Wed 16 Jan 2013 19:45 (Attendance: 38,484)
Just 11 days after our last meeting, we take on the top flight's most southerly side again, this time in west London. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton survey our game in hand…
This being the sole midweek match in the Barclays Premier League, tonight Chelsea have the opportunity to move four points equidistant from Tottenham in fourth and Manchester City in second.
That will require something that has become surprisingly unfamiliar in recent weeks - a home victory. That said, only two of the Blues' six games since the 8-0 Fulham Road filleting of Aston Villa have been played at the Bridge.
Both visiting teams parked the charabanc in front of their goal to frustrate the hosts out and help achieve their successes from breakaway attacks. Chelsea created enough chances to have won both matches but the decisiveness lacking then will need to be banished tonight.
One of those four recent away games was the FA Cup victory over this evening's visitors in which Demba Ba, no doubt looking for his full home debut this evening, starred. Southampton took the game to Chelsea, took the lead too, but were then taken apart with three goals either side of the break and a further two for good measure.
It is unlikely Nigel Adkins will be as adventurous in his tactics for this league encounter, but you never know - they did score three at Stoke recently.
The champions of Europe bettered that notch at the Britannia by one on Saturday in one of the most impressive overall performances of the season by the Londoners.
Having already ended Everton's home run recently, Rafael Benitez's side did for Stoke's best top-tier unbeaten sequence at home since 1973/74. In the process the Blues inflicted City's heaviest defeat at this level since Luton won by the same margin in April 1985.
It was also a new high score for the Pensioners away to the Potters, previously set at 3-0 with a Division Two victory in 1988/89. Frank Lampard eased past Kerry Dixon (a former Saint too) into second position on Chelsea's all-time scorers chart, of course.
One hundred and ninety-four goals - none of them in the lower leagues, many against Europe's elite - is a remarkable haul for any footballer. For a midfielder it is extraordinary. Congratulations to the history man. Bobby Tambling may regret the nine goals required to topple his crown will come shortly, but there is no better or more respectful successor.
Poor Jon Walters has the distinction of being the first opposition player to score twice for the Blues in one game. It was the third time a team had netted twice on our behalf.
Barcelona (Paco Gallego, Miguel Reina) in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup semi-final of May 1966 and Swindon Town (Jon Gittens, Ross MacLaren) in Division Two, February 1989, were the others. Both those previous occasions were at home.
The goal difference column can often be a better indicator of where a side might end up in the table than the points tally at any given point in the middle of a season.
Chelsea's goals scored and conceded records (and therefore, obviously, goal difference) are identical to those of City. Distribution of goals is what made the present seven-point difference. Chelsea's home total is three down on the Mancunians but that has translated into three fewer wins.
As holders, we now know our FA Cup fourth round opponents and hosts. Brentford saw off Southend by two goals to one at Griffin Park last night.
We last played the Bees competitively way back in 1950 - our only previous meeting in the same competition. The fixture will mean this is the first season in our history in which we will have played Brentford, Fulham and QPR.
|Barclays Premier League table|
The race for the Premier League Golden Boot
Robin van Persie (Manchester Utd) 17
Luis Suarez (Liverpool) 15
Demba Ba (all for Newcastle) 13
Michu (Swansea) 13
Jermain Defoe (Tottenham) 10
Edin Džeko (Manchester City) 10
Click on tabs above for more briefing.
Tickets for the game are on sale to personal callers at the box office until 4pm on Wednesday.
The countdown to our game in hand continues as club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton complete their regular match preview…
Our one-sided recent FA Cup match-up should serve as a warning to Southampton and an inspiration to hosts Chelsea. Here's where the game may be won or lost.
Former Chelsea Academy man Jack Cork played at right-back for the Saints in the cup, but is more likely to figure in a more familiar midfield role tonight. He is not blessed with great pace and found the Blues' left side hot to handle in the 5-1 victory.
While regular full-back Nathaniel Clyne should start, the visitors could be missing two important figures at the back in Luke Shaw and José Fonte, who was stretchered off during our last meeting, as well as skipper Adam Lallana.
Seventeen-year-old left-back Shaw, the latest wonder kid from the Saints' Academy, is expected to commit his long-term future to the south coast but limped away from their win at Villa Park with a gashed knee.
Chelsea will also be missing personnel, notably Victor Moses, scorer of the sharp second goal that confirmed the shift of momentum at St Mary's. Frank Lampard has scored seven goals in eight league starts but with Arsenal looming at the weekend and Swansea the following Wednesday, he may be excused full involvement in this fixture.
The Saints will hope to catch the Londoners in the same malaise as in the first half of the cup game - sloppy possession and lazy defending allowing Jason Puncheon (pictured below) to thread a pass for Jay Rodriguez - he of the weekend penalty controversy - to slide home. The similarities to goals by Swansea and QPR at the Bridge are obvious.
In both recent home defeats Chelsea squandered enough chances early on to open a lead and change the way of the match, encouraging opponents to come out and attack.
Rafael Benitez may feel inclined to risk starting with as many creative players as he can, even in deep-lying midfield roles. Perhaps he is considering playing both Demba Ba and Fernando Torres upfront.
Rickie Lambert is the south coast side's biggest threat and he was rested for much of the Pensioners' win at St Mary's. Although Southampton's defence looked all at sea at times against a depleted Villa side at the weekend, Lambert converted his one shot on goal in the match (the penalty won by Rodriguez) and earned three vital points.
Gary Cahill missed Chelsea's win at Stoke to witness the birth of his child. Benitez might decide to deliver John Terry more miles on the road to peak fitness, and could restore David Luiz to his recent central midfield role.
Squad fitness news
Only long-term knee casualty Oriol Romeu is unavailable to Rafael Benitez due to injury.
For Southampton, though defender Luke Moore is rated a doubt, fellow defender Jose Fonte is reported out with a knee injury. Captain Adam Lallana is also missing with a knee problem.
Click on the tabs above for more briefing.
Tickets for the game are on sale to personal callers at the box office until 4pm on Wednesday.
WE HAVE HISTORY
It is nine years since we hosted Southampton. They were the second team beaten by a José Mourinho-managed side at the Bridge, on 28 August 2004. The visitors were struggling in the top flight but took the lead after just 12 seconds when James Beattie intercepted Joe Cole's poor back-pass and beat Petr Cech from 25 yards. It was the first time the Blues had fallen behind in a game in the era of the Special One.
Chelsea went close to equalising through Eidur Gudjohnsen, Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard - former Blue Graeme Le Saux scrambling the latter's effort off the line.
By minor coincidence (given events at Stoke on Saturday) it was an own goal from Beattie that levelled the scores just past the half-hour mark, the striker inadvertently diverting a Gudjohnsen back-flick from Lampard's set piece (pictured below).
Lampard put the Pensioners ahead from the spot after Claus Lundekvam handled and, with the Blues taking their foot off the pedal a little in the second half, the final score remained 2-1.
The Blues' record score against the Saints - 4-0 - had been equalled the season before but set in November 1973. Dave Sexton would have been delighted that all four strikes came from under-pressure signings and a graduate of the Chelsea Juniors.
Nineteen-year-old homegrown midfielder Ian Britton opened the scoring with a deflected shot in the opening minutes after Peter Osgood had cleverly found his run behind the Saints' rearguard.
£100,000-man Chris Garland cut in from the left flank to unleash a blistering shot from the edge of the box with an hour gone to ease open the floodgates. Record buy Steve Kember added two in three minutes soon after, the first a classy 20-yard half-volley when an Alan Hudson corner was cleared to him.
The fourth and last was again Kember's, the midfielder exploiting a defender's indecision to sneak in and tap in. Peter Bonetti kept a clean sheet on his 600th appearance for the club.
Today Chelsea are looking for a third successive win at Stamford Bridge against the Saints.
Southampton last came away from Stamford Bridge with maximum points on New Year's Day 2002 when three second-half goals from Marian Pahars, Chris Marsden and James Beattie gave the Hampshire a 4-2 win. Eidur Gudjohnsen and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink had put the Blues 2-1 up after Beattie opened the scoring in the seventh minute.
Our last 10 league meetings at Stamford Bridge
1995/96 - Chelsea won 3-0
1996/97 - Chelsea won 1-0
1997/98 - Chelsea won 4-2
1998/99 - Chelsea won 1-0
1999/00 - Drew 1-1
2000/01 - Chelsea won 1-0
2001/02 - Southampton won 4-2
2002/03 - Drew 0-0
2003/04 - Chelsea won 4-0
2004/05 - Chelsea won 2-1
Chelsea v Southampton in all competitions
Games played 89
Chelsea wins 36
Saints wins 28
Head to head in the League at Stamford Bridge
Games played 38
Chelsea wins 18
Saints wins 10
Biggest league win at Stamford Bridge for each team
Chelsea 4-0 Southampton - 24/11/1973, 01/05/2004
Chelsea 2-6 Southampton - 02/09/1967
Chelsea scored at Stamford Bridge: 24
Saints won at Stamford Bridge:4,033
Arsenal won a trophy: 2,797
Liverpool won the league: 8,292
Visit again at lunchtime for part two of the Briefing.
Chelsea have won two of our last seven games at Stamford Bridge and failed to score in four of them.
Chelsea have won six out of the last eight matches, scoring 25 goals.
West Ham away was the only occasion this season, out of 13 games, we have opened the scoring in the Barclays Premier League and went on to lose the game.
No team has kept more Premier League clean sheets than Chelsea's nine.
The Blues are 12 points better off compared to the corresponding 21 fixtures last season.
We have gained 12 points from losing positions this term.
|Last six results|
|Dec 26||Norwich (a)||W 1-0|
|Dec 30||Everton (a)||W 2-1|
|Jan 2||QPR (h)||L 0-1|
|Jan 5||Southampton (FA Cup 3rd round a)||W 5-1|
|Jan 9||Swansea (League Cup semi-final 1st leg h)||L 0-2|
|Jan 12||Stoke (a)||W 4-0|
Premier League scorers
Lampard 7 (3 pens), Mata 7, Torres 7, E Hazard 5 (1 pen), Ivanovic 4, Ramires 3, Cahill 2, Cole 1, D Luiz 1, Moses 1, Oscar 1, Sturridge 1, Terry 1, own goals 2. Total 43
League games since
A home win: 1
A home draw: 2
A home defeat: 0
|Chelsea's next three games|
|Wed 16 Jan||Southampton home||7.45pm|
|Wed 23 Jan||Swansea (League Cup SF 2nd leg) away||7.45pm|
|Sun 27 Jan||Brentford (FA Cup 4th rd) away||12 noon|
Frank Lampard is now second in Chelsea's all-time scoring chart with 194 after moving one ahead of Kerry Dixon at Stoke, and just eight behind Bobby Tambling.
Congratulations to Paulo Ferreira who celebrates his 34th birthday on Friday.
1 FA Cup in 1976
The Saints' best season was in 1983/84 when they finished runners-up to Liverpool in the old First Division.
Southampton are unbeaten in four Premier League games including three away from home. They have taken 17 points from their last 11 league games.
Nigel Adkins side have dropped 19 points from winning positions this term. Only Reading have a worse record.
Rickie Lambert has never missed a penalty for Southampton. He scored his 24th out of 24 at Aston Villa on Saturday. He has also scored both his shoot-out penalties.
Saints have won eight points from a possible 30 on the road this term. They have won at QPR and Aston Villa, drawn at Fulham and Stoke and lost at Manchester City, Arsenal, Everton, West Ham, West Brom and Liverpool.
They have only kept four clean sheets in 25 league and cup matches and have conceded 47 goals.
Manager Nigel Adkins
Days in charge: 857
|SOUTHAMPTON'S LAST 10 YEAR LEAGUE HISTORY|
|Last six results|
|Dec 22||Sunderland (h)||L 0-1|
|Dec 26||Fulham (a)||D 1-1|
|Dec 29||Stoke (a)||D 3-3|
|Jan 1||Arsenal (h)||D 1-1|
|Jan 5||Chelsea (FA Cup h)||L 1-5|
|Jan 12||Aston Villa (a)||W 1-0|
Premier League scorers
Lambert 9 (3 pens), Puncheon 3, Ramirez 3, Fonte 2, Lallana 2, Rodriguez 2, Schneiderlin 2, own goals 2, Clyne 1, S Davis 1, Fox 1. Total 28
League games since
An away win: 0
An away draw: 1
An away defeat: 3
Completed January transfers
Ins Demba Ba (Newcastle, undisclosed)
Outs Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool, undisclosed), Todd Kane (Blackburn, loan), Billy Clifford (Colchester, loan), Sam Walker (Colchester, loan), Lucas Piazon (Malaga, loan).
Outs Ryan Dickson (Bradford City, loan), Sam Hoskins (Stevenage, loan)
THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Michael Oliver is the official for his third Chelsea match this term. He was the referee in our 1-0 win against Stoke at Stamford Bridge in September and our defeat at West Bromwich Albion in November.
There are no suspensions.
Chelsea failed to make the most of our game in hand by letting a two-goal half-time lead slip.
On a freezing night at Stamford Bridge, it was a performance that never managed to catch fire but after Demba Ba hit his first goal in front of the home fans and Eden Hazard rifled in a second goal, the three points looked secure. But substitute Rickie Lambert was able to head the visitors back into the match soon after the interval, and a powerful finish by Jason Puncheon punctured Chelsea hopes with quarter of an hour left to play.
Gary Cahill returned from paternity leave with Branislav Ivanovic the player making way. David Luiz was again in defence and there was just one further change - Oscar coming in for Ryan Bertrand. Frank Lampard and Ramires continued as the two deeper central midfielders.
Southampton, as they did in our FA Cup meeting, preferred Jay Rodriguez to Rickie Lambert in attack. Jos Hooiveld replaced injured captain Jose Fonte in defence. Nathaniel Clyne was right-back so Jack Cork moved in to midfield with James Ward-Prowse making way.
In the end it didn't prove the case but at the start of this game, scoring the first goal looked to be the key to avoiding nights like the ones against QPR and Swansea earlier this month. Chelsea's first move of note came on four minutes. Hazard hurdled a challenge to set the side on the attack, Ba continuing the advance with a ball into the box that eventually came the way of Oscar - but the Brazilian's connection was not clean and his shot was stabbed wide.
Then on nine minutes, following a typical Ramires burst upfield, Ba again fired the ball low into the box and our current hot striker, Mr Own-Goal, almost added to his recent tally but the ball bounced wide after striking a Saints defender.
It was a tame opening to the game however, and there was a hint of a threat from the visitors on quarter of an hour when Puncheon got above Ashley Cole to head a cross but he couldn't trouble Cech.
Creativity was at a premium at this stage and instead it was endeavour from Lampard that gave birth to the opening goal on 24 minutes. The captain on the night kept the ball and drove forward despite plenty of close attention on the right of the penalty area. He passed back into space behind and Azpilicueta hit a cross that Oscar had to fight hard to knock on. Demba Ba was there and reacted quickly under challenge to sweep the ball home from 15 yards out.
Without adding to the advantage, Chelsea were now largely in control, although Southampton had a chance on 36 minutes, after good hold-up play by Rodriguez. Davis dragged his shot wide when he should have at least been on-target.
In the five minutes before the interval Chelsea sprang into life. Twice there were shooting chances for Lampard; the first after a lovely move was blocked by a defender and with the second, when Mata opened the Saints up on the right, he shot wide.
Hazard was not far away from turning a loose ball in moments later but the Blues had the scent of blood in their nostrils. Ramires picked up another blocked shot on the edge of the area and cracked a shot against the post. Hazard picked the ball up from a similar distance out and smashed it past Artur Boruc for his second goal in two games. It was right on the stroke of half-time. We had breathing space as the teams went down the tunnel to regroup.
With no sign of Southampton getting back into the game, Saints manager Nigel Adkins swapped his strikers, bringing Rickie Lambert on for Jay Rodriguez. It took the substitute just three minutes to find the net.
Right-back Clyne broke free of a tackle by Hazard out on the flank and crossed towards the penalty spot. Lambert, following a possible push on Cahill, was able to head powerfully beyond Cech to reduce the deficit to a single goal once again.
Chelsea responded with pressure on the Saints goal and on 67 minutes Ba let Mata's long chip forward fall over his shoulder but then volleyed over the bar. He had turned a promising ball into a clear chance, but ultimately couldn't supply what would have been a difficult finish.
The next attempt was from a free-kick after Mata had been fouled painfully by Yoshida. Lampard struck it with David Luiz the other option in waiting and with the keeper rooted, the attempt bent a couple of yards off-target.
The Saints levelled the match on 74 minutes, Puncheon powerfully beating Cech from just inside the box. The defence had failed to clear after full-back Luke Shaw had won a race with Azpilicueta and sent the ball across. Puncheon was unmarked, but it needed a quality strike to beat Cech.
Now the pressure was firmly back on the home side. Torres came on for Lampard with 11 minutes to play and went into a wide-right role with Oscar dropping deeper.
The Spaniard shot wide of the near post with five minutes remaining after he had done what looked the harder part of the job, tricking his way past centre-back Hooiveld after Mata's clever supply.
That was the last clear opening of the game. There was brief hope of a penalty after Cahill collided with a defender but it was an optimistic shout. Southampton were tested with high balls into their area in stoppage time, but there were enough red shirts to block when the ball did fall our way.
Despite the imperious away form, it is now three home games without a win at Stamford Bridge. We are now six points behind second-place Manchester City.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Azpilicueta, Cahill, David Luiz, Cole; Ramires, Lampard (c) (Torres 79); Oscar, Mata, Hazard; Ba.
Unused subs Turnbull, Ferreira, Ivanovic, Terry, Bertrand, Marin.
Scorers Ba 25, Hazard 45.
Booked David Luiz 84.
Southampton (4-1-4-1): Boruc; Clyne, Yoshida, Hooiveld, Shaw; Cork; Puncheon, S Davis (Chaplow 66), Schneiderlin (c), Do Prado (Ramirez 73); Rodriguez (Lambert 54).
Unused subs: K Davis, Fox, Ward-Prowse, Seaborne.
Scorers Lambert 57, Puncheon 74.
Referee Michael Oliver.