EPL WEEK 18! Chelsea VS Southampton - SATURDAY (16/12/2017)

at 10:26 PM, 15/12/2017 (3 months ago)
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Chelsea VS Southampton
Saturday (16/12/2017)
16:00 (WAT)
Antonio Conte expects Chelsea to "suffer" against Southampton on Saturday because of the manner of the Saints' loss to Leicester in midweek.

Mauricio Pellegrino launched a scathing attack on his Southampton players in the aftermath of the club's 4-1 loss to Leicester at St Mary's in midweek, saying his team lacked the necessary concentration and commitment to avoid the heavy defeat.

The Saints did recently draw 1-1 against Arsenal and came to within seconds of securing a similar draw with leaders Manchester City, but saw a 96th-minute Raheem Sterling goal condemn them to a 2-1 loss at the Etihad Stadium.

Southampton, who currently sit just four points above the relegation zone in 11th place in the Premier League standings, will now take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon.

And Conte is wary of the threat Southampton will pose his side this weekend if the Saints show a reaction to their loss to Leicester.

Conte told reporters on Friday: "I can tell you that, for sure, tomorrow the game will be very difficult for us. Because, for me, Southampton are a really good team.

"They have a lot of good players, young players but good players with great futures. I would prefer that Southampton had won the game against Leicester instead of losing in this way, 4-1 at home.

"I heard the interview post-game from the coach, from Pellegrino, and we must pay great attention. This team are very strong. They're a good team. The players are very fast. They can play very well on the counter-attack: Austin, Redmond... Tadic. They have a lot of good players. Long, Bouffal... We must pay great attention.

"Tomorrow, my expectation is to suffer. I have this sensation. We must pay great attention tomorrow."

Chelsea have no players currently serving a suspension, but there are a trio of Stamford Bridge stars just one caution away from a ban.

Marcos Alonso, Morata and Antonio Rudiger all have four bookings to their name and will need to make it past a trip to Everton on December 23 without collecting another if they are to clear the first cut off point of the campaign.

Conte has made it clear that he will continue to rotate his squad as the games come thick and fast.

The Blues have five more fixtures to take in before the end of the calendar year, including a Carabao Cup quarter-final clash with Bournemouth, so need to find a way of keeping everybody fresh and avoid any untimely knocks.

If fit, then Morata should come straight back into the starting XI, while the likes of Gary Cahill, Drinkwater and Cesc Fabregas will be pushing for recalls after only making the bench at Huddersfield.

Chelsea possible XI v Southampton

Ryan Bertrand and Oriol Romeu could both line up against their former employers, giving them added motivation to help get the Saints back on track.

Cedric Soares and Shane Long shook off slight knocks to figure against Leicester in midweek and Mauricio Pellegrino has no fresh injury or suspension concerns to contend with.
ruthie at 11:41 AM, 18/12/2017 (3 months ago)
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