Southampton vs ChelseaEnglish Premier League, KO: 14:00 Oct 6, 2019, St Mary's
FRANK Lampard is targeting a fourth consecutive victory when Chelsea travel to Southampton on Sunday afternoon.
The Blues beat Brighton 2-0 at Stamford Bridge last Saturday – a success that came either side of Chelsea crushing Grimsby in the Carabao Cup and landing three precious Champions League points in Lille on Wednesday night.
To date, Chelsea legend Lampard has had a mixed start to life in the Stamford Bridge dugout and although Chelsea's young stars have caught the eye, they have struggled for consistency.
However, since their opening weekend trouncing at Old Trafford, only Premier League pacesetters Liverpool have defeated the west London side.
The capital club were only able to take a point from early season encounters with Leicester and Sheffield United respectively, however, prior to last weekend's win at home to the Seagulls, the Blues best work has come on the road when taking maximum points form trips to Norwich and Wolves.
A third consecutive away day success on Sunday would see the Blues win back-to-back league games for the first time this season.
Standing in their way is a Southampton side who are hovering above the relegation zone after amassing just seven points from the 21 on offer to them.
After being brushed aside by Burnley and Liverpool in their opening two assignments, Ralph Hasenhuttl's men responded positively by winning away at Sheffield United and Brighton either side of a share of the spoils with Manchester United at St Mary's.
Yet, just as the Saints looked to have turned the corner they were well beaten in their own backyard by neighbours Bournemouth and were then turned over 2-1 away at Tottenham last time out – despite playing against 10 men for an hour.
Chelsea are odds-on at 17/20 (UniBet) to chalk up another three points on the road, however, given their defensive frailties, coupled with their midweek exertions, those odds don't tempt me.
The Blues will certainly believe they can bag another win away from home given the fact that only Liverpool and Manchester City have scored more league goals than Chelsea so far.
With seven Premier League goals to his name, striker Tammy Abraham has scored 50% of Chelsea's league goals and boasts an impressive overall tally of eight goals in 10 appearances.
Such fine form has seen the young forward land an England call-up and with six of his seven league goals coming away from London I fancy the Chelsea hotshot to hit the back of the net at St Mary's.
Abraham is 4/1 (UniBet) to score the first goal of the game, however, goals have been flowing in each of these sides fixtures in recent weeks, so it may more shrewd to opt for Abraham to score anytime at 6/5 (PaddyPower)
The home side are the third-lowest scorers in the division having only struck seven times in as many games, however, Hasenhuttl will be hoping that Danny Ings can add to the three goals that he has scored in his last two outings – Ings is 11/4 (SportingBet) to do just that.
Whether or not Ings nets remains to be seen, however, I do fancy the Saints to score against a leaky Chelsea rearguard that has shipped 13 goals in the league.
What's more, Chelsea continue to look feeble when defending free-kicks and corners – something that Blues boss Lampard alluded to after Lille scored from a set-piece on Wednesday night.
Only relegated Cardiff conceded more goals from set-pieces than Chelsea last term and I suspect the Saints could get some joy from set-plays against a shaky Blues backline.
In James Ward-Prowse Southampton possess one of the most potent set-piece takers in the top-flight and his deadly deliveries could make life difficult for the Chelsea defence.
Furthermore, the Saints have a number of imposing figures throughout their team with the likes of Oriol Romeu, Jan Bednarek and Jannik Vestergaard – the latter stands at 6 ft 6 and demonstrated his aerial prowess when scoring against Manchester United recently.
Given Chelsea's aforementioned vulnerability, Vestergaard could be tricky to tame when defending set-plays which is why I'm attracted to the 16/5 (PaddyPower) on offer for the giant Dane to have at least one shot on target.
Even if the Saints do get on the scoresheet they will be hard tasked in shutting out a Chelsea side who have scored in every league game since their 4-0 mauling in Manchester.
Backing over 2.5 match goals pays slightly higher at 8/11 (Bet 365) with the same firm, however, combining over 2.5 goals with both teams scoring is available at 21/20 (Bet 365) – a combination that catches the eye and one that would have generated profit from four of Chelsea's last five Premier League matches.
This English Premier League match between Southampton and Chelsea will be played on Oct 6, 2019 and kick off at 14:00