Chelsea have made a swift start to the new year having completed the first major deal of this transfer window. Christian Pulisic has been signed on as a Chelsea player in a whopping €64 million deal. But the American superstar will not be seen playing in a blue jersey just yet, with the player set to spend the season at Borussia Dortmund before making the switch in the summer.
But Sarri and his men will have their eyes firmly set on the task at hand right now. The Blues welcome Southampton at Stamford Bridge tonight with 3 important points to play for. Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur’s convincing wins have put pressure on the other teams in and around the Top 4 to produce results.
Southampton have looked better under their new manager Ralph Hassenhuttl but the Austrian will be eager to translate those performances into more points. But such a scenario might have to wait. Chelsea have won their last 7 matches against Southampton and look odds-on to carry that streak forward especially being at home.
CHELSEA TEAM NEWS
Sarri’s injury issues have been compounded with Olivier Giroud spotted on crutches after the win against Crystal Palace. He will miss the game tonight. Ruben Loftus-Cheek (back), Cesc Fabregas (neck) and Danny Drinkwater will be assessed ahead of the match but are unlikely to be risked. Callum Hudson-Odoi is also unlikely to be fit along with Pedro, who is definitely out.
PREDICTED CHELSEA LINEUP TO FACE SOUTHAMPTON (4-3-3)
Kepa Arrizabalaga kept a welcome sheet against the Eagles and will be confident of doing the same against a Saints side who have collected 6 points out of a possible 15 under their new manager.
The backline is unlikely to be tinkered with especially with 3 points almost imperative. Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso should line up as the fullbacks with Antonio Rudiger and David Luiz manning the central defence.
Jorginho is likely to start once again. He was excellent in the last game recording 150 passes of his own. N’Golo Kante was the match winner and despite being played out of position, his importance to the team has not diminished this season. Mateo Kovacic got the day off last time around but he is expected to be reinstated to the starting lineup in place of Ross Barkley.
Eden Hazard did not have the best of games against Palace but he will have to step up with Chelsea facing an injury crisis in attack. Willian is also looking out of sorts but should be handed the perfect opportunity to get over this dull phase. With Giroud injured, we might see Alvaro Morata start a game after a long time. With the January window open, there will be even more attention on him and it will be up to the Spaniard to silence his detractors.