Chelsea welcomes Southampton to Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon as Premier League football returns after the international break.
The seventh-placed Blues went into the fortnight on a high after a thumping 4-0 victory over London rivals Crystal Palace that featured a goal on his maiden start from £45million summer signing Ben Chilwell and a top-flight debut for new goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, as well as a brace from Jorginho.
That win was gratefully received by Frank Lampard after the frustration of a penalty shootout loss to Tottenham in the Carabao Cup, a 3-3 League draw against West Brom in which his error-strewn team were three goals down at half-time, and a 2-0 home defeat by Liverpool.
Chelsea will be favourites to overcome a Southampton side that have won two and lost two of their opening four Leagues matches this term, securing back-to-back victories over Burnley and West Brom prior to the international break.
Date, time, and venue
Chelsea vs Southampton is scheduled for a 3 pm BST kick-off on Saturday, October 17.
The match will be behind closed doors at Stamford Bridge with no fans due to being present due to government guidelines regarding coronavirus.
Summer signing Hakim Ziyech could make his League debut for Chelsea after returning from the injury he suffered during pre-season.
Chelsea received a scare last week when Mendy suffered a thigh injury while on international duty with Senegal and returned to the club early.
The issue is not believed to be serious, though could keep the £22m man out of Saturday’s contest, which would open up another opportunity for either the much-maligned Kepa Arrizabalaga or Willy Caballero.
Chilwell did not play for England against Wales or Belgium after a breach of Covid-19 guidelines and withdrew from the squad ahead of Wednesday’s Uefa Nations League tie against Denmark due to the flare-up of a pre-existing foot issue.
Marcos Alonso or Emerson could fill in at left-back if Chilwell is unavailable against Southampton, or else Lampard could play captain Cesar Azpilicueta there with Reece James on the right.
Billy Gilmour is still making his way back from knee surgery, while the Saints will be without midfielder Stuart Armstrong following his positive Covid-19 test.
Ralph Hasenhuttl could opt to hand a Southampton debut to Mohammad Salisu following his summer move from Real Valladolid.
Head to head (h2h) history and results
Of the 42 Premier League meetings between the teams, Chelsea have won 24 and Southampton nine, with nine draws.
Chelsea eased to a 4-1 win at St Mary’s in October 2019, only to lose the return fixture 2-0 on Boxing Day courtesy of goals from Michael Obafemi and Nathan Redmond.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-0 Southampton
Chelsea got back on the right path against Palace, cutting out the woeful defensive errors and at the other end proving as dangerous as many expected them to be following an expensive summer recruitment drive.
Southampton will have confidence after successive wins before the break, but a third victory in a row at Stamford Bridge is likely to prove a tall order.
Comfortable home win.