Southampton vs. Chelsea Preview

Saturday afternoon sees Chelsea’s defence of the FA Cup begin at Southampton in one of four all Premier League ties.

Rafa Benitez’s men go in to the game on the back of a shock 1-0 defeat to Queens Park Rangers on Wednesday, a result that leaves them fourteen points behind leaders Manchester United.

They do have a League Cup semi-final with Swansea to look forward to, though they will be keen to progress for a chance of clinching a fourth FA Cup trophy in five years.

The visitors will again be without goalkeeper Petr Cech, while John Terry and Oriol Romeu also remain absent.

Senegalese striker Demba Ba could well feature after completing his move from Newcastle United, and Cheslea’s new number 29 is favourite to open the scoring at a best price of 5.0 (4/1). Top scorer Fernando Torres is a 6.0 (5/1) shot with Paddy Power.

The holders are 1.7 (7/10) favourites to make it to the fourth round, with Southampton widely available at 5.0 (4/1). The draw is at a best price of 4.0 (3/1).

1976 winners Southampton go in to the game having held in-form Arsenal to a 1-1 draw on New Year’s Day.

Captain Adam Lallana continues to be side-lined with a knee injury, while Nathaniel Clyne may feature following a late fitness test.

Midfielder James Ward Prowse is set to be handed a rare start, and is 13.0 (12/1) to get on the score-sheet, as he did in the third round victory at Coventry City last season.