Global Sports : Chelsea V Southampton Preview

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Chelsea will be looking to put their Champions League heartache to the backs of their minds when they take on Southampton in the live Super Sunday clash.
It all looked so promising for the Blues on Wednesday night when they were 2-1 to the good on aggregate against 10 men, but David Luiz and his Paris Saint-Germain team-mates had other ideas.
Domestically, the Blues hold a five-point lead at the top of the table with one game in hand, and Jose Mourinho’s men are firm favourites to wrestle the title away from the Manchester stronghold.
However, should Manchester City secure all three points against Burnley on Saturday, and Southampton capitalise on a more vulnerable Chelsea on Sunday, the gap at the top would be cut to just two points.
Saints’ season has been derailed somewhat by a lack of goals in recent months, with just one solitary Sadio Mane strike to their name in their last six outings.
However, with the best defensive record in the league, Saints will fancy their chances against the Blues, and could put a severe dent into Mourinho’s title hopes.
Team news
Chelsea boss Mourinho insists “everyone wants to play” and has Nemanja Matic available for domestic duty after a two-match suspension was served prior to Wednesday’s European exit.
John Obi Mikel (knee) is the only definite injury absentee for the contest.
Toby Alderweireld is set to make his first appearance in nine weeks for Southampton.
The Belgium defender has been out since picking up a hamstring complaint at Manchester United on January 11 and after been an unused substitute last time out, is likely to start at Stamford Bridge.
Jay Rodriguez (knee) and Emmanuel Mayuka (groin) remain absent, but Ronald Koeman has no fresh injury concerns.
Opta facts
Chelsea have lost just one of their last 11 Barclays Premier League games against Southampton (W6 D4 L1).
Shane Long has scored in two of his three Premier League appearances at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea are the only team in the four divisions of English football who have not lost a home match in the league this season.
Chelsea are the only team in the Premier League to recover anything from a game where Southampton have taken the lead this season.
Sadio Mané has scored in five of his last seven Premier League starts.
Southampton are the only team not to concede a penalty in the Premier League this season.
Merson’s prediction
I think Chelsea will bounce back from the PSG game. It’s a tough game for Southampton, who have done great this season. Diego Costa is definitely due a goal – he hasn’t scored in seven games. He didn’t score a single goal in the Champions League. That is unbelievable as it wasn’t the hardest group in the world.
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-0
Betting
Chelsea are 4/7 to return to winning form, Southampton are 5/1 and a draw is on offer at 14/5. Despite their disappointing European display, the Blues remain 1/7 clear favourites for the Premier League, but Southampton’s top-four hopes have suffered of late and they’re 8/1 outsiders to finish in the Champions League spots. Shane Long is 9/2 to continue his fine scoring record at the Bridge, but Diego Costa heads the first-goal market at 11/4.

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