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Chelsea vs. Southampton, Premier League: Time, TV schedule, live stream, preview

The run-in to the title starts here.

Southampton v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

When Chelsea and Southampton met for the first time this season, back in October, Chelsea were coming off of a London derby defeat in a cup competition, which followed a massive win over Manchester United in the league. Now, Chelsea are coming off of a London derby win in a cup competition, which followed a massive loss to Manchester United in the league. Let’s hope that the result of this game doesn’t follow that reverse pattern.

Chelsea’s 2-0 win at St. Mary’s back in October was the fourth straight for Conte’s then still newfangled 3-4-3. We weren’t quite completely sold on it (that would only happen in the next game, the 5-0 win over Everton), but other teams also hadn’t yet figured out how to play against it. As we’ve seen all too clearly in the last 10 days, that’s no longer the case, with United proving that old-school man marking and general graft can shut anything down when well drilled, and Spurs showing (for the third time this season) that a proactive approach can also be quite threatening.

What sort of approach will Southampton adopt? Probably more of the latter than the former, more Pochettino than Mourinho. Either way, the onus will be on Chelsea to get all three points and turn the weekend’s emotional high into another step closer to Premier League glory as well.

Date / Time: Tuesday, April 25, 19:45 BST; 2:45pm EDT; 00:15am IST (next day)

Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6

Referee: Lee Mason — this will be Mr. Mason’s first Chelsea match of the season; we last saw him in the 2-1 win over Norwich City back in March of 2016.

Forecast: Cold rain.

On TV: Sky Sports 1 (UK); NBCSN, NBC Universo (USA); Star Sports Select HD1 (India); elsewhere

Streaming online: Sky Go (UK); NBC Sports Live Extra; NBC Universo Now (USA); Hotstar (India)

Chelsea team news: The squad looks back to being just about completely healthy, with fitness tests looming for Gary Cahill, who was unwell most of last week and was too weak to play over the weekend, and a few of the starters from Saturday who might rotate out (Matić, for example). But the squad remain in remarkably good shape, which should allow Antonio Conte to choose pretty much his usual starting eleven.

After the psychological boost of knocking out Spurs from the FA Cup and advancing to the final, Chelsea face six more “finals” to win the title. The four-point lead over Spurs does allow for one more major mistake, but it’s even better if we don’t have to use up that lifeline.

Southampton team news: Saints have a strong grip on mid-table thanks largely to their solid defense, as well as their middling attack. Marrying a top ten defense with a bottom five attack should result in just such an outcome more times than not, and at least in the league, they have not eclipsed any such modest expectations. For all intents and purposes, Southampton’s season was over after United lucked into a win over them in the League Cup final.

Of course, they are not without capacity to cause problems for Chelsea, with former Napoli and Italy-striker Manolo Gabbiadini wasting no time to make an impact in England (6 goals in 6 games in all competitions since joining in January). Gabbiadini was capped five times by Conte for Italy and the Chelsea boss spoke highly of the 25-year-old in his pre-match press conference, while pointing out all the other talented players who never seem to be in short supply these days at Southampton.

“[Gabbiadini] is a really talented player with a fantastic left foot, one of the best in the world because it is amazing the way he kicks the ball. We must pay great attention and for sure I have to talk with my players, and my goalkeeper coach has started to talk with the goalkeepers to give advice about this player, but also Tadic is a great talent, Redmond, Ward-Prowse, Bertrand…They have a lot of good players.”

-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC

Oriol Romeu will be back from a two-game suspension to face his former side.

View from the enemy: St. Mary’s Musings

Previously: An early goal from Eden Hazard set us on our way back in October before Costa sealed the three points. We even kept a clean sheet. Remember clean sheets?

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