Chelsea will be aiming to register a fifth successive Premier League win when they face Southampton at St Mary’s on Saturday afternoon.
The Blues recently returned to fourth spot for the first time since December and they will be aiming to sustain their position with a victory over the Saints.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side are currently in a poor run of form with six straight league defeats and the visitors go into the game as favourites.
Edouard Mendy was left on the bench for the recent league win against Newcastle United with Kepa Arrizabalaga preferred in goal. However, Thomas Tuchel clearly clarified that he was only rested and would return for the south coast trip. He is expected to start in goal.
Thiago Silva has returned to training after a thigh problem sustained against Tottenham Hotspur on February 5, but he has not been deemed fit to face the Saints. Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta are likely to continue in the back three.
At right wing-back, Reece James may get the nod over Callum Hudson-Odoi. Similarly, Ben Chilwell may be preferred ahead of Marcos Alonso on the opposite side.
Tuchel has been cautious with the handling of N’Golo Kante since his return from a hamstring injury and he was only a substitute against the Magpies.
We fancy the Frenchman to feature in the starting XI against the Saints. Mateo Kovacic is likely to make way, considering Jorginho has been ever-present under Tuchel.
Further forward, no changes are expected.
Mason Mount and Timo Werner are in line to play. Werner has been picking up his form lately and recently scored his first Premier League goal after 100 days.
Tammy Abraham was substituted early against the Magpies with an ankle injury but he has overcome the minor setback and is available for selection.
He should lead the line ahead of Olivier Giroud despite the fact that the Frenchman was on the scoresheet in the 2-0 win over Steve Bruce’s side on Monday.
Abraham produced an impressive showing against Barnsley in the FA Cup where he not only scored the winning goal but also made a goal-line clearance.
He could not take his chance against the Magpies after an early injury setback and will be hoping to make amends if he gets the nod.
Predicted Chelsea line-up (3-4-2-1): Mendy; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; James, Jorginho, Kante, Chilwell; Mount, Werner; Abraham.
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