Chelsea have conceded goals lately to prophets Mohamed (Salah) and (Gabriel) Jesus, while on Wednesday, it was a whole church (Chiesa) that smote upon Mendy’s goal. That’s certainly not a good omen for Saturday’s matchup against Saints, with a thunderstorm in the forecast to boot.
A slightly better omen is that Southampton have yet to win a game outside of the League Cup this season. Of course, all streaks are made to be broken, but hopefully it’s Chelsea’s two-match losing streak that’s facing heavenly judgement this weekend.
Date / Time: Saturday, October 2, 2021, 15.00 BST; 10am EST; 7:30pm IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Martin Atkinson (on pitch); Mike Dean (VAR) — all the experience, if not necessarily quality, you’d ever want!
Forecast: the gods be angry; thunder and lightning and everything frightening
On TV: none (UK); USA Network, Universo (USA); Star Sports Select HD2 (India); SuperSport MaXimo 1, Canal+ Sport 3 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: BBC Radio 5 Live, Chelsea TV (audio only; UK); NBC Sports Live, Telemundo Deportest En Vivo (USA); Hotstar (India); DStv Now (NGA)
Chelsea team news: Mason Mount is back and probably will get the start to try to help fix our faltering attack and counter-press. Reece James remains out, as does, concerningly, Christian Pulisic — he was supposed to be back like two weeks ago! N’Golo Kante is isolating due to a positive COVID-19 test.
Chelsea have lost back-to-back games for just the second time under Tuchel, and we’ve done so with barely a fart in the opposition goal’s direction. The defense remains solid, but it’s been it a bit of a big fat raspberry further forward, despite the best efforts of Mateo Kovacic and Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Improvement and a massive response needed. It’s far from time to panic, but the mob is fickle.
Southampton team news: Southampton have only lost two games all season, which is the same as Chelsea, but they have also only won two games all season (one in a penalty shootout), which is not quite the same as Chelsea. What that means is that they’ve drawn a lot of games already — four of their first six in the league in fact, including against Manchesters City and United — which would be a great result for them in this one, and a not so great result for us.
Summer signing Valentino Livramento, Chelsea’s own, has been a revelation, starting every league game and earning plenty of plaudits. He’s apparently the first 18-year-old to start the first six games for a team in a decade.
18 - Southampton defender Valentino Livramento is the first 18-year-old to start his side’s first six Premier League games of the season since Phil Jones in 2010-11 for Blackburn Rovers. Blooded. pic.twitter.com/WQ2mDTRwFA— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 26, 2021
Chelsea loanee striker Armando Broja has not quite hit those same heights yet, and he’s ineligible for this one. Scoring goals has been an issue for Southampton in fact in the wake of Danny Ings’ departure to Aston Villa. Only Norwich City and Wolves have scored fewer goals than their four (from four different goal-scorers).
Perhaps the return of Theo Walcott will help — he’s faced Chelsea more than any other team in his career, scoring 6 times in 25 appearances. He’s also 32, which should make you feel old. Former Chelsea man Oriol Romeu (now 30) is still around as well, though Ryan Bertrand (now 32) moved on this summer, joining Leicester City after seven seasons on the South Coast.
View from the enemy: St. Mary’s Musings
Previously: Speaking of draws, Chelsea played out a stalemate with Southampton twice last season, 3-3 at the Bridge and 1-1 at St Mary’s. The latter was one of Tuchel’s first games in charge, and it wasn’t exactly pretty, but a Mount penalty in the second half ensured a share of the points.