Chelsea will be hoping for some festive cheer at Stamford Bridge on Saturday when they welcome Southampton to west London.
The Blues have been a little up and down of late, with a disappointing derby defeat to West Ham followed by a comfortable victory on the road at Huddersfield.
That success has cemented Antonio Conte’s side inside the Premier League’s top four, but the defending champions have the chasing pack hot on their heels and know they need another positive result against the Saints in order to enter the Christmas period in buoyant mood.
|Game||Chelsea vs Southampton|
|Date||Saturday, December 16|
|Time||15:00 GMT / 10:00 ET|
TV CHANNEL & LIVE STREAM
The game will not be shown live on television in the United Kingdom (UK), but highlights can be caught on the BBC’s Match of the Day programme at 22:20.
In the United States (US), the Premier League can be watched live and on-demand with fuboTV (7-day free trial).
New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser.
SQUADS & TEAM NEWS
|Goalkeepers||Caballero, Courtois, Eduardo|
|Defenders||Rudiger, Alonso, Zappacosta, Cahill, Christensen, Azpilicueta, Luiz, Clarke-Salter, Sterling|
|Midfielders||Fabregas, Drinkwater, Kante, Hazard, Pedro, Bakayoko, Moses, Willian, Scott, Ampadu, Kenedy|
David Luiz is expected to be absent yet again as he continues to struggle with a knee injury, but Alvaro Morata could come back in after sitting out a midweek win over Huddersfield with a back complaint.
Pedro and Willian both impressed in a 3-1 victory over the Terriers, but the likes of Danny Drinkwater and Cesc Fabregas will be pushing for recalls as Antonio Conte continues to rotate during a hectic period of the season.
Potential Chelsea starting XI: .Courtous; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Cahill; Zappacosta, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso; Willian, Hazard, Morata.
|Goalkeepers||Forster, McCarthy, Taylor|
|Defenders||Bednarek, Cedric, Yoshida, Gardos, Van Dijk, Stephens, Pied, Targett, McQueen, Hoedt, Bertrand|
|Midfielders||Davis, Tadic, Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Boufal, Redmond, Hojbjerg, Hesketh, Lemina, Sims|
|Forwards||Long, Austin, Gabbiadini|
Ryan Bertrand and Oriol Romeu could both line up against their former employers, while Cedric Soares and Shane Long shook off slight knocks to figure against Leicester in midweek and Mauricio Pellegrino has no fresh injury or suspension concerns to contend with.
Potential Southampton starting XI: Forster; Stephens, Yoshida, Van Dijk, Bertrand; Romeu, Hojbjerg; Ward-Prowse, Tadic, Redmond; Austin.
BETTING & MATCH ODDS
Chelsea are considered 4/11 favourites to win, with Southampton 15/2 and a draw comes in at 4/1.
With the games continuing to come thick and fast at this time of the year, Chelsea will be eager to establish some pre-Christmas momentum.
A comfortable victory over Huddersfield has the Blues back on track and looking slightly more comfortable inside the Premier League’s top four.
Antonio Conte has, however, already conceded that a successful defence of the English top-flight crown appears to be beyond his side, so priorities may begin to shift at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea remain in the Carabao Cup, with a quarter-final clash with Bournemouth next on their agenda, while there is an eagerly-anticipated last-16 encounter with Barcelona to come in the Champions League.
Southampton have no such distractions, but they are in the midst of the most testing period of their campaign.
The Saints have away dates at Tottenham and Manchester United to come before the end of the calendar year, having already faced Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal and now Chelsea in what will have been a 10-game run when 2018 is welcomed in.