How the Bookies See it
- Winner: Chelsea 5/4, Southampton 21/10, Draw 12/5 - Paddy Power
- First Goalscorer: Diego Costa (CHE) 4/1, Michy Batshuayi (CHE) 5/1, Charlie Austin (SOU) 13/2 - Coral
- To Win to Nil: Chelsea 31/10, Southampton 19/4 - BetVictor
- Southampton started the season slowly following the departure of manager Ronald Koeman and several big name players. However, summer appointment Claude Puel appears to have steadied the Saints ship and helped the new and remaining players pick up where the old crop left off. Recent victories against Swansea, West Ham and Burnley have propelled the south coast club into the top half of the table, while a hard earned 1-1 draw with Manchester City last time out proved that Southampton can still spring a surprise against the division’s bigger teams.
- Chelsea have recovered well after a three-game winless run in September left Antonio Conte sweating over his future. The Blues responded with comfortable wins over Hull and Leicester, before a superb thrashing of Manchester United at Stamford Bridge in Jose Mourinho’s first game against his former employers since his dismissal in December last year. Chelsea carved United open after just 30 seconds and were seemingly in cruise control for the remaining 89 minutes, something that Southampton should be wary of when the two teams meet this weekend.
Southampton don’t have a very good record when it comes to facing their south London counterparts, having picked up just two victories in eight matches since their return to the top table of English football in 2013. The Saints did manage to secure a 3-1 win at Stamford Bridge last season, something that the Southampton faithful would dearly love to see repeated this Sunday, with odds of 28/1 being offered by BetVictor. Although a victory would delight the majority of supporters inside St Mary’s, a draw may be a more realistic outcome, with a 1-1 scoreline fetching odds of 6/1 with Bet365, while BetVictor have a 2-2 goal fest priced at 15/1.
Chelsea seemed to have improved defensively in recent games, keeping three consecutive clean sheets in the league. Thibaut Courtois has praised his manager’s decision to switch to a 3-4-3 formation following the team’s resounding 3-0 defeat the Arsenal last month. The 24-year-old has faced far fewer shots in recent games and credits Chelsea’s newfound defensive stability to his coach. The Belgian stopper is 2/1 with Bet365 to keep Southampton’s forwards at bay, while a win to nil in favour of the away team is priced at a tempting 31/10.
In terms of scorers, both teams are able to boast an impressive array of goal-grabbing talent. Southampton’s Nathan Redmond could trouble Chelsea’s backline with his electrifying pace, while the physically intimidating presence of Charlie Austin may be hard to keep quiet. Ex-Burnley and QPR hitman Austin is 11/10 to net anytime, while former Canary Redmond is handsomely priced at 7/2, both with Paddy Power.
As for Chelsea, it is hard to look beyond the hulking figure of Diego Costa, who is 4/1 favourite with Bet365 to break the deadlock. The Spanish striker has scored seven league goals this season and is capable of putting in a match-winning display even when he’s not having the best of games. Fellow Chelsea star Eden Hazard may also be worth keeping an eye on. The 25-year-old has returned to form following a very disappointing 2015/16 campaign and is 3/1 with William Hill to score anytime in an away win.
- Sports.net’s top tip: Chelsea to win to nil - 31/10 with BetVictor
*Please note that odds may fluctuate in the run-up to kick-off.