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Southampton vs Chelsea predictions: A Blues cruise at St Mary's
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Simon Barlow
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Thomas Tuchel will fancy his side's chances of victory when they face Southampton
Thomas Tuchel will fancy his side's chances of victory when they face Southampton

Southampton will aim to provide much stiffer opposition for Chelsea on Tuesday after being hit for six the last time the Blues visited St Mary's back in April.

In a game that felt like it was going to be a third 9-0 defeat of Raph Hasenhuttl's reign, Timo Werner struck the woodwork three times, including twice in the opening six minutes, and Chelsea went six goals up before the hour mark.

The Saints still suffer defensive lapses but they now appear to have more belief in themselves to fight back in games where they have gone behind.

Although they could not level matters after falling behind to Manchester United on Saturday, the reaction and endeavour from Hasenhuttl's side were just as evident when they came back to draw against Leeds and win at Leicester.

Thomas Tuchel saw his team react positively to their defeat at Elland Road when Chelsea overcame Leicester on Saturday while playing with only 10 men for more than an hour.

The German tactician returns to the Blues dugout after serving his own ban and will demand a repeat of the aggressive, front-font performance they delivered on the South Coast last season.

Team news

Hasenhuttl could field an unchanged team from the one that competed so well against United, with Che Adams the favourite to spearhead the Saints' attack.

That is providing there were no fresh injury issues to emerge from Saturday's game — when impressive young defender Armel Bella-Kotchap required treatment for a muscle problem.

Stuart Armstrong looks the most likely candidate to break into the starting line-up if the Austrian manager opts to freshen things up.

Former Chelsea defender Tino Livramento is expected to be sidelined with an ACL injury until after this year's World Cup, which finishes in December.

Tuchel cannot name an unchanged Blues team, however, as Conor Gallagher serves a suspension for collecting two yellow cards against the Foxes, while Reece James has been ruled out with injury.

Kalidou Koulibaly returns from a one-match ban of his own, enabling Tuchel to revert to a back three with Trevoh Chalobah retaining his spot on the right-hand side of the central defence and Cesar Azpilicueta replacing James at wing-back.

It was a surprise to see Ben Chilwell left out again at the weekend but Marc Cucurella has done nothing to warrant losing his place and could stay in at left wing-back.

Mateo Kovacic made his comeback from a knee issue in a 15-minute cameo against Leicester but it is too soon for him to be starting games and he will probably remain on the bench.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek will shift inside to partner Jorginho in the middle of midfield while N'Golo Kante remains out for up to a month.

Ralph Hasenhuttl is unlikely to make changes to his team after an improved display against Manchester United
Ralph Hasenhuttl is unlikely to make changes to his team after an improved display against Manchester United

The stats

Chelsea's 6-0 win last April made it three wins from three for the Blues against Southampton in 2021-22, which included a Carabao Cup last-16 penalty shoot-out victory.

The Londoners are unbeaten in their last nine trips to St Mary's and have lost just once there in 14 Premier League visits (10 wins, three draws).

Boyhood Portsmouth fan Mason Mount has scored four goals in Chelsea's last three visits to Southampton.

The Saints have kept just one clean sheet in their last 16 Premier League matches, conceding 38 goals in that time.

And it could have been more as Southampton have cleared three of their opponents' attempts off the line already this season, the joint-most in the Premier League with Nottingham Forest.

Only Fulham's Aleksandar Mitrovic (28) has won more aerial battles than Kai Havertz (17) among Premier League players this season.

Prediction

Chelsea are not firing on all cylinders at the moment but they have enough talent and tenacity to take all three points in this midweek fixture.

Koulibaly's return will be crucial in nullifying the threat of Adams, while quality service from wide areas could make the difference for the Blues in attack on what has been a happy hunting ground for them.

Southampton have been susceptible to low crosses and cutbacks from advanced wide areas this season, such as Rodrigo's goal for Leeds and Bruno Fernandes' winner at the weekend, and Chelsea should have enough to get on the scoresheet at least twice.

Tags

Premier LeagueSouthamptonChelseaReece James
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