Match to be played on Sunday 1st December 2013 at 16:10. Venue: Stamford Bridge, London.
Chelsea were abysmal up front during their mid-week loss to FC Basel on match-day five of the Champions League but the fall-out from Stamford Bridge ever since has been positive, as the playing staff have acknowledged they cannot win games without scoring goals and one cannot score goals without shooting on target - something they failed to do in Switzerland.
A more positive, adventurous play should therefore be expected on Sunday, when Jose Mourinho hosts Mauricio Pochettino's Southampton in a ground, let's not forget, where Chelsea are formidable in (only Manchester City have stronger form at home, as Chelsea have accumulated 16 points at the Bridge). It is therefore likely he will go with players who are unafraid to test the goalkeeper.
Players unavailable include Samuel Eto'o (groin), David Luiz (knee) and Marco van Ginkel (knee) so, bearing that in mind, here's the side Mourinho may go with…
GK – Petr Cech
Petr Cech's personal Premier League record against Southampton could be better… he has never kept a clean sheet in four attempts despite never losing to them, however, his inclusion is a foregone conclusion and his recent form is strong, keeping his sheet clean against West Ham United and producing some fine saves versus FC Basel - there was little he could to do prevent the sucker blow from Mohamed Salah.
RB – Branislav Ivanovic
He is a regular 7/10 performer, with a calm and composed presence along Chelsea's back-line. Like Cech, he has to start.
CB – John Terry
There's no reason to drop lionhearted Terry when he is on a good run. He's an ever-present at the moment, with 90 clearances, a tackling success rate of 62% and he rarely loses the ball (92% passing accuracy).
CB – Gary Cahill
With 40 clearances in seven matches in this competitions, Cahill is no-nonsense and that mentality will only benefit his desire to guard Cech's goal-line as Rickie Lambert can be a menace. The Saints attacker also likes to drift from the flank, so Cahill will have to double-up on his defensive duty with Cesar Azpilicueta.
LB – Cesar Azpilicueta
Dave, as he's known at Cobham, will have been working on his positional awareness after being caught out a number of times against Basel. Those training ground improvements will need to be noticeable on Sunday…
CM – Frank Lampard
The Chelsea icon's experience, coupled with his adventurous nature, will likely be pivotal. If he is on form, then the Blues will head into the post-match bath celebrating a win.
CM – Ramires
Will be the man tasked with the challenge of containing Adam Lallana.
LM – Eden Hazard
Another, like Terry, who has featured in every Premier League match-day of the current campaign. He is a precise striker of the football and a chance creating machine.
RM – Andre Schurrle
The German could likely feature over Juan Mata because the latter is one of the guilty party when it comes to being shot-shy. While Mata is yet to hit the target in 386 mins of Prem football, Schurrle needs no second invitation and has made 12 attempts to date.
AM – Oscar
Mourinho will be hoping his dynamite Brazilian will explode on the Saints as he was simply magnificent against the Hammers last week. He attempts a shot or completes a key chance once every 23 minutes and even completed an astonishing eight of his nine tackles in his last Premier League outing. That attribute alone can help pin the Saints defence back, thus allowing him to feed Hazard, Schurrle and Fernando Torres. One of the battles of the pitch will be Oscar versus Morgan Schneiderlin.
ST – Fernando Torres
Considering the injury-enforced absence of Eto'o and the beyond bit-part status of potentially outbound Demba Ba, Mourinho will call upon Torres, who has returned to full fitness. He must be urged to shoot, as he can be guilty of being gun-shy (one shot on target every 82 minutes in the league) but he must also be provided the opportunity to do so by the midfield pack behind him.