Chelsea host Southampton on Wednesday with the aim of strengthening their grip on fourth place in the Premier League.
After a shock defeat to Leicester, Maurizio Sarri’s men have bounced back with successive wins over Watford and Crystal Palace, the latter achieved on Sunday by a 1-0 margin thanks to a goal from N’Golo Kante.
Southampton, meanwhile, have pushed their way out of the relegation zone but have lost successive home matches to West Ham and Manchester City as new boss Ralph Hasenhuttl continues to get to grips with the St. Mary’s club.
|Game||Chelsea vs Southampton|
|Date||Wednesday, January 2|
|Time||7:45pm GMT / 2:45 pm ET|
|Stream (US only)||fuboTV (7-day free trial)|
In the United States (US), the game can be watched live and on-demand withfuboTV (7-day free trial).
New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
|NBCSN||fuboTV (7-day free trial)|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game will not be broadcast live.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|Goalkeepers||Kepa, Caballero, Green, Bulka|
|Defenders||Rudiger, Alonso, Zappacosta, Cahill, Christensen, Azpilicueta, Luiz, Emerson, Ampadu|
|Midfielders||Fabregas, Jorginho, Drinkwater, Kante, Barkley, Loftus-Cheek, Kovacic, McEachran|
|Forwards||Hazard, Morata, Willian, Hudson-Odoi|
Olivier Giroud has been ruled out after picking up an ankle problem and joins Victor Moses and Pedro on the sidelines. Cesc Fabregas is unlikely to play due to a neck complaint.
There are doubts over Ruben Loftus-Cheek but teenager Callum Hudson-Odoi has been cleared for action.
Possible Chelsea starting XI: Kepa; Azpilicueta, Christensen, David Luiz, Emerson; Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic; Willian, Morata, Hazard
|Goalkeepers||McCarthy, Forster, Gunn, Rose|
|Defenders||Vestergaard, Hoedt, Stephens, Yoshida, Bednarek, Targett, Cedric|
|Midfielders||Lemina, Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Armstrong, Davis, Redmond, Elyounoussi|
|Forwards||Gabbiadini, Ings, Austin, Long, Gallagher|
Ryan Bertrand is missing for Southampton, who also have doubts over Cedric Soares, Matt Targett and Manolo Gabbiadini.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg begins a three-game ban after being dismissed at the weekend, opening the door for James Ward-Prowse to start.
Danny Ings and Stuart Armstrong are set to start after being rested against Manchester City, while Maya Yoshida and Jannick Vestergaard may also play.
Possible Southampton starting XI: McCarthy; Vestergaard, Yoshida, Bednarek; Valery, Lemina, Romeu, Targett; Redmond, Armstrong; Ings
Chelsea are favourites to win the match, with bet365 giving odds of 2/7 on an away win. Southampton can be backed at 11/1 and a draw is available at 5/1.
Chelsea might have won their last two matches but as Maurizio Sarri leads his side into their first match of 2019, the Italian does not believe the squad are in a good place.
“We are in trouble,” he said after the weekend’s victory against Crystal Palace as the club’s injury problems worsened ahead of a hectic month in which his side are set to play seven fixtures.
Indeed, after seeing striker Olivier Giroud limp out of that match, it was the unlikely figure of N’Golo Kante who grabbed the winning goal – his third of the season.
“It’s something I’m enjoying,” the World Cup winner declared as he reflected on the more advanced position that he has taken up this season, despite his manager insisting that his first priority must be on defending.
The Blues do appear to be short of attacking options, but Sarri has moved to confirm that neither Michy Batshuayi or Tammy Abraham will be recalled from loan deals during January, though he did admit that he hopes to keep a hold of Cesc Fabregas, who is closing in on a move to Monaco.
Despite the headaches of the home side, Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl is under no illusions as to the size of the task his side face.
Having watched his side lose out against Man City at the weekend, he said: “We know if you want to take a point, or three, against Chelsea, you have to play a perfect game.”
Saints recent record against the Blues makes for ominous reading – they have lost their last eight against the London club – highlighting the difficulty of the task they face.