Chelsea’s season appears to be in a somewhat precarious position, and while our current league position is not under imminent threat (five points clear of fourth), things are threatening to go off the rails completely. The team’s performances had been staying remarkably consistent and good throughout all the off pitch drama, but all that’s suddenly taken a turn for the disastrous with back-to-back home defeats to the tune of 1-4 and 1-3, by Brentford and Real Madrid, respectively.
And as Thomas Tuchel has explained, the most concerning part isn’t what the scoreboard has been showing, but rather the manner of the defeats: “untypical” performances as he put it, full of individual errors, careless mistakes, lapses of concentration, and just simply bad execution all around in every phase.
After Wednesday night’s debacle, Tuchel warned that we’re not going to win another game in any competition if we keep playing like we have been, before proceeding to set the hairdryers on high and give the troops a piece of his mind.
So, hopefully a bit of tough love will have worked wonders.
Date / Time: Saturday, April 9, 2022, 15.00 BST; 10am EDT; 7:30pm IST
Venue: St Mary’s, Southampton, England
Referee: Kevin Friend (on pitch); Lee Mason (VAR)
Forecast: Sunny and nice
On TV: none (UK); USA, Universo (USA); Star Sports Select HD1 (India); SuperSport MaXimo 1 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: none (UK); NBC Sports Live, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA); Hotstar (India); DStv Now (NGA)
Southampton team news: Well safe in midtable, Southampton have hit a bit of a slump as well, and come into this game on the back of a five-match winless run, including three straight defeats at home. They did salvage a 1-1 draw away to Leeds United last weekend.
Leading goalscorer Armando Broja (9 goals in all competitions) is ineligible since he is a Chelsea loanee — hey, that’s us! — but long-time nemesis Shane Long could be back from his ankle injury. Bit-part defender Lyanco and backup goalkeeper Alex McCarthy remain out. In McCarthy’s absence, former Chelsea veteran Willy Caballero has been deputizing for first-choice Fraser Forster. Fellow former Blues Oriol Romeo and Valentino Livramento remain key players.
Saints have eight games left, and very little to fight for other than pride and professionalism.
View from the enemy: St Mary’s Musings
Chelsea team news: Chelsea, on the other hand, have plenty left to fight for this season, though if this week is any indication, our fight is more of a laying down of arms. Back-to-back defeats may not be the end of the world, rare as they may be, but the underlying performances have been shockingly bad — and seemingly without explanation.
And we’ve managed to do it even while having practically a fully fit team. Ben Chilwell’s absence on the left flank of course remains an issue — and one that we did not adequately address in January — but otherwise Callum Hudson-Odoi’s increasingly worrying Achilles problem is the only injury of note. Romelu Lukaku and Hakim Ziyech did pick up knocks midweek, so they could miss out as well.
The most crucial part of any defeat is how we respond to it. We responded badly on Wednesday. Now it’s even more imperative that we do so properly.
Previously: We’ve won both of our meetings against Southampton this season, but they were far from comfortable affairs. In the reverse fixture, it took us until the final six minutes to find a winner, while in the League Cup, we need penalties to progress. And last season, we drew both times, 3-3 (under Lampard) and 1-1 (under Tuchel).