Jose Mourinho's Chelsea (12-4-3) have won three of their four games over the Christmas period, only dropping points in a goalless draw with league leaders Arsenal, and find themselves two points off the top of the table going into the second half of the season.
In his second go-round at Stamford Bridge, Mourinho has gotten immediate results while trying to put together a team that plays an attacking and intricate style of football. Central defender John Terry believes the recent run of results has shown the old guard still have plenty of impact left to make.
"The older boys in the squad have still got a lot to give, we see that every week," the captain said after Sunday's 2-1 win over Liverpool. "There is new talent coming through the squad and one day it will come to an end, we all realise that, but it certainly won't be for the want of trying from us.
"The manager has been asking for togetherness from everyone. Whether you play or you are on the bench, everyone's got a part to play. When the guys are not playing it's important they maintain their fitness and their sharpness and I think we have seen that in the last few games."
Southampton (7-6-6) started the season in phenomenal form under Mauricio Pochettino, but have slumped back to the middle of the table with just five points in eight games since early November. The Saints have been beaten by Everton and Spurs over the Christmas period, but their young manager has urged the players to stick to their style and try again on New Year's Day.
"We just need to recover as soon as possible and fully focus on the game that's coming very quick, very soon," Pochettino said. "The calendar is very tough of late. We're facing the top sides but we're able to maintain our style; we're able to maintain our performances, our philosophy of football. Again, the results are not coming our way but at least we're keeping the same performances and same style.
"Now, we're facing Chelsea and that's going to be another tough game. We hope to face this game as confident as possible. It's clear that Chelsea are a top side, a great team. They have great, talented players and it's going to be another competitive game against them this time around."
Southampton have injury doubts over Pablo Osvaldo (knock), while Victor Wanyama (calf) and Artur Boruc (hand) are out. Chelsea have doubts over Frank Lampard, Branislav Ivanovic (knee) and Ryan Bertrand.
Chelsea came from behind to beat Southampton 3-1 in early December. Jay Rodriguez put the Saints ahead after 13 seconds before the Blues even touched the ball. The Saints led for nearly an hour before Gary Cahill scored, and Terry put the Blues ahead seven minutes later. Demba Ba scored on 90 minutes to secure the three points for Chelsea.
Southampton started the season with six clean sheets in their opening nine games, but have kept just one in 10 matches since, conceding 17 goals. Pochettino's side have just one win in their last eight, and are winless in three at St Mary's.
Mourinho's side are unbeaten in four and have won six of eight. Despite meeting two of the highest scoring teams in the division over Christmas (Arsenal and Liverpool), Chelsea have conceded just one goal in their last three matches.
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- Jose Mourinho
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