Chelsea head into their Premier League fixture with Southampton on Tuesday evening looking to make further progress up the standings.
At a time when Chelsea sit in sixth position on the back of the weekend’s win over Leicester City, 14th-placed Southampton can move ahead of their next opponents with success at St Mary’s.
Having been forced to sit in the stands due to his one-game touchline ban, Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel was provided with a different perspective when it came to assessing his players at the weekend.
The needless dismissal of Conor Gallagher would have infuriated him, but the response with 10 men would have provided reassurance about the character of a squad in transition.
More fresh faces will be coming through the door at Chelsea over the coming days, most likely starting with Wesley Fofana from Leicester now that a fee has allegedly been verbally agreed.
However, Tuchel was desperate to see improvements from his current crop, with Raheem Sterling delivering his first two goals in a Chelsea shirt and goalkeeper Edouard Mendy making up for his error against Leeds United in the previous game.
In the short term, Chelsea need to ensure that a five-point gap to leaders Arsenal does not get any wider, although Tuchel will want his players to focus on one match at a time as they bid to cut out errors and be more clinical in the final third.
As far as Southampton are concerned, they were outstanding against Manchester United for large periods of their meeting at St Mary’s at the weekend.
However, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side were ultimately made to pay for squandering numerous opportunities as Bruno Fernandes scored the only goal of the game.
Having bounced back from a 4-1 thrashing to Tottenham Hotspur in their opening game with four points from three matches, the Austrian will be relatively satisfied with his team’s response.
That said, there are early signs that Hasenhuttl and the Saints have pulled off some superb business in the transfer market this summer with defender Armel Bella-Kotchap and midfielder Romeo Lavia both impressing thus far.
With one or two more fresh faces likely to follow over the coming days, supporters will be far more optimistic about the trajectory than they may have been several months ago.
Southampton Premier League form:
Southampton form (all competitions):
Chelsea Premier League form:
We say: Southampton 1-1 Chelsea
Although Chelsea came through with three points at the weekend, they had to work with 10 men for over an hour. Also taking their less recovery time into consideration, we are backing Southampton to earn a share of the spoils, potentially even maximum points if they are more ruthless in the final third.