Chelsea v Southampton: Conte’s men have momentum again

Published by on April 25, 2017

As Nemanja Matic blasted the ball in off the bar at Wembley, there was something about the dejected expression of Mauricio Pochettino that made it feel like Chelsea’s 4-2 victory in the FA Cup was a big turning point.

The reality, of course, is that it should have no bearing on the title race, but the momentum is suddenly with the Blues again as they prepare to face Southampton.

Antonio Conte made the brave decision to start Eden Hazard and Diego Costa on the bench against Tottenham, so the pair should be fresh especially having avoided extra time.

The Saints’ record against Chelsea isn’t as bad as one might expect – in their last nine meetings in the Premier League, they’ve won two, drawn three, and lost four.

Yet, Claude Puel’s men are notoriously difficult to second-guess. Southampton have to be one of the league’s most erratic sides, though it has to be said they’ve taken just two points off the top six teams this season.

Chelsea, meanwhile, will be desperate to bounce back from their last league outing, which saw them suffer defeat to Manchester United. The big problem for Conte’s side has been keeping clean sheets, though their opponents on this occasion have failed to score in two of their last four games.

Ultimately, the bookmakers aren’t holding out much hope for Southampton, with Chelsea at 2/5 to win. One of the more interesting options is Diego Costa to score and win at evens, as the striker has been in poor form.

Conte’s decision to initially rest him against Spurs may have had an effect, though, and he’s at 5/2 to score alongside Eden Hazard.

Chelsea are at 6/4 to win 1-0, 2-0, or 2-1 in the correct score market, as they aren’t expected to run riot – but they are still set to take another huge step towards the title.