So far in his six games as Chelsea boss (five in the league, one in the cup), Thomas Tuchel has faced some rather (stereotypically?) defensive, burley, negative teams. This one promises to be a bit different however, as he matches up against his
countryman and fellow Rangnick-disciple, Ralph Hasenhüttl. Heavy metal football incoming, ja?
Tuchel (then with Borussia Dortmund) may have won three of his four previous meetings against Hasenhüttl (of Ingolstadt and later Leipzig) back in the Bundesliga, but that alone won’t guarantee success. Neither will Southampton’s current club-record six-match Premier League losing streak. It would be typically fatalist to see Chelsea sink to Tuchel’s first loss at St Mary’s in fact.
Good vibes only.
Date / Time: Saturday, February 20, 2021, 12.30 GMT; 7:30am EST; 6pm IST
Venue: St Mary’s, Southampton, England
Referee: Anthony Taylor (on pitch); Stuart Attwell (VAR) — no, I said good vibes only.
Forecast: Windy af
On TV: BT Sport 1 (UK); NBCSN, Universo (USA); Star Sports Select HD1 (India); SuperSport Premier League, Canal+ Sport 3 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: BT Sport Live (UK); NBC Sports Live, Universo Now (USA); Hotstar (India); DStv Now (NGA)
Southampton team news: As mentioned above, Saints are currently mired in an historic losing streak, but all streaks must come to an end at some point, and three of the last four losses have been by just a single goal. (The fourth was the 9-0 embarrassment at Old Trafford.)
Hasenhüttl has hinted at a tactical surprise or two for this one, which will likely involve a back-three to match Tuchel’s formation. Saints will be without Kyle Walker-Peters, Theo Walcott, Michael Obafemi, and Ibrahima Diallo. Alexandre Jankewitz, who was sent off in the second minute against Manchester United to prompt the 9-0 collapse, will be back after serving his suspension.
View from the enemy: St Mary’s Musings
Chelsea team news: The bad news is that Thiago Silva is still out. The surprising news is that Christian Pulisic is also out — though perhaps not so surprising anymore. The good news is that Kai Havertz is available once again and that Tammy Abraham doesn’t look to have suffered a major injury last weekend.
With two massive games coming up, first against Atlético Madrid in the Champions League Round of 16, then against Manchester United next weekend, it could be very easy to overlook this match against a struggling opponent. And that would be a shame indeed, especially considering that we’ve just finally managed to get back into the top-four. There are plenty of teams right behind us, just waiting for a mistake.
Previously: Chelsea have failed to record a win against Southampton in our last two meetings, both at Stamford Bridge, including the 3-3 earlier this season. We have however won our last five trips to St Marys, and have not lost here since the spring of 2013. Last year, even Michy Batshuayi scored.