Chelsea will not get a better chance to build on Wednesday’s moral victory — can we even call it a moral victory? How about a we-showed-progress victory? — than this weekend’s match against Southampton at Stamford Bridge.
Saints are bottom of the table, without a manager, and without seemingly any hope whatsoever of avoiding relegation. They have lost 9 of their last 10 in the league. They have the second worst defense, the fourth worst offense, and the second worst goal differential. Chelsea aren’t all that much better, especially over the same period (2 wins from 11), but our home record hasn’t been too atrocious (7 wins from 13 in all competitions, with only 2 defeats, both 1-0 to Arsenal and Manchester City).
And there is no silver lining possible here from anything other than a win. We may be in no danger of moving out of midtable anytime soon, but this is a must-win, or at least it should be. A for-the-love-of-all-that’s-good-and-holy-let’s- ... win.
Date / Time: Saturday, February 18, 2023, 15.00 GMT; 10am EST; 8:30pm IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: David Coote (on pitch); Robert Jones (VAR)
Forecast: Milder but rainier and I don’t mean the mountain (or the beer)
On TV: none (UK); none (USA); Star Sports Select HD1 (India); SuperSport MaXimo 1 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: none (UK); Peacock (USA); Hotstar (India); SuperSport GOtv (NGA)
Chelsea team news: Raheem Sterling looks set to be involved again after a brief absence while Ben Chilwell seems to have avoided any lasting damage from the kick to the ankle that forced him out midweek. Christian Pulisic, N’Golo Kanté, Édouard Mendy, and Armando Broja remain sidelined, but everyone else should be available for at least bench duty.
Some of those who were heavily involved in Wednesday’s game may thus even get the day off, such as Thiago Silva, Reece James, or Hakim Ziyech, if Graham Potter chooses to rotate his bloated squad.
Southampton team news: Saints sacked Nathan Jones last weekend after just three months and 14 games in charge and are now looking for their third full-time manager of the season. First-team coach Ruben Selles will take charge for this game, and is reportedly hoping to earn the job for himself. Jones had won 5 of those 14 games, but only 1 of 8 in the league.
Southampton remain without former Chelsea Academy Player of the Year, Tino Livramento, who continues his rehab from ACL surgery. He last played in April. Backup goalkeeper Alex McCarthy and former Manchester City youngster Juan Larios remain out as well, while Che Adams and Kyle Walker-Peters face late fitness tests.
Previously: An early low point for us this season was the 2-1 defeat at St Mary’s in August (Southampton’s only league win at home this season), but we had won three straight against them prior to that.