Chelsea’s recent switch to a 3-4-2-1 formation has seen them enter a purple patch of form and the same can be said for high-flying Southampton. Both teams reside in the top half of the table largely thanks to their excellent defensive records. Antonio Conte recorded his third straight clean sheet on Sunday while Claude Puel stifled Manchester City, so we can expect a low scoring affair at St. Mary’s. Under 2.5 goals looks like a good betting opportunity at 1.917*.
Southampton have not lost in nine home league matches and have conceded just three goals in their last six at St Mary’s.
Southampton have not lost in nine home league matches and have conceded just three goals in their last six at St Mary’s, suggesting that they have the defensive clout to deal with the in-form duo of Diego Costa and Eden Hazard.
Virgil van Dijk has been in outstanding form so far this season, as proved by Sergio Aguero’s uncharacteristically poor display last weekend. He is helped by a remarkably strong central midfield trio of Steven Davis, Jordy Clasie, and Oriol Romeu; three players who made an impressive 14 tackles between against Man City.
Saints may be able to keep Chelsea quiet, but that doesn’t mean grabbing the win will be easy. Conte’s side have not conceded a goal since they started fielding three central defenders and their numerical advantage in this area of the pitch is likely to stunt Charlie Austin and Nathan Redmond. David Luiz will be expected to step out from the back line to meet Dusan Tadic while Austin’s aerial threat will be dramatically reduced by Gary Cahill.
It would come as no surprise if Southampton and Chelsea cancelled each other out in a conservative game defined by a congested central midfield. Only three of Southampton’s last 14 games have seen over 2.5 goals, and despite their excellent recent home record, the Saints have only beaten Chelsea at St. Mary’s once in the last 16 years.
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