Saints eye another big scalp against Chelsea’s tired internationals
Chelsea will welcome back a host of players following international duty ahead of their visit to Southampton on Saturday with Petr Cech, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, Juan Mata, Eden Hazard all tasting action in the recent World Cup qualifiers. In contrast the Saints only player to face the rigour of two internationals was keeper Artur Boruc, with key men Gaston Ramirez, Adam Lallana, Ricky Lambert and Morgan Schneiderlin not called up.
In addition Chelsea will also their FA Cup quarter final replay against Man United, scheduled just two days after their trip to the South Coast, to consider.
Recent well-deserved 3-1 St Mary’s victories against Liverpool and Man City have reaffirmed Southampton’s ability to mix it with the division’s better sides and Mauricio Pochenttino’s side drew at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season when under the tutelage of the Reading-bound Nigel Adkins. They can be backed for the victory at 11/4 with Coral, whilst they’re 4/5 in the double chance market
If one man sums up the Saints refusal to bow and scrape before the Premier League’s lords and noblemen it’s erstwhile League Two goal machine Ricky Lambert. Having propelled his team into the division with a heroic 48 league goals across their consecutive promotions the ex-Rochdale man has already notched against Man City, Man Utd and Chelsea this season and can be backed to score first/last at 7/1 or any time at 2/1 against the European Champions on Saturday.
Despite an impressive fightback from a 2-0 half time deficit to secure a reply in an FA Cup tie at Old Trafford in their last away game Chelsea have been poor on the road of late winning just twice in their last nine games.
The Blues’ tendency to start slowly looks the root cause of their travelling travails with just two first half goals in their last 10 outings. That fact that both of those scores came in the 45th minute illustrates the depth of their malaise and Southampton can be backed to win the first half at 14/5 with Coral despite the fact they’ve done just that in two of their last three outings at St Mary’s.