STATS: Southampton vs Chelsea

Southampton vs Chelsea 15:00

Southampton were unable to end their year on a high as they lost 2-1 to Everton at Goodison Park last weekend but their fans will be confident that there is a bright future ahead for their young side. Spearheaded once again by Adam Lallana, the Saints pushed one of the most dynamic teams in the league all the way at Goodison Park and will hold no fear for the arrival of Jose Mourinho and his men this week.

Despite seeing the regularity of his appearances this season drop off somewhat, Rickie Lambert nonetheless continues to be effective when given his chance. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, Lambert still ranks joint sixth in the league for on target scoring attempts this season with 19.

Dejan Lovren may be just 24 years old but his understanding of the game clearly shows he has a much older head on his shoulders. The Croatian currently sits in fifth place in the league for interceptions with 44.

Jay Rodriguez has been turning in some unquestionably strong performances for Southampton so far this season, no doubt still buoyed by his recent first cap for England. He’s doing his utmost to keep the attention of Roy Hodgson in a bid to land a spot on the plane to Brazil next summer as well, letting fly with the second highest number of shots on goal of any Saints player this term with 32. Only Rickie Lambert stands ahead of him on 36.

Chelsea secured what could be an important 2-1 win over Liverpool on Sunday, thanks to goals from the superb Eden Hazard and Samuel Eto’o. The result was mired in controversy though after a number of dubious refereeing decisions but Blues fans will be pleased nonetheless with a ground out win against one of the form sides in the league.

Eden Hazard continues to kick on this season, the Belgian quietly going about his business whilst turning in some stellar performances. Not only is he one of only two players in the league to have surpassed 100 attacking contributions (assists, dribbles, crosses, shots on goal)(107; Luis Suarez – 129), he is also joint third in the league for assists with 7 according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.

The workrate of the Chelsea midfield is becoming a characteristic of their play this season after Jose Mourinho publicly demanded that he wanted to see his gifted attackers tracking back as well as rampage forward. Willian was highlighted by the commentators against Liverpool as epitomising this style more perhaps than say Juan Mata, the former Shakhtar man providing a touch more athleticism in the middle of the park. He also summed up why the Blues’ win was so controversial, some cute defending seeing him pick up more fouls than any other player in the last round with 6, yet no yellow cards.

John Terry may be in the autumn of his career, but as with all great centre backs, he is getting better with age and his mind still remains as sharp as it was when he made his debut for Chelsea 15 years ago. He leads the Blues squad for interceptions this campaign with 23 according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.