Chelsea will host Southampton on Saturday at Stamford Bridge in Matchday 7 of the Premier League. The home side have seen a decline in their form in previous matches. Can Chelsea avoid three defeats in a row in all competitions?
After starting the new season undefeated in Premier League and in the Champions League, Chelsea have hit a bit of a slump. Just a week ago they were top of the Premier League, with thirteen points from five matches. A week later they have dropped to third place in the league, suffering defeat at the hands of title defenders Manchester City. In addition, they lost to Juventus away in their Champions League group stage match. Chelsea’s attack has looked delicate in their recent matches. They had no shots on target in the game against City and just one in the game against Juventus. The Blues would be looking to avoid three defeats in a row for the first time since Tuchel took over when they welcome the Saints this Saturday. Thomas Tuchel needs to solve his side’s attacking inefficiencies before the game and he must do so without N’ Golo Kante as the Frenchman is isolating after testing positive for Covid 19. Reece James and Christian Pulisic remain sidelined with injuries. Mason Mount should be available for the game against the Saints.
In their previous Premier League encounter against Manchester City, Chelsea had no shots on target in the entire match. This indicates just how ineffective their attack was. The Blues went into the game with a 3-5-2 formation rather than their usual 3-4-2-1. Their striker, Lukaku has failed to get on the score sheet in the last four games. This scenario is perhaps mostly down to his teammates, as they have been unable to link up with him. Chelsea had to sit back in their own half in the game against City as the visitors tried to unlock their defence. Similarly, Chelsea’s wing-backs were unable to push forward and deliver effective crosses into or near the opposition box to utilize Lukaku’s hold up play and physicality.
Chelsea’s xT timeline further demonstrates just how ineffective they were in creating xT. They were almost invisible in the first half in terms of xT timeline, although they did try to mount a comeback in the second half but were unable to unlock City’s defence. The xG timeline follows a similar suit with Chelsea having very little to show for.
Southampton are in dire straits right now in the Premier League. They are placed sixteenth in the League table and have not registered a single win this season in the League. The Saints have just four points from their six matches.
In their previous game in the Premier League, they lost to Wolves 0-1 at home despite maintaining the lion’s share of the possession and having more shots on target than their opponents. Raul Jimenez scored the only goal of the match, his first goal after returning from a serious skull injury.
Southampton are having trouble finding the back of the net in recent games. They have only scored four goals in their six fixtures in the League. Although Southampton can take a little bit of inspiration from the fact that they are unbeaten at Stamford Bridge in their last three fixtures. Stuart Armstrong and Theo Walcott should be available for this game, while Armando Broja is ineligible to play against his parent club. Jack Stephens will also miss out on the match as he is still nursing a knee injury.
Despite leading in shots, dribbles, passes into the final third and aerial duel wins, Southampton were unable to find the back of the net. They took more than twice the number of shots as the visitors. Many of their shots were saved by the opposition keeper.
Southampton’s passing zones display that they were dominant in the midfield. They attempted multiple crosses into the opposition box from both the flanks, but to no avail.
Southampton are second in the league in terms of successful smart passes and third in terms of successful smart passes per 90, while Chelsea are in seventh spot in both the metrics.
Chelsea (3-4-2-1)- Mendy; Silva, Christensen, Rudiger; Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Kovacic, Chilwell; Mount, Havertz; Lukaku
Southampton (4-4-2)- McCarthy; Livramento, Bednarek, Salisu, Walker-Peters; Elyounoussi, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Djenepo; Adams, Armstrong
Both teams have found it difficult to score in the recent matches. Chelsea would be looking to get back to winning ways in this fixture. Despite having decent results in their recent visits to Stamford Bridge, this one seems to be in the favour of the home side.