Southampton will look to continue an impressive home record against the Premier League heavyweights this season as they face up to the visit of an in-form Chelsea. The Saints had just been looking over their shoulder after a tough run of results but the 3-1 victory over Liverpool in their last fixture just eased the pressure slightly, though Mauricio Pochettino’s men remain just four points above the drop zone.
The Argentine has doubts over Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw and Jos Hooiveld ahead of the visit of the European champions though he could give a Southampton debut to defender Vegard Forren, who has yet to play since signing on at St Mary’s January despite playing for Norway in the week.
Chelsea meanwhile appear to have shrugged off the pressure and speculation surrounding interim boss Rafa Benitez’s future and have put together an impressive run of form since losing 2-0 at Manchester City in late February, with progress in the league, FA Cup and Europa League.
Indeed, with the Blues facing an FA Cup quarter final replace just 48 hours after the clash with Southampton, Benitez could look to rotate his squad for the visit to St Mary’s. Gary Cahill and Ramires may be given a chance to prove their fitness after missing their respective international matches with thigh and knee injuries respectively.
John Terry is available though it remains to be seen whether Benitez will choose to start him on the South Coast with the Manchester United replay looming. Up front, Benitez could choose to rest Demba Ba, who scored twice at Southampton on his Chelsea debut in the FA Cup in January in place of Fernando Torres.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Southampton