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Chelsea would have both relished and rued the timing of international break. They had just picked up a convincing 4-0 win over a tricky Crystal Palace side who had only conceded that many to Liverpool and Spurs in their 93 games prior to that match.
The silver lining to the break was it gave time for the likes of Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech to get back to full fitness, and this weekend could be the first time we see those two take the field with Timo Werner and Kai Havertz, though we’d be surprised if that happens from the off.
Saints sit just a point behind the Blues and have won back to back matches, though admittedly those came against Burnley and West Brom who have just the solitary point between them.
Frank Lampard’s side will have the majority of the ball in this game, though whether they can break their opposition down is the question.
They didn’t in this fixture last season in which Ralph Hasenhuttle’s men ran out 2-0 winners, while they also earned themselves a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge the season before so this is far from a foregone conclusion.
Only Norwich had a worse home record than the Saints last season, though on the road it was a completely different story as they would have finished third in a table based solely on away results. That should alert the Blues, who fell victims of that record last season having run out 4-1 winners at St Mary’s and on that basis we’ll leave the winner market alone here.
Chelsea 2nd Half Result
One element of Chelsea’s season so far that has gone slightly under the radar is how dominant they have been after half time.
Indeed, 90% of their goals this season have come in the second half including each of their last nine since Jorginho’s penalty against Brighton on the opening weekend.
Unsurprisingly, they’ve won three of their four second halves this year with the exception coming against Liverpool when Andreas Christensen was sent packing just before the break.
Southampton have scored just two second half goals this year, winning one of four which came in their last game against lowly West Brom, so the hosts seem well placed to take the second half.
Christian Pulisic To Score Anytime
Having come off the bench in Chelsea’s last outing against Crystal Palace, Pulisic has had a full two weeks to get himself up to full fitness and get his first start of the vampagin this weekend.
The American has 19 starts in a blue shirt, netting nine times in total as he was Lampard’s danger man at the back end of last season, so at a long price he looks worth getting behind to hit the ground running after his break.