By Nairaland Forum Saturday’s Premier League early kick-off, as relegation contenders Southampton host Chelsea at St. Mary’s.
The ‘Saints’ have almost everybody free at their disposal, the only absentees being Jack Stephens, who is suspended after being sent off in Southampton’s previous game against Arsenal, and Steven Davis, who is not yet back to 100% in his recovery from an achilles injury.
Mario Lemina and Shane Long are both doubtful, although they could be in contention from the bench. It is possible that Jan Bednarek could receive a Premier League debut to fill Jack Stephens’ place in the five-man defence, although Mark Hughes could also revert back to a back four.
Ross Barkley returns to the squad for the ‘Blues’, after recovering from a hamstring injury, however he is lacking match fitness and is doubtful to start. David Luiz is expected to be out for a few more weeks as he recovers from an ankle problem, while Thibaut Courtois (hamstring), Pedro (knock), Davide Zappacosta (hamstring) and Danny Drinkwater (groin) are all doubts.
Southampton Manager Mark Hughes:
The Saints boss made it clear that he was happy with the performance last week against Arsenal, even if the result wasn’t positive. “Clearly after the West Ham game, any momentum we were hoping to get from the cup game [against Wigan] had been dissipated,” he said.
“So we needed to have a good performance, which I felt we did against Arsenal, albeit we didn’t get the result we all wanted,” “But confidence hasn’t been diminished in any way, shape or form. We’re ready to go. We’ve had another good week and we’ll get the benefit of that. It’s a busy week and one that will test us, but we’re all ready for it and ready for the challenge.”
Chelsea Manager Antonio Conte:
The London side face Southampton on Sunday 22, but Conte is focusing on this game for now. “We have to go game by game,” he said. “Tomorrow is the most important for us against Southampton.” “This team [Southampton] has great quality in the squad. It’s a great surprise to see them in this position. We must pay great attention tomorrow.”
Source:: Nigerian Chatter