Saints will hope Chelsea and Mourinho don’t lord it over them
Chelsea delivered a masterclass last time out against West Ham United on Boxing Day, with a 2-0 victory, though the winning margin could easily have been more. They are, as a result, odds-on with Coral at 4/5 to beat Southampton, and if they apply the same sort of interplay, as showcased against the Hammers, their hosts will have a hard time containing them.
Diego Costa has Sergio Aguero in his sights, as he chases down the top goalscorer status, and is now just one behind the injured Argentine on 13 strikes. He was exceptional last time out, getting on the scoresheet, and is 7/2 to net first.
Skipper John Terry, meanwhile, is aiming for his third goal in as many games and is 9/1 in the anytime market. Mourinho has said his captain is as good as he was 10 years ago.
“He’s full of confidence. I see my John of 2004, 05, 06. I don’t see any difference,” Mourinho said.
“I only see a difference when his twins are on the training ground. They were born in that period and now they are running and kicking balls.”
After their win against West Ham, Mourinho revealed his men chose to train immediately after, rather than face a double session the next day.
“I had two training sessions for tomorrow, but they were crying so much in the dressing room I decided to make a change,” the Portuguese boss said. “They are training now.”
In the same fixture last season, Chelsea ran out 3-0 winners, with Fernando Torres (currently on loan at AC Milan), Oscar and Willian hitting the back of the net. Oscar is 9/4 in the anytime market, while his compatriot has 4/1 odds.
The Saints climbed back into the top four with a 3-1 away win against Crystal Palace and will do all they can to maintain that status. On-loan Blues left back Ryan Bertrand, who netted against the Eagles, will be ineligible for the match, though summer signing Sadio Mane showed he can do the business and is 8/1 to net first.
Top scorer and fellow new signing Graziano Pelle faces an intriguing physical battle with Terry and Gary Cahill, and will have to be clever to get the better of them. The Italian is 13/2 to break the deadlock, though Shane Long at 9/1 and Dusan Tadic at 10/1 are other potential candidates.