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With the Blues remaining unconvincing away from home and Saints boasting a decent record against them, a tight first half looks on the cards

Chelsea's form away from Stamford Bridge has been less than impressive so far this season, with the Blues winning just three of their nine Premier League matches on the road.

Southampton meanwhile had been generally extremely solid at home until the last month, during which time the Saints have lost two and drawn one of their three league matches.

Things could be finely balanced at St Mary's when the two teams meet on New Year's Day, with William Hill pricing Southampton at 5/2 (3.50) for the win, while Chelsea can be backed at evens (2.00). The close nature of the contest is reflected in the same firm's 23/10 (3.30) quotes for the match to end all square.

The price for the Blues might be a little higher than one might initialy have expected, yet their aforementioned travails on their travels mean that punters can double their money by backing them outright.

Yet Jose Mourinho's men do not inspire too much confidence at the moment away from Stamford Bridge, meaning that opposing them in some way might be a better option.

The price of 23/20 (2.15) for the first half to end as a draw looks initially appealing given that this is likely to be a far from straightforward game for the visitors, and becomes even more attractive when taking into account recent results.

This bet has paid out in both of Southampton's last two home games as well as in both of Chelsea previous two away encounters.

Considering that Southampton have caused Chelsea problems in recent years (beating them in the corresponding fixture last season), backing a close first 45 minutes looks to be a shrewd bet and offers the prospect of some extremely healthy returns.

Draw at half time at 23/20 (2.15) for a 2pt stake with William Hill

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