Chelsea will be desperate to bounce back from their midweek defeat to Real Madrid when they travel to Southampton on Saturday. The Spanish giants won the first leg of their Champions League quarter final 3-1 to leave the Blues with a mountain to climb to reach the last four of the competition.
Thomas Tuchel’s side also suffered a 4-1 home defeat to Brentford in their last domestic fixture, and may face a battle to stay in the top four if they don’t arrest their recent slump in form. With Tottenham and Arsenal – who currently occupy fourth and fifth place respectively just five points behind the Blues.
Meanwhile, Southampton are themselves in the midst of a poor run of form after losing four out of their last five matches in all competitions. And despite the Saints having little to play for with the relegation battle and fight to get into Europe not concerning them, the pundits have disagreed on the outcome of their encounter with Chelsea.
Paul Merson – Southampton 1-1 Chelsea
“What a week it’s been for Chelsea, they are in serious disarray after losses against Brentford and Real Madrid across two competitions. Merson wrote in his column for Sportskeeda. “Southampton are a half-decent team and will always have a go regardless of who they face, so I think they can compile Chelsea’s misery this weekend.
“The Blues will have one eye on the second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu, and I don’t think that tie is over yet. The first goal matters and the fact that the away goal rule has been scrapped will work to Chelsea’s advantage. If they score first in Spain, it’s game on.
“At the moment Chelsea are safe in third place, but if they drop points once again and Arsenal beat Brighton, it could turn out to be a problem for them. Spurs also have a decent run coming up, so you never know.”
Mark Lawrenson – Southampton 1-2 Chelsea
“It’s been a bad week for Chelsea, who have conceded seven goals in two home defeats, against Brentford and Real Madrid,” Lawrenson told BBC Sport. “I don’t think anyone expected that, especially the 4-1 loss to the Bees.
“I am expecting a reaction from Thomas Tuchel’s side, though. Southampton are awkward opponents but Chelsea have a point to prove.”