On Wednesday night against Southampton – in only their second home league fixture since the end of November – Chelsea will be hoping to replicate their recent away form and put an end to the worrying home form. Recent home losses to QPR and Swansea City are uncharacteristic for a team that once prided itself on its unparalleled home form.
But The Blues will be confident they can get back to winning ways in front of the Stamford Bridge crowd having beaten The Saints 5-1 in the FA Cup Third Round less than two weeks ago. The last meeting between these two teams was in 2005. Chelsea ran out 3-1 winners at St. Mary’s with two goals from Eidur Gudjohnsen and one from, you guessed, the man on every Chelsea fan’s lips – Frank Lampard. A little under a month later and Chelsea raced to that historic first title in 50 years. Southampton were also relegated that same season. In the last match at The Bridge, James Beattie scored a 13th second volley before conceding a penalty, helping Lampard and Chelsea onto a 2-1 victory.
History in this fixture does favour Chelsea. The two teams have met 90 times in all competitions with Chelsea winning 36, Southampton winning 28 and 26 games ending in draws. Southampton haven’t beaten The Blues in over 12 years. And with just two wins at Stamford Bridge since 1992, the odds are stacked in Chelsea’s favour.
After making a short comeback in Saturday’s 4-0 win at Stoke, John Terry looks set play some part again. Benitez said he was pleased with JT’s progress in training but didn’t say whether the captain would be starting. There’s no news on Gary Cahill’s return. The defender missed Saturday’s trip to the Britannia after he welcomed his new son, Leo, into the world. And I’m sure we all congratulate Gary and Gemma on the birth of their little one. Apologies for my sentiment – my brother and his fiancé are expecting their first child in a matter of hours!
There are no fresh injury concerns, but Victor Moses and John Obi Mikel remain on international duty at the African Cup of Nations.
Chelsea have won home & away in each of the last two seasons they’ve met Southampton (2003/04 and 2004/05). Southampton have won just one of their seven Premier League games against London clubs this season.
Chelsea have won five of their last six Premier League matches, conceding just three goals. Southampton are unbeaten in four Premier League games.
The Blues have conceded just 8 goals at home in the Premier League this season, whilst Southampton have conceded 24 on the road so far.
No one has conceded more goals in the first half than Southampton (19), and only Manchester United (26) have scored more first half goals than Chelsea (22).