Date: 20 February, 2021
Time: 6:00 PM IST
Venue: St. Mary’s Stadium
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A struggling Southampton side will welcome a well-settled and in-form Chelsea at St. Mary’s Stadium in a crucial Premier League encounter on Saturday. Both the sides have had completely contrasting fortunes in recent times. While the hosts have lost their last 5 matches in the league, the visitors come into this contest with an impressive unbeaten record (5 wins, 1 draw) under their new manager Thomas Tuchel in all competitions.
The hosts will be without their full-back Kyle Walker-Peters, who suffered an injury against Wolves in their previous match. Jack Stephens is expected to replace him in the starting line-up. Meanwhile, Theo Walcott, Michael Obafemi, William Smallbone and Ibrahima Diallo are also ruled out of this contest. Alexandre Jankewitz will also return from his suspension.
The visitors will be without their young striker Tammy Abraham, who has been ruled out due to an ankle injury. Veteran Olivier Giroud is expected to start alongside Timo Werner in Chelsea’s attack. Meanwhile, Thiago Silva and Kai Havertz have also recovered from their respective injuries but are most likely to start from bench.
After a decent start to their campaign, Southampton have clearly suffered a nosedive in recent times, having slipped to 13th position in the Premier League standings. They have suffered five consecutive defeats coming into this match, which also includes a 9-0 thrashing at the hands of Manchester United. While the Saints did manage to get past Wolves in the FA Cup, they could not repeat a similar performance against them in the Premier League. Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side lost 2-0 against the Wanderers in the previous match. It would be a mountain to climb for Southampton to get a positive result against an in-form Chelsea this weekend.
Chelsea have been brilliant since Thomas Tuchel took over the managerial responsibilities from Frank Lampard. After drawing the first game, Tuchel has led Chelsea to five consecutive victories across all competitions. The Blues have only conceded one goal in that period and are certainly looking more disciplined on the field. Although Chelsea have not yet played to their maximum potential, they have done enough to move to top 4 in the Premier League table. They would be hoping to retain their position with a win against the struggling Saints side at St. Mary’s stadium on Saturday.
The previous meeting between Chelsea and Southampton ended in a thrilling 3-3 draw at Stamford Bridge in October last year. Timo Werner had scored a brace in that contest while Vestergaard’s stoppage-time equaliser split the points between the two sides.
Probable Playing XI
Alex McCarthy; Ryan Bertrand, Jannik Vestergaard, Jan Bednarek, Jack Stephens; Takumi Minamino, James Ward-Prowse, Oriol Romeu, Stuart Armstrong; Che Adams, Danny Ings
Edouard Mendy; Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger; Callum Hudson-Odoi, Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic, Marcos Alonso; Timo Werner, Mason Mount, Olivier Giroud
Goalkeepers: Alex McCarthy, Edouard Mendy
Defenders: Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen, Ryan Bertrand, Jannik Vestergaard
Midfielders: Callum Hudson-Odoi, Jorginho, Takumi Minamino, James Ward-Prowse, Mason Mount
Forwards: Timo Werner, Danny Ings, Olivier Giroud
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