Chelsea host Southampton on Saturday afternoon, with the visitors still chasing a first league win of the season.
Here’s everything you need to know about that meeting at Stamford Bridge:
The high-flying Blues suffered their first real setback of the season at the weekend, as they were deservingly beaten at home by champions Manchester City, with Gabriel Jesus netting the game’s winning goal just after the interval.
While the scoreline may have appeared narrow, in truth Thomas Tuchel’s men were simply outplayed by their opponents, particularly in the first-half, with the choice to continue with the 3-5-2 formation that worked so well against Tottenham somewhat backfiring for the German.
They did no doubt improve after Jesus had put the visitors ahead, with Mateo Kovacic seeing his effort blocked superbly by a sliding Ruben Dias, while Romelu Lukaku had a goal disallowed for offside, yet in truth the game belonged to City and reminded this Chelsea side of the task at hand in trying to topple the division’s dominant force.
As for the defence of their European title, the Blues slipped to a second successive defeat in all competitions after a narrow defeat away at Juventus, with Euro 2020 star Federico Chiesa netting the game’s only goal just ten seconds after the half-time restart.
That trip to Turin saw Tuchel without a number of key men, including England duo Mason Mount and Reece James, with the latter man having been forced off in the weekend defeat. Both are likely to miss the visit of Southampton, although Mount does have a chance of featuring, while N’Golo Kante is also unavailable after testing positive for Covid-19 earlier this week.
Meanwhile, USA international Christian Pulisic is another likely absentee as he recovers from an ankle injury picked up on international duty earlier this month.
The wait for a first league win of the season goes on for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side, as they were undone by a stunning solo effort from Raul Jimenez on Sunday with Wolverhampton Wanderers running out 1-0 winners at St Mary’s.
The Saints had 18 shots in that defeat, yet simply couldn’t find a way past opposition ‘keeper Jose Sa, the Portuguese summer signing notably denying Che Adams from close range, while also turning Tino Livramento’s drilled effort behind for a corner.
Having come up short again, the south coast side will no doubt be beginning to worry about when that first win will eventually come, as they are currently one of five sides in the league who have yet to taste victory thus far.
A trip to Stamford Bridge is far from the ideal place to attempt to alter that stat, although Southampton can take heart from their visit to the Etihad a week ago, where they produced a spirited display to hold Manchester City to a goalless draw.
A similar showing is likely needed this weekend, although Hasenhuttl does have a few injury concerns to contend with, namely defender Jack Stephens who is facing an extended spell on the sidelines, while Scotland international Stuart Armstrong is also a doubt.
Elsewhere, Theo Walcott is also potential doubt having not featured since the 8-0 win over Newport County back in August due to a muscle injury. The game will, however, see teenage full-back Livramento come up against his former club, with the in-form 18-year-old having departed the Blues in the summer.
Southampton 1-1 Chelsea, 20 February 2021
The two sides had previously played out a thrilling early-season 3-3 draw at Stamford Bridge in a game perhaps typical of the Frank Lampard era, with Chelsea’s then leaky defence conceding a 92 minute Jannik Vestergaard goal to drop two points.
With Thomas Tuchel in charge when the two sides met again in February, that backline was no longer quite so open, although Southampton did still manage to strike an early blow, with on-loan Liverpool man Takumi Minamino firing in midway through the first-half.
That lead lasted until just the 54th minute, however, as the visitors struck back, Mason Mount cooly converting from the penalty spot after having been fouled by a rash challenge from Danny Ings.
The now-departed Vestergaard almost snatched a win late on yet saw his header strike the crossbar, with both sides forced to settle for a point, bringing an end to the hosts club-record run of six successive top-flight defeats.
Chelsea: Mendy; Azpilicueta, Silva, Christensen, Rudiger, Alonso; Kovacic, Jorginho; Havertz, Ziyech, Lukaku
Southampton: McCarthy; Livramento, Bednarek, Salisu, Walker-Peters; Elyounoussi, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Djenepo; Adams, A Armstrong
Who is the referee?
What channel is Chelsea v Southampton on?
Irish readers can watch the match on Premier Sports, although the game is not available to watch, or stream, in the UK.
What time is kick off?
Saturday 2 October, 15:00 BST
Chelsea – 1/3
Southampton – 15/2
Draw – 4/1