Saturday, 17 October 2020
Premier League action resumes this Saturday at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea hope to make it to three wins as they host Newcastle after the international break.
Just a point separates the two sides after 4 games of the new season with both heading to the match on the back of victories.
Chelsea come to the game after convincingly dispatching London rivals Crystal Palace four goals to nought. The hosts have however had a lackluster start to the season despite investing heavily in the summer transfer window.
Frank Lampard’s boys won against Brighton on the season’s opener before firing a blank against champions Liverpool and drawing 3-3 with newly promoted West Brom. The topsy-turvy start has left them seventh on the log with seven points to their name.
With the battle for top four in mind and a possible stab at the title, the game provides a crucial opportunity for Chelsea to rise to second on the log barring results elsewhere.
Lampard seems to have resolved his goalkeeping woes with the signing of Edouard Mendy who had a desirable debut with a clean sheet away to the Eagles. He however is a doubt for this fixture after picking up an injury on international duty with Senegal. Whether this means a recall to the maligned Kepa Arrizabalaga remains to be seen.
Surprisingly no team has conceded fewer home goals in the last two seasons than Chelsea underpinning a good run of form at the Bridge recently.
The manager will be pleased with the success of attacking duo Timo Werner and Kai Havertz on the international front as the both bagged a goal each in the midweek action for Germany.
In terms of injuries and omissions, Antonio Rudiger, Ruben Loftus Cheek and Emerson Palmieri remain sidelined and will not play a part against the Saints.
N’golo Kante is also expected to be sidelined with rumours of a falling out with his manager and a possible move away from the Blues in the not so distant future in the offing.
Christian Pulisic may also not yet be ready to play with the winger despite seeming to recover from injury. Winger Hakim Ziyech is however available and is expected to make his highly anticipated debut.
The Saints have meanwhile recovered from their early season wobble as they won back to back against Burnley and West Bromwich Albion. Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side have won six and lost only two of their last 11 top flight fixtures with a reputation for being specialitsts in away victories picked from their campaign last season.
Following his goals last season that propelled him to the top of the scoring charts, Danny Ings is expected to lead the Saints’ attack with Che Adams likely to remain on the bench despite last summer’s big money arrival.
Head to head:
The Saints last beat the visitors in 2015 and have failed to score against them in the last three meetings.
Home win with over 2.5 goals