PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: CHELSEA V SOUTHAMPTON - PART TWO
With a day to go before Chelsea are back in action on home turf, club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton complete their look ahead to the league fixture against the south coast side…
WE HAVE HISTORY
Saints have avoided defeat in three of their last five visits to the Bridge. They first visited the Bridge in Division Two during the 1924/25 having switched from the Southern League to Third Division South four years earlier.
As with West Ham away, Chelsea's highest score at home to the Hampshire club is 4-0, first managed in the tumultuous 1973/74 season under Dave Sexton. In mid-table Chelsea's ranks was Peter Osgood - the iconic Blue playing one of his last games before a switch south to join Lawrie McMenemy's Southampton.
Young midfielder Ian Britton opened the scoring inside five minutes to set up the visitors' first league defeat since September.
Next, blond bombshell Chris Garland galloped down the left wing, cut inside and fizzed his shot past Eric Martin from distance. That was his first of the season.
Another member of the newish guard, Steve Kember (pictured below), made the result certain with two goals in three minutes. The first was a powerful shot after a corner, the second an alert interception and tap-in from close range. The epitome of the old guard, Peter Bonetti, also celebrated his 600th appearance with a clean sheet.
'Things are beginning to come right now and with these two [Osgood and Tommy Baldwin] showing the way, the other players are coming through to score,' claimed Sexton afterwards, full of praise for the pair's work rate.
Sadly the relationships soon deteriorated again and Ossie was placed on the transfer list alongside Alan Hudson. Osgood eventually left for the Dell in March 1974 in exchange for £275,000 and helped them lift the FA Cup in 1976.
The Saints 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 Southampton a stunning 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.
Chelsea last beat Southampton at home in August 2004 in Jose Mourinho's fourth game in charge. James Beattie opened the scoring in the first minute before scoring an own goal after 34 minutes. Frank Lampard scored the winner with a penalty four minutes before half time. Steve Wigley was the Saints boss.
Our last 10 league meetings at Stamford Bridge
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
2012/13 - Drew 2-2
Other matches last season
5 January 2013 FA Cup third round
Rodriguez 21 Ba 35, 61
Lampard 82 pen
30 March 2013 Barclays Premier League
Rodriguez 23 Terry 32
Chelsea v Southampton in all competitions
Games played 91
Chelsea wins 36
Saints wins 29
Head to head in the League at Stamford Bridge
Games played 39
Chelsea wins 18
Saints wins 10
Biggest league win at Stamford Bridge for each team
Chelsea 4-0 Southampton24/11/1973, 01/05/2004
Chelsea 2-6 Southampton02/09/1967
Chelsea beat Saints at the Bridge: 3,382
Saints won at Stamford Bridge:4,352
Arsenal won a trophy: 3,116
Liverpool won the league: 8,611
After such a fine run recently, Mauricio Pochettino's Southampton team are unified and play without fear. They harass opponents high up the pitch with intensity and aggression. They hunt in packs and are adept at increasing pressure on the man with the ball by blocking passing options.
In Pochettino's system, should one Saint turn sinner and not play his part, the whole strategy can be undermined and it does expend enormous energy over 90 minutes - let alone the nine months of a season. The workload has not been spread very widely, and one of those to have missed out so far is former Blue Jack Cork - a welcome back to the Bridge to him.
The tactics also require players, notably full-backs, to push forward leaving Saints vulnerable to counter attacks so they work hard to interrupt the opposition in these moments. As Basel have shown in both games, little fouls to take the momentum out of opponents' attack rarely result in yellow cards, no matter how frequent.
Southampton have committed the most fouls in the Premier League but only four teams have been shown fewer yellow cards than their 16 so far.
Jose Mourinho has set his team up in a 4-3-3 in the last two matches, one highly successful, one not so much. John Mikel Obi became bogged down by Basel and moves were rarely initiated through Frank Lampard or Ramires. Central midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin (pictured below right), who leads much of Saints' pressing, is likely to be Mikel's biggest problem in that system.
Whether he retains the same formation or reverts to 4-2-3-1 the Portuguese manager will want his team to demonstrate more urgency and accuracy in passing, faster movement, and greater efficiency in front of goal. Chelsea also have individuals who when on form can beat or play around any opponent to overload areas where Southampton are week, especially the flanks, with their pushed-on backs.
Samuel Eto'o's muscle injury on Tuesday evening could not have come at a busier time for the Blues, who face nine matches in December. Happily Fernando Torres returned from a spell on the sidelines the same evening and Demba Ba has been used only sparingly so far this season. Ba has a record of three goals in his two games against Saints for Chelsea. Lampard has netted four times in five league matches.
Southampton have the best defensive record in the top flight, having conceded just seven times compared to Chelsea's and Arsenal's 10. However, there was evidence last weekend that cracks may be appearing in their solid rearguard.
A misjudgement by normally reliable goalie Artur Boruc led directly to the first of two goals for the Gunners last weekend. He may not attempt multiple 'Cruyff turns' against a striker in his own area again, but had elected to do that in response to the Arsenal front four quickly closing down his options when Nathaniel Clyne passed to him. Clyne and Luke Shaw laying the ball back to the keeper is usually the cue for Southampton players to charge upfield.
The second came from the penalty spot after centre-back Jose Fonte foolishly tugged a shirt defending a corner.
Despite the prowling presence of in-form Adam Lallana, Jay Rodriguez and the powerful Rickie Lambert - who netted home and away against the Blues last season - Saints have managed fewer accurate shots than any top-half team and only Manchester United have been caught offside more often.
Mourinho will also hope to unnerve the influential deep-lying midfielder Victor Wanyama, who is one yellow away from a suspension. He has been penalised 32 times for fouls this season - 60 per cent more than the closest Chelsea offenders. The Kenyan was sent off twice playing for Celtic last season, one a two-footed lunge against Rangers. He is one of three summer signings, along with defender Dejan Lovren and striker Dani Osvaldo, who have proved decent investments to date.
Mindful of Wednesday's trip to face a Sunderland side handed 24 hours longer to recover, Mourinho is likely to ring changes in the attacking midfield positions, with Juan Mata and Andre Schurrle, uninvolved in the Basel match, likely candidates for action.
Having been dismayed by the 'falling asleep' that led to Basel's surprising late goal, the Chelsea boss may also shake up his back four, with Ashley Cole a possible returnee, in which case Cesar Azpilicueta could revert to right-back. David Luiz's knee injury has not recovered sufficiently for him to be considered in the centre.