampton

As expected, it took new manager Claude Puel a while to rebuild the squad following some key departures, but the Saints did really well to get their season back on track after the slow start. The French tactician decided to accommodate his most creative player Dusan Tadic by using him as the tip of the diamond in his 4-4-2 formation, while Nathan Redmond and revived Charlie Austin now form a very good attacking partnership. At the same time, the Saints have been quite impressive at the back, keeping six straight clean sheets after the 2-1 loss to Arsenal, which is enough to suggest the former Lyon head coach has quickly found the perfect balance in the side. Southampton’s excellent run of results came to an end some ten days ago as they were beaten by Inter Milan in Europa League, but the team quickly returned to the right track. Southampton produced another very good showing to hold Manchester City to a 1-1 draw at the Etihad Stadium, before their second-string side piled more misery on Sunderland by defeating them in the EFL Cup last 16 stage. The game against Chelsea should now serve as a perfect test to the team’s ambitions and it remains to be seen whether they can pass it with flying colours.

Team News

Summer recruit Sofiane Boufal proved his fitness by scoring in midweek, but Jay Rodriguez lasted less than half an hour before suffering another setback.

The likes of Dusan Tadic, Charlie Austin and Virgil van Dijk will be recalled, but Cedric Soares, Ryan Bertrand, Shane Long and Jeremy Pied remain in the infirmary.

Chelsea

Despite arriving at Stamford Bridge as a real expert for three-man defence, Antonio Conte was at first hesitant about changing Chelsea’s standard style of play and that ended up costing him in some games. However, as the performances started dropping, the Italian tactician decided to shake things up and he appears to have found a system that really works for his players. It was the new 3-4-3 formation that helped the Blues return to the right track, with comfortable triumphs over Hull City (2-0), Leicester City (3-0) and Manchester United (4-0) doing wonders for the dressing room atmosphere. As expected, Conte then decided to rest his star men in the EFL Cup clash with West Ham, and even though he certainly wasn’t happy to see his side eliminated from the competition, the result is unlikely to have any effect on team’s future showings. Having climbed to within one point of Premier League leaders Manchester City, Chelsea are determined to keep the excellent league run going, although it will not be easy for them to break one of league’s strongest defences. However, having won three of six away matches this season, the Blues have reason for optimism ahead of the trip to St Mary’s.

Team News

Having returned into action in midweek, John Terry should keep his place in the side, with Cesar Azpilicueta expected to make way.

A number of regular starters will be recalled, including Eden Hazard, Nemanja Matic, Diego Costa, Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Chelsea did not concede in last three Premiership fixtures
  • Saints conceded 2 goals in last 5 league matches
  • Chelsea won two of last three games at St Mary’s
  • Both teams scored in 10 of their last 11 meetings
  • Diego Costa has 7 goals in 9 Premier League outings this season

Conclusion

Even though their past meetings have produced quite a few goals, we don’t think the trend is going to continue. Southampton have been thoroughly impressive at the back this season, while Antonio Conte has patched up his leaky defence as well, meaning we don’t expect too many goals at St Mary’s.

Verdict: Both teams to score – No

Best Odds: 21/20

Bookmaker: William Hill

Fri 28 Oct, 2016
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