Two German managers go head to head!
Chelsea visit Southampton for MW 25 of the Premier League season. Southampton sit 13th in the table having lost their last 6 games in the league. The FA Cup has provided some respite for the team in between these losses but none of those wins have come in the league. This run also included a 9-0 loss to Manchester United which would have been particularly traumatising for Hassenhutl. Southampton started the season well and at one point were challenging the top four but this shows how quickly things can change.
Chelsea go into this game sitting 4th in the table level on points but ahead of West Ham while being 4 points behind Leicester and United. With the teams in the top 5 facing some tough tests this weekend Chelsea have an opportunity to gain ground especially with some tough fixtures coming up for the Blues themselves. Tuchel has done well in recent weeks but the one thing that remains for me is that we aren’t clinical enough in front of goal. We are winning games but we haven’t been free flowing in front of goal yet. The goal for Werner can hopefully spur him on to score many more during the 2nd half of the season and that will be massive in deciding where we end up but the rest have to start scoring as well. Keeping clean sheets is great but we now have to maximise our potential up front as well. Southampton are slightly more open than the opposition we have faced in recent weeks but games against Atletico and Manchester United are once again against two well drilled defensive teams. Converting possession into chances and goals is the next step for Tuchel and the players.
Chelsea Team Preview
Chelsea will be without Thiago Silva who misses this game while Pulisic is also out. Tammy Abraham has returned to training but he might not start. Havertz, is back and should be able to play which is a good thing. Mendy will return to goal and with Atletico on the horizon I expect us to switch to a back four for this game. There is no need to tire out all 3 of our CB’s and it might be good to rest a couple. Reece James and Chilwell should start as the full backs with Christensen and Zouma as the centre backs. Jorginho, and Kovacic should continue in the pivot with Hudson-Odoi, Mount and Ziyech up front behind Werner. The likes of Havertz should make an appearance from the bench. Havertz could start up front with Werner in a 4-4-2 but I doubt it. Kovacic, or Jorginho could also be rested in with Mount playing deeper.
Southampton Team Preview
Southampton have some key players back but Walker-Peters is once again out with an injury. Bertrand is a threat from the left back position while Ward-Prowse can punish anyone if given a chance. Minamino has been added to Southampton’s ranks and he has done well in his first few games while Ings is back in the lineup as well. Redmond is also a threat up front. I expect Southampton to sit back and counter with them not having their strongest possible lineup. There might be some pressing but the brunt of the responsibility will be on Ings shoulders.
Starting XI Prediction
Southampton have to be taken seriously and Chelsea will have to learn from the reverse fixture in which Southampton came back form 2-0 down to draw the game 2-2. Similar mistakes cannot be made. One game at a time and Chelsea need to continue the way we are playing but just be more clinical. A big game and an early kick-off on Saturday can set up a good weekend for Chelsea if we get the win. COME ON CHELSEA!!!