Frank Lampard's Chelsea host a resurgent Southampton team on Boxing Day as the Blues go in search of back-to-back Premier League wins.
Lampard got the better of former manager José Mourinho in Chelsea's 2-0 away win at Spurs. This meant they remain in fourth but importantly are now six points clear of Mourinho's side as Chelsea push for Champions League football.
Meanwhile, Southampton beat Aston Villa last time out to climb out of the bottom three. They now sit 17th in the table and will be looking to create more of a gap between them and the sides below them.
The result of this clash will have huge implications on both ends of the table with Chelsea fighting for Europe and the Saints fighting for their Premier League survival.
Where to Watch
|When Is Kick-Off?||Thursday 26th December|
|What Time Is Kick-Off?||15:00 (GMT)|
|Where Is It Being Played?||Stamford Bridge|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||Amazon Prime|
With the busy fixture list well and truly kicking in, Lampard might make a couple of rotational changes to the side that impressed at White Hart Lane. Ruben Loftus-Cheek remains the only player sidelined as Chelsea near a clean bill of health.
However, there could be recalls for Jorginho and Christian Pulisic if Lampard does look to rotate his squad given the busy schedule. Chelsea played with a back three in the win at Spurs so it will be interesting to see whether Lampard sticks with that against Southampton.
The Saints are also coming off an impressive away win and Ralph Hassenhüttl could name an unchanged XI. There are no new injury concerns for the German but he may also look to rotate during the busy festive period too.
Danny Ings will continue to lead the line following his brace against Villa. The former Liverpool and Burnley man has 11 Premier League goals to his name this season.
|Chelsea||Kepa; Tomori, Zouma, Rudiger; Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Kanté, Alonso; Pulisic, Willian; Abraham|
|Southampton||McCarthy; Cedric, Stephens, Bednarek, Bertrand; Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Hojbjerg, Redmond; Long, Ings|Head-to-Head Record
Chelsea have the edge when it comes to this fixture having secured 46 wins to Southampton's 30 with another 29 games ending all square.
Recently, Chelsea have completely dominated meetings between the two sides and are unbeaten against Southampton in the last nine games. The last time the Saints did manage to beat Chelsea was in 2015 in a 3-1 victory at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea had been on an awful run of form prior to beating Spurs and were becoming ever more wary of the chasing pack. They had lost four of their five Premier League games including home losses to West Ham and Bournemouth.
The win against Spurs was crucial. It was only their second win in their last six games but has created separation from the teams below them. They qualified from their Champions League group, too, finishing second in Group H.
Southampton have blown so hot and cold in the last few weeks. They won two important games on the bounce against Norwich and Watford but then lost back-to-back games against Newcastle and West Ham.
However, they beat Aston Villa last time out to climb out the bottom three and leapfrog the Villans. Importantly, they have beaten the three teams below them in the last month to boost their survival chances.
Here are both sides' last five fixtures...
|Tottenham 0-2 Chelsea (22/12)||Aston Villa 1-3 Southampton (21/12)|
|Chelsea 0-1 Bournemouth (14/12)||Southampton 0-1 West Ham (14/12)|
|Chelsea 2-1 Lille (10/12)||Newcastle 2-1 Southampton (8/12)|
|Everton 3-1 Chelsea (7/12)||Southampton 2-1 Norwich (4/12)|
|Chelsea 2-1 Aston Villa (4/12)||Southampton 2-1 Watford (30/11)|
Two sides that are coming off hugely important wins in their seasons. Chelsea will be in high spirits after winning the London derby, especially against Mourinho.
Southampton, however, could prove to be a tricky team to break down. They will be buoyant after a huge win at Villa Park and Danny Ings is a striker bang in form.
The Blues should have just enough to edge this one - but it won't be easy. A Chelsea win as they try to cement their top four position.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 Southampton