PREVIEW: Southampton vs Chelsea

By SFC Media time Sat 27 Dec Men's First team gives you the lowdown on Southampton's Barclays Premier League game against Chelsea at St Mary's on Sunday. (Kick-off 2.05pm GMT).

Saints head into their clash with top of the table Chelsea at St Mary’s off the back of wins against Everton last weekend and Crystal Palace on Boxing Day at Selhurst Park.

Ronald Koeman’s side have responded well to five defeats in a row in all competitions with six goals and six points from their games against the Toffees and Palace.

On Boxing Day, Sadio Mané, Ryan Bertrand and Toby Alderweireld scored the goals to hand Koeman’s side a 3-1 win against Palace, while Chelsea sealed a 2-0 win against West Ham thanks to goals from John Terry and Diego Costa.

The win kept Chelsea three points ahead of title rivals Manchester City, and ensured they made it nine wins from nine at Stamford Bridge so far this season.

José Fonte will be back available for Southampton, but long-term absentees Jay Rodriguez, Jack Cork and Sam Gallagher will be missing.

Chelsea boss José Mourinho will have a fully-fit squad to choose from for the game at St Mary’s.

After finishing third last season in José Mourinho’s first season back in charge, Chelsea have been in fine form this campaign, losing just once so far.

With summer signings Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa, along with Thibaut Courtois returning from his loan at Atletico Madrid and January signing Nemanja Matić, Mourinho’s side have at times looked unstoppable, winning all nine of their home games so far.

Their only defeat came away to Newcastle United earlier this month, with draws coming against Manchester United, Manchester City and Sunderland away from home.

Since that defeat to the Magpies, Mourinho’s men have won all five of their games.

They have carried their form into cup competitions too; advancing to the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup, and reaching the knockout stages of the Champions League, where they will face French champions PSG. 

Ronald Koeman: “It’s a challenge and we will take that after a comfortable win against Crystal Palace. We know we have to be very good for a result but the two wins bring the team a lot of belief and we need that for Chelsea.”

José Mourinho: “For us, every match is important. If the players are in good condition, they play. After the Stoke match on Monday we had three days for the players to recover. Now it’s a different picture as we have only two days before we play Southampton."

Anthony Taylor will be the man in charge of Sunday’s game at St Mary’s. The 36 year-old has been a Premier League referee since 2010, and in 2013 became a listed official for FIFA.

Taylor has refereed 15 games so far this season, handing out 64 yellow cards and a single red card in total. His last Southampton game was Saints’ 1-0 win against Swansea City in May last season.

If you aren’t able to make it to the game at St Mary's, then don’t forget to follow the club’s official channels on social media, with full updates on Twitter and goal updates on Facebook.

You can also listen to commentary by subscribing to Saints Player, while there will also be a live blog running on throughout the game.

Stay tuned to the official website and the club’s YouTube channel for reaction to the game.

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