Chelsea lost at Southampton last season and captain John Terry has warned it can ill afford a repeat at St Mary's on New Year's Day.
Mauricio Pochettino's Southampton started the season in fine form, but it has now dropped down to ninth after winning just one of its last eight Premier League games.
Chelsea beat fellow title hopefuls Liverpool on Sunday to make it three wins in its last four top-flight games and it is now third, just two points behind leaders Arsenal.
The London club has already beaten Southampton 3-1 at Stamford Bridge this term, but Jose Mourinho's side had to come from behind after Jay Rodriguez scored just 15 seconds into the game at the start of December.
Terry scored in that victory, and the skipper was also on target at St Mary's last season, but his goal was in vain as the home side ran out 2-1 winners.
And the former England center back has seen enough of Pochettino's charges to know his side must not be taken lightly as he targets another Premier League title.
"It's going to be tough because they're very good at home and it proved a difficult game here (Stamford Bridge) when they scored pretty early," Terry told Chelsea's official website. "They are a good footballing side, very much like Liverpool, who try and play out from the back so we're expecting a tough game."
Chelsea boss Mourinho will be without Frank Lampard (muscular injury), Branislav Ivanovic (knee) and Marco van Ginkel (knee) for the trip to the south coast.
David Luiz also misses out as he serves a one-match ban after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season in Sunday's 2-1 win over Liverpool, but Ramires returns from a suspension of his own.
Southampton has not won at home since easing to a 4-1 victory over Hull City on November 9 and Pochettino knows they will be up against it in their first game of 2014.
"It's clear that Chelsea are a top side, a great team. They have great, talented players. We learned a lot from that game (at Chelsea). It was a very competitive game and it's going to be another competitive game against them this time around," he said. "There are many factors that happened during that game to balance the end result of the game. We know them well and we’re more than aware that we’re going to be facing a very tough team."
Striker Pablo Daniel Osvaldo (illness) will be monitored ahead of the game, but goalkeeper Artur Boruc (hand), midfielder Victor Wanyama (fractured leg) and striker Guly do Prado (knee) will not feature.
Midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin will return after missing Sunday's defeat at Everton through suspension.
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