Chelsea face a trip to St. Mary’s on Sunday afternoon following their hard-fought 1-0 victory midweek.
The Blues will take on former Chelsea man Mark Hughes’ struggling Southampton side, who find themselves in 16th position with five points from a possible 35.
Maurizio Sarri’s team have won six games in a row against Southampton and haven’t lost in nine matches this season.
The last time the sides met was in the F.A. Cup where the London side won 2-0 thanks to a great performance from Olivier Giroud.
Despite being 3/5 favourites for the weekend with Sky Bet, the last time Chelsea played a Thursday night match, they suffered the dreaded European hangover, drawing 0-0 with West Ham.
It may be a blessing that Chelsea will not have to travel back from the midweek match, having disposed of Vidi FC 1-0 in London this time, instead of 0-1 against Paok in Greece.
Neither side have any fresh injury concerns or suspensions for the 2:15 kick off and I expect Chelsea to stick to the squad that was denied victory against Liverpool in there last minute.
CHELSEA PREDICTED LINE-UP, 4-3-3
Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Rudiger, Marcos Alonso
Jorginho, Kante, Kovacic
Willian, Giroud, Hazard
Alvara Morata finally scored for the first time in two months in midweek, but Eden Hazard appears to prefer playing off target man Olivier Giroud.
I also expect Chelsea to change the entire defence to start the standard back four of this season.
Kovacic and Fabregas both played midweek, and Ross Barkley hit the post when he replaced Reuben Loftus-Cheek and all three senior players will want to start, but Sarri may want to play the Croatian during his limited time with the club.
As for the Saints, Mark Hughes doesn’t seem to have found his favourite formation yet, making predicting the first team greet fun.
SOUTHAMPTON PREDICTED LINE-UP 4-4-2
Cedric, Hoedt, Vestergaard, Bertrand
Redmond, Lemina, Hojbjerg, Elyounassi
Southampton lined up in a 4-4-2 against Liverpool and I expect them to follow this format against Chelsea and try and harass the defence but sit deep in midfield.
There doesn’t seem to be any real quality in the Southampton side and it may take a slice of genius from a flair player that hasn’t been producing the goods as of late.
I can’t see Southampton scoring in this game, but I could see them grabbing a 0-0, but I think Hazard will provide a moment of magic to separate the sides, and snatch a 1-0 victory for Chelsea to maintain their unbeaten record.