The taming of the Blue...

Posted by Chris Rann

So, Chelsea away. Not a daunting fixture at all. They are scoring goals for fun at the moment, nine in their last three games (including five at St. Mary's just ten days ago).

So how do you approach a game like this? Well, I say you go about it exactly as you would any other game. Attack. There is no point Southampton resigning themselves to defeat before a ball has even been kicked and have to look at some positives.

Chelsea have actually not scored in their last two home fixtures. The Stamford Bridge support still hasn't warmed to Rafa Benitez, and he has won just two of six games at home (albeit 6-1 and 8-0 victories) as opposed to seven of nine on the road. Perhaps this has a bigger effect than people realise, if the fans are giving the manager grief, does this project itself on to the players?

There is also the possibility of some Rafa tinkering. Defeats to Swansea and QPR in their last two home games came with some raised eyebrows at team selections and hopefully the Spaniard will afford Saints the same disrespect that he did Harry Redknapp's side. Let's not forget that they take on Arsenal at the weekend.

From a Saints point of view it is a little simpler: Play the same team (injuries permitting) as against Villa. The club are building a resolute side, so no need to tamper with it. The exceptions to that are of course who may or may not be sidelined by a knock. With Fonte already out, it looks like the club could be without look Luke Shaw too after he was stretchered off at Villa. This could be crucial as the emergence of Shaw and the return of Cork has coincided with Saints' change in fortunes.

Southampton have to go to Stamford Bridge believing the club can get something, they talked themselves out of the game at Anfield and need to remember how close the club came at Man City. Saints need to respect Chelsea but not view them as unbeatable. They are at best inconsistent, especially at home and if they can get Ramirez (back in the centre please Mr. Adkins) and Lambert firing Southampton can cause them problems.

Belief will be key. The club have a decent starting XI now, and though the bench looks weak at times, the substitutions need to be a little more logical.

Saints might come away from Stamford Bridge with nothing, but let's not come away wondering if they could have done more. If the players give it their all they can push Chelsea all the way. And if all else fails, perhaps Jay Rodriguez could go for a tumble in the box (joke).

Keep the faith.

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