Happy Friday to Chelsea fans across the world! We are finally back in action after a rather long international break as Chelsea prepare to host Southampton at Stamford Bridge tomorrow. Chelsea come into this fixture after a very convincing 4-0 win over Crystal Palace before the International break which gave fans a taste of things to come as Ben Chilwell made his full debut for the Blues. The Saints also come into this fixture with a 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion at home and they will be looking to get another win over the Blues as they did last season. However, a lot has changed since then and this game will indeed be a massive challenge for the saints. Ralph Hasenhüttl’s men will have their work cut out this Saturday as they will be facing a much more improved Chelsea team compared to what they faced last winter.
Tomorrow’s game may see a familiar face return back to the line up along with one who is yet to make his debut for the first team. Christian Pulisic is fit and ready for what might be his first start this season. The American winger came off the bench in the dying minutes of the game against Crystal Palace and he might be ready to join his new team mates Kai Havertz, Ben Chilwell and Timo Werner in the starting XI on Saturday. Saturday’s game will hopefully mark the debut of Moroccan playmaker Hakim Ziyech, who was sidelined with a knee injury for more than a month back in a friendly away at Brighton. The forward came off the bench for an assist vs Senegal during the international break and sources have reported that he is looking as sharp as ever in training. Reports from The Athletic have stated that Ziyech is set to make his debut for Chelsea this weekend, but whether it’s off the bench or from the start is yet to be known.
Ones to Watch! – Southampton
The former Liverpool striker and 2019/20 Golden boot runner up will be one of the biggest threats to the Chelsea defence. One of the most clinical strikers in the premier league, Danny Ings has started his campaign well with 3 goals from his 4 games. Playing upfront with his partner Che Adams, Ings will look to exploit the gaps in Chelsea’s midfield and defence on the break. Chelsea’s defence will need to close down Danny Ings if they are to have any chance of securing a result versus the Saints on Saturday.
Kyle Walker Peters
Another threat for Chelsea comes in the form of right back, Kyle Walker Peters. The 23 year old Full back has had a great start to life on loan from Tottenham Hotspur as he has picked up two assists in his four starts for the Saints. The fullback boasts a very deadly cross from the right flank and is one of the quickest members of the Southampton squad. A key to success for Chelsea will be to limit space on the flanks for Walker Peters in transition and also to prevent him from delivering crosses for one of the two strikers to pounce on in the final third.
Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic are expected to be part of the squad. While Pulisic will most likely start vs Southampton on Saturday, there’s no clarity on whether Hakim Ziyech will start or come off the bench for now. He is also expected to make his debut for Chelsea. Ben Chilwell who was sick last week also trained with squad this week. He was recalled early from National duty and as per reports will be available for selection. Goalkeeper Edouard Mendy’s fitness is doubtful as he picked up a thigh injury on International duty last week. However, the Keeper is expected to be fit for the Champions league game vs Sevilla in midweek.
Stuart Armstrong wont be making the trip to Stamford Bridge as he was diagonised with COVID – 19. The team at All Thing Chelsea would like to wish the midfielder a speedy recovery. New signing Mohammed Salisu is still not fit and the defender is not expected to feature for the saints this weekend. Moussa Djenepo is out with a thigh injury.
I predict Chelsea to win 3-0 over Southampton. The team has started to play well together and this was evident during the game against Crystal Palace. I expect the inclusions of Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech add more flair and threat to the Southampton defence. I am certain that our backline will be able to contain the threat of Danny Ings and Che Adams on Saturday and this is why I am confident Frank Lampard’s men will win and keep a clean sheet against a good Southampton attack.
Chelsea vs Southampton
Time – 3 PM BST
Referee – Robert Jones