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Predicted Chelsea lineup against Southampton: Same starting eleven for third straight match

Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Manager Guus Hiddink called tomorrow's encounter on the South Coast a "big test" that will allows us "to see where we are" in the Premier League.

We can look at the table now and see the current situation: Chelsea are 12th, playing away to a team several spots above us in 6th.  Thanks to our recent 5-1 goal-bonanzas as well as the not-entirely-tragic trip to Paris the other day, confidence in the camp is perhaps a bit higher than 12th spot would warrant.  Then again, Southampton are unbeaten in six, with six clean sheets, so their confidence shouldn't be lacking either.  Big test, indeed.

Still, the magnitude of this test is nowhere near what we faced against PSG, so the lineup that served us well enough then, and served us so beautifully against Manchester City's mishmash of golden oldies and inexperienced teenagers should serve us well once again.

In defense, we don't even have a choice, really.  John Terry remains out, as does Kurt Zouma, so the only realistic choice is keeping the same foursome as last week's games.  This once again won't involve January signing Matt Miazga; he might need another injury ahead of him in the pecking order to get any sort of game-time at the moment.

Normally, the big question would be what to do with Nemanja Matic and which one (or two) of the four attacking midfielders should we leave out, but with Hazard and Pedro playing very well and Willian and Fabregas and Mikel indispensable to Chelsea, there isn't much reason to change that up.  Hiddink has shown as much, if not even greater reluctance to mess with success than Jose Mourinho and I expect that to continue on Saturday.

Courtois | Baba, Ivanović, Cahill, Azpilicueta | Mikel, Fàbregas | Hazard, Willian, Pedro | Costa

That lineup is so obvious in fact that the community at large also prefers it (and that's even before we knew that Terry wasn't going to be able to play!).

Courtois | Baba, Ivanović, Cahill, Azpilicueta | Mikel, Fàbregas | Hazard, Willian, Pedro | Costa

Sounds like a plan!

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