Sunday’s trip to Southampton will be our toughest challenge since manager Antonio Conte has switched to 3-4-3 formation.
Our results and performances have certainly improved since the tactical switch and another three points on Sunday will put us just one point behind the top three teams – Man City, Arsenal and Liverpool.
Following a run of three games without a win, we have managed three wins on the trot. In the process, we have scored nine goals while conceding none.
Last weekend, the 4-0 win over Man Utd was clearly our most impressive result of the season, and it certainly helped answer the critics that had written us off following that forgettable defeat to Arsenal.
A victory against the Saints will not only put us right on the heels of the top three but will also put a sizeable difference of seven points between United and us.
However, it’s not going to be that easy for us at the St. Mary’s Stadium. In the last eight league meetings between the two sides, we have managed to pick up three points on only three occasions while the Saints have picked up two wins.
Last season, they defeated us 3-1 at Stamford Bridge, but we managed a 2-1 win at St. Mary’s.
Claude Puel’s side are also on a great run at the moment and are currently unbeaten in six games.
Conte will obviously make a number of changes to the team that lost to West Ham in the midweek League Cup clash. However, I expect him to stick with pretty much the same squad that demolished Man Utd during last weekend.
Cesc Fabregas will miss the game with a thigh injury. Kurt Zouma made his long-awaited return for the U23 side on Monday earlier this week, but I don’t expect to see him in action for the senior team before the international break.
Predicted Lineup: Courtois; Cahill, David Luiz, Azpilicueta; Alonso, Matic, Kante, Moses; Hazard, Costa, Pedro
The Saints have established themselves as a top-half team in recent years, and I am backing them to challenge for European places once again this season. However, we are on a good run at the moment, and I think we have enough quality in our team to dispose of the hosts on Sunday.
Chelsea’s odds of beating Southampton is very high considering the Blues’ recent form. I am going for a hard-fought 2-1 away win in this game with Diego Costa to score for us.
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