Can Chelsea Take Another Step Towards the Title?

Chelsea booked their place in the FA Cup final on Saturday evening, thanks to a tremendous 4-2 win over their closest Premier League title rivals, Tottenham Hotspur.  This leaves Antonio Conte and his players with a great chance of claiming the league and cup double this season.

The victory for Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Saturday was hugely significant for their season.  Not only have they reached a cup final, they managed to bounce back from the league defeat at Manchester United and get one over their closest challengers

All this came with Diego Costa and Eden Hazard starting on the substitutes bench. Conte was receiving a lot of negative press for his decision to leave his two most prominent forwards out of the starting XI.  However, with Willian coming in and scoring two goals and Hazard coming off the bench to make the difference towards the end of the game, Conte was proved correct in his decision.

Tottenham were lauded for being the better team during the 90 minutes but it was Chelsea who had the killer instinct when it mattered most, which is all that counts for the Blues, as they approach the end of the season.

Chelsea have lost 2 of their last 4 Premier League games but when looking at the overall picture, their form is good.  Chelsea are undefeated in 15 of their last 16 home matches and when defeats come, they are the exception rather than the rule.  In fact, Chelsea have lost only 3 of their previous 26 home Premier League games which is a very good record and proves just how tough Stamford Bridge has become again for away teams.

Odds at Ladbrokes
Odds at Ladbrokes

Chelsea’s opponents on Tuesday night are Southampton, who did not play on the weekend.  Claude Puel and his players have had 10 days to reflect on their 3-0 home defeat to Manchester City, which was their last game in the Premier League.  However, this was Southampton’s first defeat in 4 league games and Puel will be hoping to embark on a good run of form towards the end of the season, starting with this match.

Interestingly, Southampton’s away form has picked up recently and the Saints have won 3 of their last 4 away league games.  This is in contrast to the period between August and January when Southampton won only 2 of 11 games away from home.

A quick look at the team news shows Chelsea may be without defender Gary Cahill but otherwise Conte has a full squad from which to select his team.  Southampton have striker Charlie Austin back in training but the big loss is defender Virgil van Dijk, who is out for the remainder of the season.

There have been over 2.5 goals scored in 13 of Chelsea’s 15 home Premier League games this season and in 6 of Southampton’s last 8 away.  Therefore, over 2.5 goals makes a good bet at 11/10 with Ladbrokes.

It is now 10 league games without a clean sheet for Chelsea and Southampton have scored in each of their last 5 away matches.  With Cahill still a doubt, Southampton will be looking to test the Chelsea defence and will be hopeful of finding the back of the net.  However, Chelsea are the stronger team and you must expect them to win this game at home.

You can get 11/4 with Ladbrokes for Chelsea to win and both teams to score.

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