The Blues will chase the maximum points to Hampshire where they hoping to overtake Manchester City who are second on the log
The Blues begin their hectic fixtures first with a trip to relegation threatened Southampton in a game to be officiated by Atkinson at St Mary’s stadium in what has been tagged a match of contrasting ambitions.
For Southampton, victory in this game will take them steps away from the relegation waters, while a win for the Roman Army will inch them nearer the second position of the league and will place them firmly for a bid for a Champions League spot.
Chelsea may be tempted to field a less strong team due to a crunch game to be played against Manchester United on Easter Monday, the FA Cup replay.
Online bookmakers, Ladbrokes believes Benitez men will come out tops in this crucial game tipping them as favourites at 19/20 (1.95) to consolidate on their quest for a Champions League finish as well as continuing their fine run in the top flight.
On the other hand, the home team are available at 13/5 (3.60), a result that could prevent them from going on relegation and also to record their first win over the London club for the first time in ten years. The fixture is poised for a draw at 13/5 (3.60) which is likely.
Prior to the international break, Southampton recorded a shock victory over Liverpool and they will be hoping to continue in this stead. Mauricio Pochettino is likely to field the same team that whipped the Reds except for Jose Fonte who is in pole position to replace injured Jos Hooiveld.
Demba Ba of Chelsea is at 9/5 (5.50) with Ladbrokes to find the back of the net first while Fernando Torres is 5/1 (6.00) to get the curtain raiser. Rickie Lambert who is the highest scoring Englishman in the Premier League this season having scored 13 times is available at 7/1 (8.00).
Also, Frank Lampard , who has five goals in seven games, scored his 200th Chelsea goal in his last outing and can be found at 7/1 (8.00) to score for the third time in a row at St Mary’s Stadium. He is two goals short of becoming Chelsea’s all time leading goal scorer.
The last time the teams met the Saints conjured up a stunning second-half comeback to claim a deserved two all draw at the Bridge. However, it proved to be Nigel Adkins’ final match in charge as he was controversially sacked just a few days later.
A bet on over 2.5 goals would have paid out in six of Southampton’s last seven games, as well as each of their last five encounters against Chelsea.
With Benitez’s side boasting a number of irrepressible attacking players, it makes sense to back that market on Saturday, at inviting 37/20 (2.85) odds.