Southampton vs Chelsea: Match prediction | Premier League Predictions and more
Chelsea are set to rub shoulders with Southampton at St. Mary's on Sunday. With two wins and a defeat against Liverpool that had a lot of positives to absorb, the Blues have begun to find their rhythm under new boss Frank Lampard.
They're now on a run of three consecutive wins, and three points against the hosts on Sunday could lift the entire mood at Cobham ahead of the international break.
They're, however, up against a side that packs the channels and forces teams to try innovative ideas by suffocating them in Southampton. They narrowly lost out to Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool - ending up on the wrong side of a 2-1 result, but snatched a point against Manchester United.
The Saints have not been the luckiest in terms of their fixtures, but Ralph Hasenhuttl has definitely propelled them into playing end-to-end, fast-paced football.
They could enjoy a few promising spells against Chelsea, who have kept just the solitary clean sheet in all competitions this term. With Danny Ings slated to lead the line, Southampton have in them a menacing forward who works his socks off, fights for the loose ball always and scores goals.
The Blues have to be vary of his aerial threat, along with the counter-attacking productivity of Nathan Redmond.
As for Chelsea, Tammy Abraham remains the torch-bearer and shoulders most of the goal-scoring burden. He's already got eight this season, but he'd be licking his lips against Southampton ahead of England duty.
Lampard could tinker with his line-up a little bit and maybe revert to a traditional 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3. It'll be interesting to see if Cesar Azpilicueta, who completed more successful passes than any other player in the 2-1 victory over Lille, keeps his place at right-back.
Callum Hudson-Odoi is another one gunning for a spot in the starting XI, but we expect the Chelsea boss to stick with Mason Mount and Willian or Pedro upfront.
It's sure to be an entertaining contest, with Southampton subject to conceding the ball cheaply in their own half owing to the Chelsea press. The Blues, however, have a task on their hands in the defensive aspects, but a couple of goals should see them over the line.
Predicted score: Southampton 1-2 Chelsea