Graham Potter, the manager of Chelsea, has had a tough start to the new era of the club. After posting Chelsea’s lowest Premier League (PL) position at this point of the season since 2015/16, Potter is regularly asked about his alleged lack of job security. Nonetheless, the club’s stance suggests that Potter is a long-term project, and there has been some progress with a four-game league unbeaten streak (W1, D3).
It will take a lot of time for the Blues’ supporters to get over the frustration of trying to make over £300m worth of acquisitions all fit together. A midweek UEFA Champions League loss to Dortmund could have impacted Chelsea’s preparations for this match, and an immediate resurgence is now required following that result as Chelsea try to cut the eight-point gap to the top-five.
The stakes are significantly higher for Southampton, who is fighting for Premier League survival after a 94-day stint under Nathan Jones that was genuinely terrible and occasionally verging on ridiculous left them at the bottom of the standings (PL: W1, L7). Jesse Marsch, who was recently fired by Leeds, appeared ready to join throughout the week. But, negotiations fell through as everyone was waiting for the announcement, leaving the Saints without a manager for their journey to the capital.
The Saints management must choose wisely because they are now in freefall, having dropped a league-high six games since the World Cup restart and ahead of the round, whatever they decide to replace Jones with. As Southampton has only kept one clean sheet in their last 28 league games and has allowed ten goals in their last five Premier League away games, improving their leaky defense would likely be a smart place to start.
Players to keep an eye on: If Mason Mount can maintain his average of one goal contribution per Premier League head-to-head matchup with Southampton, Chelsea could find themselves in a crucial situation (G4, A1). Romeo Lavia scored Southampton’s lone senior club goal against Chelsea in the 2-1 defeat, but with four yellow cards in 13 Premier League games this season, he is more likely to receive a caution.
Graham Potter has only seen success against teams that began the day in the relegation zone six times in his 24 Premier League outings (W6, D13, L5).
N’Golo Kante (thigh), Christian Pulisic (knee), Armando Broja (knee), and Edouard Mendy (finger) are remain out injured for Chelsea, and Raheem Sterling (knee) and Ben Chilwell (knock) are both questionable.
Wesley Fofana, Denis Zakaria, and Mateo Kovacic all returned from injuries to join the matchday squad against Dortmund, and the three players will be in line to start against Southampton.
The following players are available for selection on Saturday: Benoit Badiashile, Noni Madueke, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and David Datro Fofana. The first of these players is anticipated to take the place of Kalidou Koulibaly at center defender.
Meanwhile, Madueke might replace Hakim Ziyech on the right wing and begin the attack alongside Joao Felix, Mykhaylo Mudryk, and Kai Havertz.
Valentino Livramento (knee), Alex McCarthy (ankle), and Juan Larios (hamstring) are still out for Southampton, although Kyle Walker-Peters, who has missed the past two games with a hamstring injury, might make a comeback.
After being omitted from the matchday squad against Wolves due to tactical considerations, Mislav Orsic, Duje Caleta-Car, Mohamed Elyounoussi, Ibrahima Diallo, and Armel Bella-Kotchap will all be looking to make their comebacks this weekend.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles was unexpectedly utilized in the back three last weekend, but he will likely be replaced by either Caleta-Car, Bella-Kotchap, or Lyanco, while Bednarek and Mohammed Salisu are expected to keep their spots in the starting lineup.
signing of a club record Che Adams will be vying to start ahead of Paul Onuachu while Kamaldeen Sulemana is anticipated to stay in the attack after flashes of his talent against Wolves.
Arrizabalaga, James, Thiago Silva, Badiashile, Cucurella, Loftus-Cheek, Fernandez, Madueke, Felix, Mudryk, and Havertz might be Chelsea’s starting lineup.
Bazunu, Caleta-Car, Bednarek, Salisu; Walker-Peters, Lavia, Ward-Prowse, Alcaraz, Perraud; Sulemana, Adams are likely starters for Southampton.
We predict: Chelsea 2-1 Southampton.
At Stamford Bridge on Saturday, three crucial points are on the line, and both clubs are looking for a win in an effort to reverse their fortunes.
Southampton will be hoping that the new manager can immediately inspire a comeback against a team they have already defeated this year, but given the abundance of quality options at Potter’s disposal, we anticipate Chelsea to finally click and give the home crowd something to cheer.