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In what has arguably been one of the most challenging weeks of his otherwise wholly successful reign, Thomas Tuchel has witnessed his side lose their attacking bite and suffer back-to-back defeats to fellow powerhouses Man City and Juventus in the space of a few days.
After Gabriel Jesus‘s strike found its way through to condemn Chelsea to defeat in front of their own fans, Federico Chiesa took no longer than 11 seconds of the second half to score the winner for Juventus on Wednesday evening, as the Blues’ defence of their European crown took an early hit.
Defeat to Man City allowed the champions to leapfrog them in the embryonic rankings, but the Blues remain firmly in the title-chasing mix with 13 points at this early stage as they sit third in the table – level with four other high-flyers and one behind leaders Liverpool.
Tuchel is yet to lose three games in a row in all competitions since succeeding Frank Lampard and will be determined to avoid that unwanted first this weekend, but Chelsea can take confidence in the fact that they won four home matches on the spin before falling to the champions’ superiority.
Not since December 2019 have Chelsea lost twice in a row on home soil in the Premier League – the second loss of which did come 2-0 against Southampton – but Hasenhuttl’s side are struggling for any sort of inspiration at this moment in time.
Claiming points in clashes with Manchester City, Manchester United and West Ham United is certainly admirable, but as one of five sides boasting no wins from their opening six games of the new season, Southampton lie in a lowly 16th spot before a daunting trip to West London.
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EFL Cup successes over Newport County and Sheffield United have seen Hasenhuttl’s men set up another trip to Stamford Bridge for next month’s fourth round, and they have only claimed one win from their last 16 away from home in the top flight – losing six and drawing two of their last eight on the road.
However, Southampton did manage to rescue a point in a 3-3 draw in this fixture last season thanks to Jannik Vestergaard‘s last-gasp equaliser and are unbeaten in three at Stamford Bridge, although they have only registered one win from their last 12 in all competitions against the European champions.