A look ahead to the Premier League fixture at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea can afford little time for celebration following their thrilling FA Cup semi-final victory over Tottenham in the FA Cup semi-final on Saturday. They return to Premier League action on Tuesday against middling Southampton with an opportunity to extend their lead at the top of the table to seven points before Spurs are in action on Wednesday.
While Chelsea’s 4-2 victory at Wembley may have given them the psychological edge in the run-in, they must improve their league form following surprise defeats to Crystal Palace and Manchester United, given Tottenham’s impressive Premier League form of late.
Southampton, ninth in the Premier League table, should be well rested given their last match was a 0-3 home defeat to Manchester City on 15 April. The Saints have little to play for in the remainder of the campaign, but Claude Puel will be desperate to secure a top-half finish in his first season in English football; an achievable aspiration given they have two games in hand over eighth place West Brom.
What time does it start?
Chelsea vs Southampton kicks off at 19:45 on Tuesday night.
Where can I watch it?
The match will be shown live on Sky Sports 1 from 19:30. Highlights will be shown at 12am on Sky Sports 1.
It’s a big game for…
Diego Costa: Surely a contender for Player of Season during the first-half of the season, Chelsea forward Costa has only scored three goals and provided no assists since 15 January. With rumours linking him with a lucrative move to the Chinese Super League refusing to subside, Costa’s Chelsea career may depend on his form returning to its pre-Christmas heights.
After being dropped for Chelsea’s FA Cup semi-final on Saturday, Costa will have a point to prove should he be restored to the starting eleven.
Southampton have failed to keep a Premier League clean sheet against Chelsea since December 2002. There have been 13 encounters between the two in the league in the meantime.
Following Chelsea’s 1-3 home defeat to Southampton in October 2015 which left the champions floundering in 16th in the Premier League, we enjoyed a classic Jose Mourinho rant in his post-match interview. Jose was only asked one question but his diatribe, directed mainly at the officials, lasted seven minutes.
Player to watch…
Eden Hazard: Despite starting Saturday’s semi-final on the bench, Hazard’s impact still proved decisive after entering the fray in the second-half. He scored Chelsea’s third with a brilliant left-footed strike from outside the box to stem Spurs’ incessant pressure. The Belgian has scored four goals in his last four appearances in all competitions.
Southampton 0 Chelsea 2, Premier League, October 2016
Southampton 1 Chelsea 2, Premier League, February 2016
Chelsea 1 Southampton 3, Premier League, October 2015
Chelsea to win: 21/50
Southampton to win: 7/1
(Odds provided by 888 Sport)