Southampton-Chelsea Preview

TOM BENNETT (STATS European Football Writer)
The Associated Press

Chelsea will be looking to respond to midweek disappointment as they welcome Southampton to Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Jose Mourinho's side (7-3-2) had picked up just one point from their two league games prior to the recent international break, but appeared to have regrouped with a 3-0 win over West Ham last weekend. However, the Blues were beaten 1-0 away in Basel in the Champions League on Tuesday - their second loss to the Swiss side in the group stage - and Mourinho promised changes in response to the defeat.

"It was a bad performance, a deserved defeat, but because of other results, we qualify. That is the only positive thing," said Mourinho. ''There are lots of matches now. Now it's time for the squad. Now it's time for everybody to feel that they have a chance.

''So when we play now Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday, when we have Southampton, Sunderland and Stoke, that makes 'SSS'. And in the 'SSS' week everybody will have a chance.''

Southampton (6-4-2) have been the surprise package of the Premier League, but go into Sunday's game on the back of only their second loss of the campaign. Last weekend's 2-0 defeat to Arsenal was the first time in nine games the Saints failed to claim a point, but manager Mauricio Pochettino admitted that tiredness may have been a factor - particularly for club captain and new England international, Adam Lallana.

"Adam played two games for the national side and after that he was struggling a little bit physically," Pochettino explained. "There was a certain moment in the game against Chile where he opened up his legs and I think against Arsenal that was causing him some pain.

"There are many games coming up and we have to be careful over how we use our players - not just him but all our players. We have to be careful how we manage the amount of games we have ahead of us."

Chelsea have injury doubts over Samuel Eto'o (groin) and David Luiz (knee), while Martin van Ginkel is out for the season with a knee ligament injury. Southampton have concerns over Luke Shaw (hip), Dejan Lovren (illness), Kelvin Davis (knock) and Jack Cork (ankle), while Guly do Prado (knee) is out.

In the first 12 matches, Southampton have conceded just seven goals and have kept six clean sheets. That record is in stark contrast to their defensive performance in the opening 12 games 2012-13, when they conceded 30 and failed to shut out any of their opponents.

Only Manchester City, with 18 points and 26 goals, have picked up more points and scored more goals at home in the league than Chelsea's 16 and 14 this season, and the west Londoners have scored at least twice in 11 straight games at the Bridge.

Southampton have kept just one clean sheet in their 12 Premier League meetings with Chelsea, but have fared well at Stamford Bridge, getting points in three of their last six visits.

Chelsea failed to beat Southampton in the league last season, drawing 2-2 at the Bridge and losing 2-1 at St Mary's, with Rickie Lambert scoring for the Saints in both matches. However, the Blues did roll to a 5-1 victory in the third round of the FA Cup.

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