Next Wednesday, January 1, 2014 (7:00 AM Pacific), Chelsea will travel to St. Mary’s Stadium to face Southampton, one of the most interesting teams playing in the English Premier League so far this season. The festive period has been slightly different for both teams. Chelsea grabbed two home wins and an away draw at Arsenal, while Southampton only managed to win one of the three matches they played. Their good performance against Cardiff followed a painful home defeat at the hands of Tottenham, but the team succumbed again at Goodison Park against an inspired Everton last weekend.
Mauricio Pochettino has been enjoying some good moments at the helm of the Saints this term. The team might be losing some of the power they showed earlier in the season, but they are still a very strong team especially when playing at home, where they have only lost twice so far (curiously with the same result – 2-3 – against Aston Villa and Tottenham). The Argentinian head coach, who is seen as a Marcelo Bielsa’s disciple, has reinvented Southampton’s football since his arrival. He implemented a high and fierce pressing style that attempts to “kill” the opponents’ game build up, while the ball is still at their defensive line, which is something not seen very often in the English Premier League.
The Saints’ manager will not be able to count on two important players for next Wednesday’s match against Chelsea. Artur Boruc is facing a long term stoppage after suffering a fractured hand at Stamford Bridge earlier this month and Dani Osvaldo picked up an illness recently and it is still not certain when he will come back.
As for Chelsea, the London team is enjoying a very positive moment. After grabbing seven points over the last three matches, José Mourinho’s boys must face this difficult challenge with some optimism. Last weekend’s win and a quality performance against Liverpool might have given the team the confidence they needed to overcome a recently unstable Southampton. However, despite the latest good results, Chelsea’s performances away from home so far this season are far from being impressive and their latest travel to St. Mary’s Stadium ended up in a 2-1 defeat.
José Mourinho will have some headaches to set up his team for next Wednesday’s match. David Luiz is suspended, while Branislav Ivanovic and Frank Lampard will surely miss the match due to injury.
Southampton vs Chelsea Prediction
Both teams have met earlier this month at Stamford Bridge and the Blues claimed the three points despite Jay Rodriguez’s early goal. However, this time, things might be different with Southampton wanting to bounce back from their less impressive recent form. That being said, the most likely outcome is a 1-1 draw.
Southampton vs Chelsea Television
The match will be televised on NBC Sports Network on New Years Day at 7:00 AM Pacific.