Chelsea v Southampton 
Tuesday April 25, 19:45
Live on Sky Sports 1


Things could have hardly gone any better for Chelsea on Saturday in the FA Cup against Tottenham. They won the game convincingly and Antonio Conte was able to do so whilst resting Eden Hazard and Diego Costa. The two came on in the second-half and were instrumental in the Blues winning but won't have dispensed much energy so should be fresh and raring to go for this one. 

Better still, the win was against the very side that is breathing down their necks in the league which will have somewhat knocked Spurs' confidence, despite what Mauricio Pochettino says. 

The one and only ongoing concern is Chelsea's inability to keep a clean sheet. It was admittedly unlikely they were going to keep one against the side that is officially the second best in the country but Conte will be working overtime trying to work out how a side that kept six consecutive league shut-outs (across October and November) has gone so cold. 

Gary Cahill will slot back into the back three if fit to play. The only other selection dilemmas will be whether to play Pedro or Willian now that Hazard is back. Cesc Fabregas might get a recall at the expense of Nemanja Matic, despite the Serbian's Saturday wondergoal, if the Italian manager decides he needs some fresh legs in the engine room.


It's been a promising first season for Claude Puel. As has often been the case with the Saints over the last few years, they have a strong defence capable of going on runs where they conceded very few goals, especially at home. 

Nathan Redmond and Dusan Tadic offer a good combination of raw pace and creativity on the wings and January signing Manolo Gabbiadini almost guarantees you goals with Shane Long and Charlie Austin providing decent cover. 

The one area they might look to in terms of strengthening the squad is in the heart of midfield, where Steven Davis and Oriel Romeu are solid but not much more than that. They may need some extra quality there if they're to kick on.

Match Odds 

Well you'd think that the league leaders would win at odds of 1.43 against a side with little to play for. 

But Southampton picked up an excellent point at the Etihad back in October, lost to a last minute penalty at Arsenal in September and beat both Liverpool and the Gunners in the Capital One Cup away from home. So they have a little bit of previous in terms of denying the big guns away from home.
Certainly enough to think that a slightly fatigued Chelsea don't rate as value at that price.

Match Odds and over 2.5 goals 

I'd feel much better about taking the 23/20 on Betfair Sportsbook on Home Win + over 2.5 goals. Recent stats suggest this won't be the match Chelsea finally turn the corner in terms of not conceding and that they'll have to do things the hard way. 

Then again, a refreshed Hazard and Costa could cause havoc and go some way to right the wrongs of that Old Trafford defeat from a week and a half ago. Meaning that 3-0 isn't out of the equation, either.

That was actually the last scoreline of Southampton's when they lost to Man City last weekend and is considerably less likely than 2-1 or 3-1. But it's good to have all those bases covered in this selection.

To Score 

Quotes of around 4.00 are fair on Gabbiadini, who was in excellent form before getting injured and understandably took a while to get back to full fitness. No reason why he can't return to goalscoring ways here. Dusan Tadic is a decent alternative - if you fancy a Southampton player - at around 5.50

Pedro and Willian have both looked lively in recent weeks - the Brazilian scored twice in Saturday's win - but as mentioned already, it's likely only one of the two will start. So you're best off waiting for the line-ups before taking 3.20on either of them. 

But with Diego Costa going through a lean spell, the best bet is Hazard. He has four goals from his last four matches. He was pretty quiet against United but everyone's allowed a below-par performance now and then and credit to Ander Herrera for man-marking him so well. The 23/20 on Betfair Sportsbook may actually be a rare case of you getting a bigger price there than what you might get on the Exchange. 

Ref Watch 

Lee Mason takes charge. He averages 3.4 yellows a game and has sent off just two players in 21 matches this season. He showed no cards at all last time out when refereeing Watford v Swansea so all in all, we shouldn't expect a high card count.

Recommended Bets
1pt Back Home win + Over 2.5 goals @ 23/20 on Betfair Sportsbook 
1pt Back Eden Hazard to score @ 23/20 on Betfair Sportsbook 

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