Chelsea made sure we all had a great Christmas with a 2-0 win at New Three Point Lane on Sunday, but there’s little time to rest on our revelries. There’s plenty more festive cheer left to be spread with the Boxing Day game against Southampton at the Bridge.
Chelsea’s stuttering form has seen us trade wins and losses over the past two months (with a couple draws sprinkled in). We’ve managed to stay clear of the chasing pack so far, but we’ll need to find some consistency if we are to do that in the second half of the season as well.
At the moment, the Blues are five points clear of fifth place Sheffield United, six points clear of Tottenham, seven of Manchester United, and nine of Arsenal for the fourth and final Champions League spot. Arsenal (away) are coming up on Sunday and that will be another big occasion. But we mustn’t look past this game.
Date / Time: Thursday, December 26, 2019, 15.00 GMT; 10am EST; 8:30pm IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Jon Moss — Moss was in charge of last month’s 1-0 loss to West Ham at home. Let’s not do that again.
Forecast: Usual damp coldness
On TV: none (UK); NBCSN (USA); Star Sports Select HD1 (India); Canal+ Sport 2, SuperSport 4 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: Amazon Prime Video (UK) — this is £7.99/month if you don’t already have Prime; if you signed up for the 30-day free trial last time (Dec 4), you should still be good; NBC Sports Live (USA); HotStar (India); DStv Now (NGA)
Chelsea team news: Chelsea’s early-season injury crisis has just about subsided completely now, with only Ruben Loftus-Cheek still working on his long-term recovery. César Azplicueta did pick up a minor muscle problem towards the end of Sunday’s game, which could see him earn a rare rest for this one. Mateo Kovačić will also be forced into a breather after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season.
Southampton team news: The big news for Saints is the injury picked up by Shane Long, who tends to be a thorn in Chelsea’s side every time we have to come up against him. Moussa Djenepo and Yan Valery will also be out, while Pierre-Emile Højbjerg faces a late fitness test. Leading scorer Danny Ings is fit and firing however — 11 goals already to match his Premier League career-high. Former Chelsea players Oriol Romeu and Ryan Bertrand continue to play big roles, too. Rather unbelievably, Bertrand is 30(!) years old these days.
View from the enemy: St. Mary’s Musings
Previously: Chelsea already beat Southampton once this season, 4-1, and are unbeaten against Sains in nine straight (eight wins) in all competitions, dating back to a 3-1 home defeat in 2015.