What a difference a few games can make. Earlier on in the season, Southampton were flying high and no one fancied going to St. Mary’s. Then there was the injury to their first choice goalkeeper and now it seems that the south coast side are in a free fall.
Now mid table, they are closer in points to Swansea and Stoke than they are Everton and Liverpool. In fact, if manager Mauricio Pochettino cannot right the ship quickly, you may see them enter the relegation battle. Certainly their form of five points from the last 18 on offer is not good. That said, a defeat here wouldn’t be the end of the world. I think the next two league games are both must-wins, though, or the relegation battle could become a reality.
For Chelsea, they were lucky with decisions against Liverpool this previous Saturday and for Jose Mourinho to say what he did afterwards was pure showmanship had no basis in reality. The Christmas gain will count for nothing if they lose here, though, and the last time they lost in the league was away from home at a struggling side Stoke City.
Both sides will go into the New Year with some big players injured, but Chelsea certainly have the squad to cope with their missing guys more than Southampton. With the reports today stating the losses at the London club in the multiple millions, it will be vital that they keep in as many competitions for as long as they can.
Jason Bardwell is a Soccer writer for Rant Sport. You can follow him on Twitter @PACityboy or on www.facebook.com/jasonbardwell1979.