Chelsea looking to bounce back
After watching Chelsea’s fast start to the season, plenty of judges decided that Thomas Tuchel’s Champions League winners were actually the team to beat in the Premier League.
But the last week has caused some to revise those opinions.
Losing to title rivals Manchester City last weekend was hardly a shock but the manner of it was somewhat alarming.
Chelsea were completely outplayed at Stamford Bridge, being hounded off the ball and hardly creating anything going forward. After three straight wins over Pep Guardiola, this time Tuchel was outfoxed.
The Blues looked all set to erase that setback when making a bright start to their Champions League clash away to Juventus on Wednesday night.
But the possession never really turned to chances and they were caught cold at the start of the second half by Federico Chiesa. Goal to Juventus and a second straight 1-0 defeat.
With Romelu Lukaku looking frustrated at Chelsea’s slow build up, Tuchel has some thinking to do as he bids to consistently get the best out of his prized striker.
Draws keeping Saints above drop zone
One on hand, it doesn’t look too good for Southampton.
They had a poor second half to last season and six games into this one they’re still without a win.
But you won’t find the Saints in the bottom three because another way of spinning their opening half-dozen games is that they’ve suffered just two defeats.
The first came at Goodison on opening day after they’d led at half-time but since then they’ve eked out four draws. That run includes managing the rare feat of holding Manchester City to a 0-0 draw at the Etihad.
They’ll have to start winning games at some point although this looks a tough place to start.
Southampton aren’t Manchester City or Juventus but, even so, on first glance the Chelsea win price of 1.412/5 looks prohibitive.
The Draw is 5.14/1 while Southampton are 9.617/2 to hand the hosts a third straight defeat.
Intriguingly, recent head-to-head history casts further doubt on the home win.
Southampton are unbeaten in their last three at Stamford Bridge. That includes a 2-0 victory two seasons ago, a wild 3-3 draw last term and a 0-0 stalemate in 2018/19.
The duo also played out a 1-1 draw at St Mary’s in February so Saints are far from ideal opponents for Chelsea to right the ship.
Southampton’s goalless draw at Man City suggests Unders could be worth a look. Overall, it’s landed in four of their six Premier League games so far.
Chelsea are an Unders team too at the moment with seven of their 10 matches in all competitions featuring fewer than three goals. The remainder have featured exactly three.
There’s enough there to play Under 2.5 Goals at 2.1411/10.
One eye-catching stat for Bet Builder purposes is that Southampton are yet to concede a first-half goal this season.
I also think Saints can make life difficult here in which case they can cover the Alternative handicap of +2 Goals which is 8/13.
Put those two elements together – Under 1.5 Goals and Southampton (+2) – and it gets us over even money at 2.111/10.
The Sportsbook has Romelu Lukaku at just 4/6 for an anytime goal but on recent evidence that doesn’t appeal.
It looked as if the Belgian had settled in straight away after four goals in his first four games back at Chelsea following the summer move from Inter.
But the £97.5m striker has fired blanks in his last four games, although one of those was after coming on as a 76th-minute sub.
It’s not as if Lukaku is blazing changes wide or over; more worryingly, he’s just not getting the right service.
Lukaku backers can point to his nine previous goals against Southampton but, for now, things aren’t quite clicking.
Mason Mount‘s return could change that although, at the time of writing, the midfielder still only has a 75% chance of playing.
Definitely out for Chelsea is midfield dynamo N’Golo Kante after a positive COVID test.
Three of Chelsea’s four Premier League defeats under Thomas Tuchel have come in home games. The Blues haven’t lost consecutive league games at Stamford Bridge since December 2019, the second game of which came against Southampton.