Chelsea vs Southampton @ Stamford Bridge
Saturday October 3 @ 5.30pm
Victory against Southampton tomorrow will give Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho his 200th victory in charge of the Blues – but he’s already been made to wait twice for it this week.
After a difficult start to their season, Chelsea had seemed to find their form again, but a draw at Newcastle United last weekend and a 2-1 defeat to Porto in the Champions League in midweek has again seen them hit the buffers.
Again it has seen question marks raised about the Chelsea players. Nemanja Matic, Eden Hazard and John Terry were all left on the bench in Portugal, while Oscar, Loïc Rémy and Falcao didn’t even travel.
With Diego Costa still suspended after his retrospective red card against Arsenal, Rémy or Falcao will lead the line against Southampton and Mouinho has been impressed with their conduct on the training ground.
“My assistant said they trained fantastically well, they worked really hard and well on Tuesday because they know they have an opportunity to play in tomorrow’s game,” he said.
Branislav Ivanovic, who captained the side against Porto, is another who will once again be under the microscope after a series of poor performances.
“I have no doubt that Ivanovic is the best right back at the club, and I also have no doubt that he needs to improve,” added Mourinho.
“He likes to speak with me about his mistakes.”
Club captain Terry performed his warm-down routine in the Estádio do Dragão in front of the travelling support who serenaded him with chants of ‘we want our captain back’, which he acknowledged.
The Chelsea manager had no problem with the fans’ vocal backing of the skipper, saying it was important for the supporters to do so, especially while Terry sits on the sideline – though he could start tomorrow after the lack of defensive leadership in Porto.
Southampton, meanwhile, have started to come alive after a shaky start to their season which saw them exit the Europa League and fail to win a league match until August 30 – but they have only lost once in their last five matches.
Chelsea failed to beat the Saints in both league games last year, with their meeting at Stamford Bridge ending 1-1 after Costa’s opener was cancelled out by Dusan Tadic’s penalty.
“Southampton are a good team that we couldn’t beat last year, they will give us a difficult match,” said Mourinho.
After netting 11 goals in their last three games the Saints could add to the Blues’ early season woes and inflict a fourth Premier League defeat in eight games.
Feature image courtesy of Chelsea TV, via Youtube, with thanks