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Chelsea are looking increasingly strong under Thomas Tuchel and since a draw with Wolves in his first game in charge, the Blues have since won each of their five outings across all competitions.
They’ve conceded just one goal across the six appearances in total, and even that was an own goal versus Sheffield Utd as Antonio Rudiger and Edouard Mendy suffered an awful mix up, rather than the Blades engineering the chance themselves.
With that in mind, it’s surprising that the visitors aren’t at a shorter price to take the spoils here. Southampton have lost five of six matches since late January, including five straight league losses, most memorably going down 9-0 at Old Trafford.
That was of course the second time they’d lost by that scoreline under Ralph Hasenhuttl, after suffering the same fate against Leicester last term.
Southampton’s defence has been especially porous of late and not just in that drubbing against Man Utd. They’ve shipped at least two goals in four of those recent six outings, and worryingly for the hosts, Chelsea have bagged a minimum of three strikes in each of their past three trips to St. Mary’s.
Although Chelsea have been racking up the clean sheets, with a switch to a back three shoring them up in that department, we wouldn’t be quite so confident of that here.
Chelsea To Beat Southampton
Looking at their opponents under Tuchel so far, there are some mitigating circumstances. Wolves have struggled for output in the absence of star striker Raul Jimenez, Newcastle were without top scorer Callum Wilson, while Burnley and Sheffield Utd are the league’s lowest scorers.
Their other two encounters under current management saw them take on a Tottenham side that tend to shut up shop in the big games under Jose Mourinho, as they also faced Championship club Barnsley in the FA Cup.
Southampton have only failed to score in two of their past eight fixtures, registering six goals across their last three, while they possess a clear goal threat in the shape of Danny Ings.
These two sides played out a 3-3 draw at Stamford Bridge in October, with Ings, fellow striker Che Adams and set-piece threat Jannik Vestergaard on the scoresheet that day.
Still, the Saints have trailed at both half-time and full-time in each of their past four against top-half opponents, registering just one goal across those games, so the away win makes total sense here.
That view is further reinforced by the team news, with Hasenhuttl dealing with a greater number of absentees as he’s without first-choice duo Theo Walcott and Kyle Walker-Peter, as well as a few bit-part players.
For Chelsea, the continued absence of key centre-back Thiago Silva also puts us off the clean sheet here, though Tuchel’s only other injury concerns are Kai Havertz and Tammy Abraham, neither of whom would likely make the first team at the moment.
Mason Mount deserves to be higher in the pecking order than the expensive German given his form this term, while Abraham’s competition – fellow strikers Olivier Giroud and Timo Werner – were both on the scoresheet last time out.
Werner forced the danger for the French veteran’s opener and showed good movement throughout, receiving a confidence-boosting goal even if it came under scrappy circumstances.