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
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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.