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|Southampton or Draw
|Southampton or Chelsea
|Chelsea or Draw
Chelsea may have won at the weekend but they are still not firing on all cylinders, and the Saints were unfortunate to suffer defeat in their last outing.
Back Southampton or draw in the double chance market (+150)
Pick made on 08/28/2022 at 04:27 PM EST
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The Premier League is set for a hectic week, with an extra round of fixtures squeezed in before the closure of the summer transfer window. Clubs in England’s top flight have until the end of Thursday to complete their dealings, after which the market will be shut for business until January, after the 2022 World Cup. If the newspaper reports are to be believed, Chelsea are likely to be the Premier League’s busiest club in the final days of the window.
The Blues have three main transfer targets. Wesley Fofana is seemingly on his way from Leicester City after successfully forcing his way out of the King Power Stadium. Chelsea are still hopeful that Anthony Gordon of Everton and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Barcelona will follow Fofana through the entrance door, but there is still considerable work to do on both deals. If Chelsea miss out on that duo, we can expect them to look elsewhere at the eleventh hour.
This frenzied activity so close to the deadline indicates that Thomas Tuchel is not entirely happy with the squad at his disposal. Perhaps a late-window splurge was always likely this summer, since Todd Boehly’s consortium only completed its takeover of the club at the end of May, thus delaying the enactment of their recruitment policy. But Chelsea’s indifferent start to the campaign has given Tuchel another reason to bolster his squad further in defense and attack.
The Blues beat Leicester 2-1 at the weekend, despite being reduced to 10 men in the first half when Conor Gallagher was sent off. It was a battling display from Tuchel’s team, but Leicester were good value for a point based on the balance of play. A week earlier, Chelsea were thumped 3-0 by Leeds United. Seven points from a possible 12 is not a disastrous return so far, but the Blues in their current state do not look capable of challenging for the Premier League title.
Southampton could consider themselves unfortunate to lose to Manchester United in the early kick-off on Saturday. A fine finish from Bruno Fernandes in the second half proved to be the decisive moment in the game, as Erik ten Hag’s side won 1-0 on the south coast. But Southampton were United’s equal for most of the match, fashioning more than enough opportunities to have found the back of the net.
Ralph Hasenhuttl will have been pleased with his team’s performance, then, if not with the result. Southampton have the second-youngest side in the division this term, with Arsenal the only team with a lower average age. Several of Southampton’s youngsters caught the eye against United, namely Armel Bella-Kotchap at center-back and Romeo Lavia in midfield.
Joe Aribo and Adam Armstrong were lively too, as the Saints made life difficult for a team that cost hundreds of millions of pounds to put together. It was another positive display following the 2-1 victory over Leicester the previous weekend.
The conscious shift towards youth – 75 percent of Southampton’s new outfield arrivals are 20 or under – should buy Hasenhuttl more time. Supporters up and down the land enjoy watching energetic, dynamic and hungry teams, and that is what Southampton look like being in 2022/23. On the evidence of Saturday, they have enough quality within the ranks to avoid relegation.
Something is not quite right at Chelsea as things stand. That does not mean they will not turn it around as the season wears on. Tuchel is a fantastic manager and he may have three new players in his squad ahead of the London derby against West Ham United this weekend. The group at Stamford Bridge already contains top-class talent in Reece James, Thiago Silva, Kalidou Koulibaly, Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling.
Southampton away will not be an easy fixture. The Saints played with dynamism and intensity at the weekend, and they will get right in Chelsea’s faces here. The absence of N’Golo Kante through injury and the suspension of Gallagher leaves Tuchel short in midfield, an area of the pitch that he has surprisingly neglected to address in the transfer market.
It would be ambitious to tip Southampton to win this match given Chelsea’s superior quality across the pitch, but we have seen enough in the Saints’ recent displays to believe they can avoid defeat by Tuchel’s charges.
Premier League: Leicester City vs Manchester United
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|Southampton vs Chelsea
|St Mary’s, Southampton, England
|Tuesday, 30 August 2022, 2.45 PM EST
|How to watch
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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