This Sunday, Chelsea welcome Ronald Koeman’s Southampton to Stamford Bridge, as Jose Mourinho will expect an instant response from his side after their shock Champions League exit.
The Blues were eliminated from the competition after losing to Paris Saint-Germain on the away goal rule in the last-16 round, following a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge (with the aggregate score stood at 3-3).
Chelsea failed to capitalise upon Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s controversial red card in the 31st minute for a challenge on Oscar, and despite goals from Gary Cahill and Eden Hazard, the Blues were undone by headed efforts from former Blue David Luiz and Thiago Silva.
Jose Mourinho could only congratulate the French outfit, and stated that they “deserved it”, before adding that “when a team can’t defend two corners and concedes two goals to corners they don’t deserve to win.”
The defeat only came 10 days after Chelsea’s Capital One Cup triumph over Tottenham, and with the London club five points clear of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League with 11 matches remaining, there is still reason for Mourinho and his side to be optimistic.
Southampton will go into this game following a run of inconsistent form. Prior to their 1-0 win over Crystal Palace last Tuesday, the Saints lost to West Brom and Liverpool, and drew against West Ham at home.
Such form has seen Ronald Koeman’s side lose their grip upon the top-four positions, and drop down to 7th in the league.
The Southampton manager has previously made reference to the importance of securing Champions League football, stating that it is “always maybe an important reason for a player to stay or not to stay”, and as a result, he will hope that his side can come away from Stamford Bridge with a positive result.
Chelsea are still without John Obi Mikel who has been suffering from a knee injury, while Nemanja Matic aggravated an ankle injury against PSG and may be replaced by Kurt Zouma.
Ronald Koeman will not be able to call upon Emmanuel Mayuka or Jay Rodriguez, who are both still injured.
John Terry has insisted that the Champions League exit has the made the Blues even “hungrier”, and as a result, a Chelsea win is likely.
Southampton’s Probable XI: Forster, Clyne, Fonte, Yoshida, Bertrand, Davis, Wanyama, Schneiderlin, Elia, Pelle, Mane