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.
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.