When Chelsea faced Southampton at Stamford Bridge in January last season, things were not looking up for the Blues. The unpopular Rafael Benitez was in charge of the team, Fernando Torres was out of sorts and out of form and they only had Demba Ba as back-up.
That game also marked a watershed moment for the Saints as well, with Nigel Adkins eventually removed after doing an admittedly decent job. In his place came Mauricio Pochettino, a the Argentine has taken Southampton on to even greater levels.
On paper, Chelsea are in a much better state as well. They have their favourite manager - Jose Mourinho - back, they have Torres in some sort of form and three-time Champions League winner Samuel Eto’o in their squad.
But things are not going too well in reality for Mourinho’s side. A run of two wins in five games has been exacerbated by tired performances. The player of the season for the last two years, Juan Mata, doesn’t even get a look in.
Southampton, on the other hand, are on a decent run of form. They acquitted themselves well at the the Emirates Stadium last week, taking on an Arsenal side in imperious form. But for Arthur Boruc’s wannabe Johan Cryuff act, they might have well made a better fist of things.
This weekend’s clash between Chelsea and Southampton may prove pretty awkward for the Stamford Bridge outfit.
Mourinho’s home record as Chelsea manager is impeccable. He is undefeated at home, but, as he himself said after the West Brom game, the record has to end some time. And while Chelsea will go into the game as favourites, as they always do at home, you would not put it past Southampton to get a result.
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