Chelsea head into their Premier League fixture with Southampton on Tuesday evening looking to make further progress up the standings.
At a time when Chelsea sit in sixth position on the back of the weekend’s win over Leicester City, 14th-placed Southampton can move ahead of their next opponents with success at St Mary’s.
Southampton vs Chelsea preview
Having been forced to sit in the stands due to his one-game touchline ban, Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel was provided with a different perspective when it came to assessing his players at the weekend.
The needless dismissal of Conor Gallagher would have infuriated him, but the response with 10 men would have provided reassurance about the character of a squad in transition.
More fresh faces will be coming through the door at Chelsea over the coming days, most likely starting with Wesley Fofana from Leicester now that a fee has allegedly been verbally agreed.
However, Tuchel was desperate to see improvements from his current crop, with Raheem Sterling delivering his first two goals in a Chelsea shirt and goalkeeper Edouard Mendy making up for his error against Leeds United in the previous game.
In the short term, Chelsea need to ensure that a five-point gap to leaders Arsenal does not get any wider, although Tuchel will want his players to focus on one match at a time as they bid to cut out errors and be more clinical in the final third.
Chelsea Team News
Chelsea will be without Gallagher as the midfielder serves his one-match ban for two yellow cards versus the Foxes.
Kalidou Koulibaly will return from his own suspension and that could lead to Tuchel reverting to a back three, with Trevoh Chalobah retaining his spot on the right-hand side.
Marc Cucurella may be given a rest, allowing Ben Chilwell to return at left wing-back, but Mateo Kovacic may again be left to make an impact from the substitutes’ bench having made his comeback from a knee issue at the weekend.
Southampton vs Chelsea predicted lineups
Southampton possible starting lineup:
Bazunu; Walker-Peters, Bella-Kotchap, Salisu, Djenepo; Ward-Prowse, Lavia; A.Armstrong, Aribo, Elyououssi; Adams
Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Mendy; Chalobah, Silva; Koulibaly; James, Jorginho, Loftus-Cheek, Chilwell; Mount, Sterling; Havertz
Southampton vs Chelsea prediction
We say: Southampton 1-1 Chelsea
Although Chelsea came through with three points at the weekend, they had to work with 10 men for over an hour. Also taking their less recovery time into consideration, we are backing Southampton to earn a share of the spoils, potentially even maximum points if they are more ruthless in the final third.