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The Blues good run of form came to a dramatic end with an embarrassing defeat on Wednesday, but Al Hain-Cole expects the return of a few key players to restore normality

Just when it appeared Rafa Benitez might be starting to win the Chelsea fans over with a string of impressive victories, his side went and lost to bottom club QPR in the west London derby.

The interim manager has an almost immediate opportunity to bounce back when his team travel to Southampton on Saturday for their third round FA Cup tie, in a competition that has taken on even greater significance now that the Blues are seemingly out of the title race.

The holders have won this competition three times in the last four years, and are expected to stay on course for another triumph this season, with Paddy Power offering odds of 4/6 (1.67) on an away win.

The Saints have only lost two of their last 10 matches at the St Mary’s Stadium, but are serious underdogs at 4/1 (5.00) to spring a surprise with victory in this one.

Nigel Adkins’ men have drawn their last three consecutive games, and you can get odds of 11/4 (3.75) on them making it four on the bounce in this one.

After resting some key players such as Juan Mata, Ramires and Eden Hazard in the defeat against QPR, Benitez is sure to call upon their rejuvenated talents to help rack up a morale-boosting victory on Saturday.

The Blues had scored 16 goals in the previous four matches prior to their defeat, and are more than capable of getting back to that sort of form against a defence that have kept just three clean sheets in 20 games so far this term.

Considering the hosts have also hit the back of net in eight of their last 10 games, a bet of over 2.5 goals to be scored seems like a certainty in this one, and is not to be missed at odds of 4/7 (1.57).

Frank Lampard missed the chance to go joint second in the club’s all-time top scorer charts by failing to hit the back of the net on Wednesday, but the midfielder is in hot form in front of goal, with three in his last four games.

The prolific midfielder will be desperate to match Kerry Dixon’s record of 192 goals, with a summer exit looking likely, and he offers great value at odds of 21/10 (3.10) to do just that by scoring against Southampton.

BET
OF THE
DAY
BEST BET
VALUE BET
Over 2.5 goals at 4/7 (1.57) with Paddy Power
Lampard to score anytime at 21/10 (3.10) with Paddy Power

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Al Hain-Cole is a Liverpool fan, experienced tipster and avid follower of European football. He specialises in accumulators and if you would like to read more from Al you can follow him on Twitter here.

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