Inside Track: Chelsea

By SFC Media Wed 11 Apr Saints v Chelsea
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Evening Standard journalist Simon Johnson gives us the lowdown on Chelsea, ahead of their visit to St Mary's this Saturday...

What is the mood and form like at Chelsea right now?

Chelsea are lacking confidence and are having to cope with the reality that, barring a miracle, they won't finish in the top four this season.

2018 has been a bit of a disaster. They have won just five times in their last 20 matches and look a shadow of the side that won the title last year.

What do you think have been the reasons behind their lack of wins recently?

Chelsea have simply not been good enough in defence and attack.

Antonio Conte's side are not clinical in the final third, so even when they've taken the lead in matches, they're not killing teams off. Eden Hazard's form has dipped too.

They have also not kept a clean sheet in their last eight matches and make sloppy mistakes at the back. You can sense opponents no longer fear them.

n'golo kanté has once again shone in midfield, despite having to compensate for a lack of contribution from those alongside him.

simon johnson
evening standard reporter

How do you expect them to approach Saturday’s game tactically?

Barring the odd swap of personnel, I wouldn't expect Conte's favoured 3-4-2-1 formation to change.

Talented young defender Andreas Christensen was rested against West Ham, but it would be surprising if he doesn't get recalled. 

Who are the in-form players right now?

There aren't many to choose from! N'Golo Kante has once again shone in midfield, despite having to compensate for a lack of contribution from those alongside him – Cesc Fàbregas, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Danny Drinkwater.

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César Azplicueta has effectively replaced Gary Cahill as captain and Antonio Rüdiger is playing well in the latter's position. Meanwhile, up until the last two matches, Willian has outshone Hazard of late.

Who else would you say will be key for Chelsea this weekend?

I will pick out two players at opposite ends of the pitch. Firstly, keeper Thibaut Courtois is due a good game. He will not be happy that David de Gea continues to steal the limelight in this country.

Then there is striker Alvaro Morata, who has not really proved a good enough replacement for Diego Costa so far.

He has scored 14 times in all competitions, which is a so-so return for a £58m acquisition, but he is too easily bullied by opposition defenders.

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