St. Mary’s Stadium – Sunday 28th December at 14:05 Live on Sky Sports 1
The two best defenses in the league meet on Sunday as top of the table Chelsea travel to 4th placed Southampton. Both teams enjoyed wins on Boxing Day with Chelsea doing the Saints a favour, defeating West Ham 2-0 and Southampton comfortably beating Crystal Palace 3-1.
Southampton had a great start to the season under Ronald Koeman after many tipped them for relegation after losing many of their top players. The wheels started to come off towards the end of November and into December though as they suffered 4 consecutive league defeats. During this spell they also went out of the Capital One Cup to League One Sheffield Utd. The Saints have showed a lot of character this season and needed to draw on their strength to stop a rapid decent down the table as teams around them have started to hit form. They have since won their last 2 scoring 6 and conceding 1. Southampton have a good home record winning 6 from 9 averaging 2.33 goals per game at St. Mary’s.
The only blip in Chelsea’s season is their 2-1 away defeat to Newcastle a couple of weeks ago. Since that defeat they have won their last 3 league games without conceding and also booked their place in the semi-final of the League Cup. Their win over an in-form West Ham on Boxing day was a strong and classy performance which kept them 3 points clear of second place Man City. Chelsea are the top scorers in the league with 40 goals from their first 18 games, they average 2 goals a game away from home. Their away record is good having not lost in 12 and have won 5 from 9 this campaign.
This should be a close match, both have good attacking options and their home and away goal scoring averages are very good. However, both sides have very strong defenses and this is where I think the game will be won or lost. Chelsea are the better side and will want to keep their 3 point cushion over City. Despite being away, and St Mary’s a tough place to go, I think Chelsea will win this. My recommendation is to back Chelsea to Win @ 1.87. For the brave among you, Chelsea -0.75 @ 2.15 is a good value bet, you will win if they defeat the Saints by 2 or more and win half if they win by just the one goal.
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