Match Preview

PMB: Chelsea v Southampton - matchday

The final part of the Pre-Match Briefing gets you ready for today's game...


• The reduced availability of Chelsea’s forwards has not eased just yet. Alvaro Morata is fit again but Olivier Giroud sustained an ankle injury against Crystal Palace while scoring a goal ruled out for offside. However, should Maurizio Sarri revert to Hazard in the middle of a front three, the Belgian will be playing opposition against whom he has scored four goals and set-up three in his past six matches.


• N’Golo Kante’s decisive finish, his third league strike, made this his best season for goals as a professional footballer. A third of the World Cup-winner’s career tally of nine has come this season, defying those who doubted his ability to add to his game in a new role. The splendidly measured pass to set up the Frenchman was David Luiz’s first assist of the season.


• Danny Ings, Stuart Armstrong and Nathan Redmond are likely to be restored to the starting line-up after sitting out all or part of Sunday’s 3-1 home defeat by Man City. Ralph Hasenhuttl used a 4-3-2-1 with a diamond upfront against the champions and may retain that formation this evening. They press aggressively at both ends of the pitch.

• Influential midfield skipper Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg returned from suspension at the weekend, scored, then promptly earned a new ban. Southampton were without one of Chelsea’s heroes of Munich, Ryan Bertrand, so erstwhile Fulham midfielder Matt Targett filled in. Their other regular full-back, Cedric Soares, is a doubt tonight.

• No team has let slip as many points after leading in matches as the 15 lost by the Saints, who have also conceded more than twice as many goals as Chelsea.

Matchday weather outlook

Chilly and dry at the Bridge tonight.

MORE FROM CHELSEA