Chelsea look for a quick turnaround to put their early Champions League exit to rest as they take on top-four hopeful Southampton at Stamford Bridge live on NBCSN or live online at NBC Sports Live Extra.
The Blues fell to Paris Saint-Germain in European play, but Jose Mourinho says a Premier League title to keep their Capital One Cup company would still make this season a success. He has a fully fit squad to select from, other than a long-term injury to midfielder John Obi Mikel.
Southampton also gets good injury news ahead of today’s matchup. Defender Toby Alderweireld is back fit from a serious hamstring injury, making his first appearance since January. His return is a welcome sight for Ronald Koeman, as the Belgian had looked a very bright addition down the flanks through the first half of the season, and the club has stumbled since he went out injured.
Koeman has also notably decided to drop striker Graziano Pelle after the striker’s hot start to the season has gone completely cold. Pelle hasn’t scored since December 20, despite playing in all but 38 minutes of Southampton’s Premier League season.
A win today for Chelsea would vault them back into an eight-point lead at the top of the table thanks to Manchester City’s loss yesterday to Burnley, and the Blues would still have a game in hand. On the flip side, should Southampton pull out an upset, they would leap both Tottenham and Liverpool into fifth position, a healthy rebound for what had been a difficult February.
Chelsea: Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Matic, Fabregas; Willian, Oscar, Hazard; Diego Costa.
Bench: Cech, Filipe Luis, Zouma, Ramires, Cuadrado, Remy and Drogba.
Southampton: Forster, Clyne, Fonte, Alderweireld, Bertrand, Wanyama, Schneiderlin, S. Davis, Tadić, Mané, Long.
Bench: K. Davis, Yoshida, Gardos, Djuričić, Ward-Prowse, Pellè, Targett.