Chelsea vs Saints: Preview

By SFC Media Sat 30 Nov Club

Saints travel to Stamford Bridge on Sunday aiming to go above the Blues in the Barclays Premier League, kick-off 4.10pm.

Last weekend’s defeat to league leaders Arsenal was Southampton’s first loss in nine top-flight matches as you have to go back to the end of August for the only other time Saints have been beaten in the league this season.

‘If you can’t win then you mustn’t lose’ has been the mantra of manager Mauricio Pochettino and is something he has applied to the previous away matches at Stoke and Manchester United which ended in stalemates.

A trip to the scene of one of last season’s great comebacks is therefore, a timely reminder of what Saints can achieve this weekend as they go in search for a first win on the road since a 1-0 victory at Anfield in September.

It finished 2-2 in West London just days before Pochettino’s arrival at St Mary’s, and the Argentine will be looking forward to the prospect of lining up against an old adversary in José Mourinho, a man he knows well from their time together in Spanish football.

Despite conceding twice at Arsenal last Saturday, Saints have maintained the best defensive record in the Premier League after 12 games played. Only seven goals have been conceded so far, with six clean sheets also recorded.

A second trip to the capital in the space of a week offers Saints the chance to improve their current standing of fifth in the table. There just four points between Liverpool in second place and Tottenham in ninth, with only goal difference separating Saints with Manchester City in fourth.

Chelsea lie third, just two points above Saints, and were 3-0 winners at West Ham United last weekend thanks to goals from Oscar and a brace by Frank Lampard against his former club.

Like Saints, the Blues are unbeaten in the league on home soil so far this season, winning five and drawing one of their six matches. They have scored 14 times and conceded five times at Stamford Bridge in the league. In two spells under manager José Mourinho, Chelsea are unbeaten in an astonishing 66 league matches at home, though they came close to losing that record against West Bromwich Albion earlier this month, as they struck a controversial late penalty to level the game up.

On Tuesday, the Blues travelled to Switzerland for a Champions League Group game against FC Basel which they lost 1-0, and the defeat was compounded by the loss of striker Samuel Eto’o, who was carried off in that game.

On the connections front, Saints midfielder Jack Cork is formerly of Chelsea, but never made a top-flight appearance with the Blues.

Team News

Guly do Prado remains out with a knee injury, but Jack Cork has returned from an ankle knock.

Gaston Ramirez has trained after missing last weekend's defeat at Arsenal. Dejan Lovren has returned from illness, whilst Luke Shaw recovered from a dead leg suffered in the defeat at Arsenal.

Samuel Eto’o was carried off on a stretcher in Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat to Basel and is ruled out of Sunday’s match. 

Defender David Luiz is also missing for the Blues.

Pre-match quotes

Mauricio Pochettino:

“It is amazing what he (Mourinho) has done at Stamford Bridge. Full praise to him because what he has done across both stints at Chelsea has been great. We will go there trying to break that statistic and break that record.

“Chelsea are always Chelsea – they have amazing players and an amazing manager. We know that they have lost very few games at Stamford Bridge and that their record there is amazing, so we are fully aware that we are going to be facing a very tough side. It will be a tough game but we go there with the right mentality.”

José Mourinho:

“Mauricio started his good work with them last season. He's a very good manager. He had the possibility to buy players and adapt them to his needs, and when you finish your first season you are much better prepared to understand the needs and profile of your team.

“The team is very compact and very solid. Can they finish in the top four? It will be difficult, as it will be difficult for the six title contenders to finish in the top four. But for sure the team is very good and they will have a very good season.

“It will be a difficult match for us, but, normally, it will be even more difficult for them.”

Previous Meetings

Saints and Chelsea met three times last season, twice in the league and once in the FA Cup. Saints took four points off the Blues in the two meetings after Christmas that began with a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge after recovering a two-goal deficit in West London.

In the return fixture, the hosts were 2-1 winners over Chelsea thanks to goals from Jay Rodriguez and Rickie Lambert that came either side of John Terry’s headed equaliser.

We met in January, with the FA Cup holders getting the defence of their trophy off to a flying start with a 5-1 win over Saints. Jay Rodriguez put the hosts in front before the Blues hit back with efforts that included a brace of strikes for debutant Demba Ba.

Saints’ 2-1 win over Chelsea in March was their first over the Blues at St Mary’s with the last home success prior to that, coming in 2000 when James Beattie’s double sandwiched a Jo Tessem strike in a 3-2 success.

Our last win at the Bridge came in 2002 with a 4-2 success in West London.

Overall the two teams have played one-another on 89 occasions in league and cup. 36 of those have gone the way of the Blues, 27 have resulted in Saints wins and 26 in draws.

Match Information

Michael Oliver will referee Sunday’s game, and he will be assisted by Mr S Long and Mr D Eaton. Martin Atkinson is the fourth official.

Online Coverage

As with every First Team game, we'll be providing minute-by-minute coverage throughout the day on our official Twitter feed plus goal updates on our official Facebook page.

You can listen to live commentary courtesy of BBC Solent on Saints Player, where you can keep up to date with all the stats and scores from around the country.

Mauricio Pochettino and Dejan Lovren spoke to Saints Player ahead of the game, and you can watch their interviews and press conferences in full on our video channel.

After the match there will be plenty more content on saintsfc.co.uk and Saints Player, so stay tuned!

And if you’re coming to the game, don’t forget to take your smartphones and join in with #MarchingIn on our social media channels. Tweet us @SouthamptonFC or comment on our official Facebook page and upload images onto Instagram with the #MarchingIn for a chance to appear in our Matchday Magazine for the visit of Manchester City.

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