PREVIEW: Southampton vs Chelsea – 14/04/2018
Southampton vs Chelsea
Venue: St Mary’s Stadium
Referee: Mike Dean
This weekend’s early kick off is the first of a back-to-back tie between Southampton and Chelsea, with both sides meeting in the semi-finals of the FA Cup the following Sunday.
Similar to their arch rivals in London, Chelsea’s hopes of clinching a top four position are looking slim, and with the only chance of silverware coming in the form of the FA Cup, the Blues may consider resting key players and providing game time for the slightly less experienced personnel in the squad. Southampton can not be complacent however, as even with Arsenal making seven changes to their squad for the tie against the Saints, three points made their way to the Londoners.
Southampton’s statistics do not swing their way for the fixture, failing to win against a top six side since the start of the 2016-17 season. The Saints’ last victory against Chelsea was in March 2013, when Jay Rodriguez and Rickie Lambert were both on the scoresheet in a 2-1 win.
It’s not all doom and gloom for the Saints as this game presents Mark Hughes with an opportunity to become only the third manager to beat Chelsea with four different clubs. (Previously with Blackburn, Manchester City and Stoke)
With Mario Lemina back in the squad, Southampton are with a full strength team, barring Jack Stephens, following his suspension against Arsenal. Steven Davis is still recovering from an Achilles problem and is doubtful to make an appearance against Antonio Conte’s side.Embed from Getty Images
The young Englishman, Ross Barkley, is back in full training and is available for the game. Barkley being available means that David Luiz and Ethan Ampadu are the only players unable to play this weekend, with long term knee and ankle injuries, respectively.
Predicted Starting XI’s
(4-2-3-1) McCarthy, Soares, Yoshida, Hoedt, Bertrand, Lemina, Hojbjerg, Tadic, Redmond, Long, Austin.
(4-3-3) Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Rudiger, Moses, Fabregas, Kante, Alonso, Pedro, Willian, Giroud.
Prediction: Southampton 2 Chelsea 1
With Southampton confident with their performance last weekend and Antonio Conte’s men focusing on silverware, a result for Southampton is long overdue.
Written by Niall Henry.
20. Loughborough University student with a big passion of playing and writing for the beautiful game.