Chelsea will visit Southampton on New year’s day, January 1st for another crucial festive fixture against Mauricio Pochettino’s difficult side. Jose Mourinho has given David Luiz a permission to go to Portugal for new year since he was suspended for this game jokingly. It was after the game in the post match reaction of Hazard and Luiz that the Special one joked with his star players. But, in another good news dealing with suspensions, Ramires will return to the starting line-up after initially missing the previous Liverpool game with 5 bookings as well.
Date & Time: Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 10:00:00 AM (EST), at 3:00:00 PM (GMT), at 7:00:00 PM (GST), Midnight between Wednesday, January 1, 2014 and Thursday, January 2, 2014 (JST), at 8:30:00 PM (IST), at 6:00:00 PM (EAT)
Venue: St. Mary’s stadium, Southampton, Hampshire, England
TV/Streaming News: The match will be televised live on FOX Sports EPL On Demand/Fox Sports 3 Australia/TalkSport Radio in Australia, TalkSport Radio/TSN in Canada, Al Jazeera Sport HD6/Al Jazeera Sport HD1 in Egypt, Gol Stadium/ Canal+ Fútbol / HD/GOL T in Spain, Al Jazeera Sport HD6/Al Jazeera Sport HD1 in United Arab Emirates,
Chelsea FC Squad news: Chelsea boss Mourinho will be without Frank Lampard (muscular injury), Branislav Ivanovic (knee) and Marco van Ginkel (knee) for the trip to the south coast. David Luiz also misses out as he serves a one-match suspension after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season in Sunday’s 2-1 win over Liverpool, but Ramires returns from a ban.
Predicted starting 11: Cech; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Terry, Cole; Ramires, Mikel; Mata, Oscar, Hazard; Torres
Southampton Squad news: Striker Pablo Daniel Osvaldo (illness) will be monitored ahead of the match but goalkeeper Artur Boruc (hand), midfielder Victor Wanyama (fractured leg) and striker Guly do Prado (knee) will not feature. Midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin will return after missing Sunday’s defeat at Everton through suspension.
Predicted Starting 11: Davis; Clyne, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw; S. Davies, Schneiderlin; Ward-prowse, A. Lallana, Rodriguez; Lambert
Referee: Martin Atkinson.
Form Index: Chelsea; WLWDWW – Southampton; LDDLWL
Thoughts from Opposition: Southampton have not won at home since easing to a 4-1 win over Hull City on 9 November and Pochettino knows they will be up against it in their first fixture in 2014.
“It’s clear that Chelsea are a top side, a great team,” he said. “They have great, talented players. We learned a lot from that game (at Chelsea). It was a very competitive game and it’s going to be another competitive game against them this time around.
“There are many factors that happened during that game to balance the end result of the game. We know them well and we’re more than aware that we’re going to be facing a very tough team.”
- Chelsea beat fellow title-hopefuls Liverpool on Sunday to make it three wins in their last four top-flight matches and they are now third, just two points behind leaders Arsenal.
- Southampton are bad form recently winning one of their last eight Barclays Premier League matches.
- Southampton have not won at home since easing to a 4-1 win over Hull City on 9 November and Pochettino knows they will be up against it in their first fixture in 2014.
- Chelsea gained 14 points from losing positions this season, the most in the Premier League.
- Petr Cech requires one clean sheet to equal Peter Bonetti’s club record 208 in all competitions.
- Frank Lampard’s next converted penalty will be his 50th for the Blues.
- Frank’s next goal will be his 250th in his club career (Chelsea 209, West Ham 39, Swansea 1).
The Blues will be looking for a third consecutive victory in the premier league over the festive fixtures. This game at St. Mary’s stadium will mark the 20th match for both teams in the 2013/14 season and Mourinho will look at it as very important away game to get three points in order to keep up with Manchester City and Arsenal above us.