Chelsea travel to St. Mary's Stadium on Sunday to take on Southampton with hopes of continuing their incredible recent run of form. 

Returning to domestic action after a 1-0 Europa League victory over MOL Vidi on Thursday, Maurizio Sarri's side remain unbeaten and could go top of the league table ahead of Manchester City's trip to Liverpool later in the day. 

Southampton have a terrible record against Chelsea in recent times, and despite their midweek Carabao Cup victory over Everton, there have been signs that it is going to be a long, difficult season for the Saints, who have managed just one win in their opening seven Premier League matches. 

Here's everything you need to know ahead of Sunday's Premier League clash. 

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Classic Encounter


Chelsea 2-4 Southampton (Premier League - 01/01/2002)


New Year's Day 2002 saw Claudio Ranieri's Chelsea side surrender the lead at Stamford Bridge, and hinder their title hopes in the process, as Gordon Strachan's Southampton left the capital with three points to give their survival hopes a huge boost. 

James Beattie had given Southampton the lead inside seven minutes with a fantastic free kick, but the hosts were back on track by half-time thanks to strikes from Eidur Gudjohnsen and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. 

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However, Chelsea resumed play in the second half looking as though the job was done, which could not have been further from the truth. 

Southampton were soon level when Marian Pahars outpaced John Terry before neatly tucking past Carlo Cudicini. The visitors were then in the lead once again just past the hour mark thanks to a Chris Marsden header, before James Beattie scored his second to make it a memorable away day for Southampton, whilst Chelsea, who had only conceded five goals in their previous 11 games, were left reeling.  

Recent Form


Southampton go into Sunday's match in the midst of a difficult period in which they have struggled to put points on the board. They will be buoyant from their progression in the Carabao Cup during the week, but their difficulty scoring on a regular basis puts a lot of pressure on their defence and as a result, has seen them slip to 16th in the Premier League, with a solitary win which came against Crystal Palace in September. 

In contrast, things are looking good for Chelsea, who sit third in the Premier League with five wins from their seven games. Whilst we have seen some great attacking play from Sarri's team - particularly from Eden Hazard - it has not always been free-flowing, non-stop attack from the Blues, which in a way, has shown that Chelsea can be genuine title contenders this season. 

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In addition to proving that they are capable of coming from behind this season, the Blues have shown a resilience and an ability to dig in and secure results even when they are not at their best; something which will prove vital over the course of a long season. 

Southampton Last Five Games: WLLDW

Chelsea Last Five Games: WDWDW

Prediction


In better form and with the upper hand in their head-to-head record, everything would suggest that Chelsea will record a comfortable victory on Sunday to put the pressure on their title rivals. 

If the Saints are to get anything from the game they must keep their defence tight, particularly in the opening 15 minutes to assure that they are not chasing the game from the offset. 

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Maurizio Sarri's system is showing signs of getting the very best out of Eden Hazard, who many have called the best player in the Premier League right now. His ability to roam between the opposition midfield and defence and produce chances out of nothing could prove to be the key to unlocking the Southampton back line. Alvaro Morata's Europa League goal will also do his confidence the world of good as he looks to get back amongst the scorers in the Premier League. 


Score Prediction:  Southampton 1-3 Chelsea