​Southampton host Chelsea on Saturday in a crucial game for the Saints' survival hopes. After last Sunday's 1-1 draw at home to West Ham United, Chelsea slipped to ten points behind fourth-placed Spurs with six games to go, conclusively ending their Champions League hopes. 


With Premier League success out of the question, the cup could prove their only respite, with the two sides meeting again at Wembley next weekend for a place in the FA Cup final. League commitments come first on Saturday, however, as Southampton look to move out of the relegation zone, lying three points off safety with a game in hand.


Classic Encounter


The last time the Blues lost to Southampton was in the 2015-16 season, when Ronald Koeman's men came from behind at Stamford Bridge to record a sensational 3-1 win.


Willian put the then-champions in front after 10 minutes with a brilliant free kick, silencing the nerves in west London.  

FBL-ENG-PR-CHELSEA-SOUTHAMPTON

Steven Davis slotted home an equaliser on the stroke of half time before Sadio Mane took advantage of poor defensive errors to sprint clear of the ​Chelsea defence and give the visitors the lead on the hour mark.


Jose Mourinho threw on Loic Remy and Pedro in the hope of finding a much-needed equaliser, but it was Graziano Pelle's clever finish 12 minutes later, which delivered a crucial third goal and hammer blow to secure all three points for Southampton.

Chelsea v Southampton - Premier League

It was the first time the Portuguese manager had seen an away team score more than twice in the ​Premier League over both of his spells at Stamford Bridge, leaving the Blues with eight points from their first eight games.


Mourinho would be gone by December, with the champions in 16th, and interim manager Guus Hiddink steadied the ship in the second half of the season to lead Chelsea to a 10th-place finish.


Key Battles


Alvaro Morata will have to get past Wesley Hoedt, with the Dutchman enjoying a solid debut season in England following his summer move from Lazio.

Arsenal v Southampton - Premier League

Charlie Austin, who scored in last week's 3-2 defeat at ​Arsenal, appears to be coming back into form and could be a huge danger against the brittle Chelsea defence, with Andreas Christensen having difficulties in recent weeks.


Team News


Antonio Conte has no new injury concerns, but has been handed a boost with Ross Barkley nearing a return to full fitness. The Englishman could make the bench, with Davide Zappacosta in contention as well.


For ​Southampton, Jack Stephens begins his suspension after his red card at the Emirates, while Steven Davis picked up a knock in training and is a doubt for Saturday's game. Mario Lemina should return after missing last week's game due to illness.

Chelsea v West Ham United - Premier League


Potential Southampton Lineup: McCarthy; Cedric, Hoedt, Yoshida, Bertrand; Ward-Prowse, Hojbjerg, Romeu, Tadic; Austin, Gabbiadini.


Potential Chelsea Lineup: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Fabregas, Kante, Alonso; Willian, Morata, Hazard.


Prediction


With Chelsea in bad form, having picked one point from their last two home games against Spurs and ​West Ham, Southampton may feel they can get something from a historically tough opponent.


Mark Hughes' men, however, have won only once in their last 19 league games, and their wretched run of form has plunged them right into the heart of the relegation battle.

Chelsea v West Ham United - Premier League

Ahead of the two sides' clash at Wembley in a week's time in the FA Cup semi-final, Antonio Conte's charges should recover some momentum and earn a morale boosting three points at St. Mary's.