After an outstanding team performance against Tottenham, where Chelsea completely outplayed their London rivals, a very different test in the form of Southampton await them on Boxing Day. Against teams who come to the Bridge with a low block, the Blues have struggled to convert their chances. The chance creation has been relatively good with a total of 8 big chances created against West Ham and Bournemouth, but the conversion rate has been poor, which resulted in two losses. Chelsea will need to up their game in order to take the three points from this festive fixture.
Southampton will present a different challenge to Spurs, and with in form striker Danny Ings, they have a significant goal threat that Lampard’s side will need to be wary of. They’ll likely set up with a lot of men behind the ball so the 2v1 scenarios out wide that cost Spurs dearly on Sunday, will be less of an outlet for Chelsea. It remains to be seen whether Lampard will stick with the 3-4-3 system which helped to demolish Spurs at their new ground or return to the more commonly used 4-2-3-1.
Only Ruben Loftus-Cheek remains out with his long term Achilles problem, while the rest of the squad is fit and available. Mateo Kovacic is suspended for this game, after picking up his 5th yellow card of the season at the weekend, but will be back for the game against Arsenal.
A bad run of form left Chelsea’s gap between themselves and 5th place significantly closer than it had been. But after a win against Spurs, the opened up a 6 point gap over their London rivals and are 4 points clear of 5th place Sheffield United. A win against Southampton is important to keep the gap at a healthy distance going into the game at the Emirates.
Thursday 26th December
Chelsea vs Southampton
Kick off: 15:00 UK time