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Marginalising star names unlikely to help Chelsea beat Southampton

02 Oct | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Marginalising star names unlikely to help Chelsea beat Southampton

It is the responsibility of Jose Mourinho to help nurture his best players back to form - he will struggle to arrest the club's poor run without them

The problem with boldly dropping big-name players for an important fixture is what to do next when such a manoeuvre fails to elicit the required result.

That is the dilemma facing Jose Mourinho after Eden Hazard and Nemanja Matic joined captain John Terry on the substitutes’ bench for the 2-1 defeat to Porto in midweek.

Had the Blues won the match, then the Portuguese’s transparent attempt to jolt his underperforming stars into form would have been justified.

Instead, one of the game’s best man-managers has potentially ostracised three players who were vital in last season’s Premier League-winning campaign.

Not that Hazard, Matic and Terry were the only players jettisoned.

Radamel Falcao, Oscar and Loic Remy remained in London after it was decided that their presence was not required in Portugal.

It will be fascinating to see how many Mourinho restores to the team for the visit of Southampton on Saturday evening.

Despite the snub, either Falcao or Remy is likely to be involved as Diego Costa is serving the final part of his three-game suspension.

The strikers are both 9/2 to open the scoring and 6/5 to do so at any time.

Hazard, too, should be reinstated.

The current PFA Player of the Year has endured a humbling start to the season, but it is the responsibility of Mourinho to help nurture him back to his best.

That is naturally easier to accomplish when starting matches and the Belgian is 8/1 to score first in a Chelsea victory.

Having only done so twice in seven games, nothing but a win will do for the side languishing 14th in the Premier League with eight points.

The 2-0 triumph against Arsenal two weeks ago was the West London club’s first at Stamford Bridge since May and they are 4/5 to make it two in two.

Doing so is far from guaranteed, however.

Because while Southampton are yet to win in three away matches so far, they haven’t lost, either.

Ronald Koeman’s side drew twice against Chelsea last season and the Dutchman will be confident in his side achieving another positive result – especially given the champions’ recent struggles.

The Saints are 7/2 to follow Crystal Palace by winning at the Bridge, while a third successive draw between the sides is 13/5.

Sadio Mane finished adroitly in the encounter at St Mary’s in December and, having excelled in the No. 10 role in recent weeks, is bound to trouble whoever is selected by Mourinho.

Mane opened his league account against Swansea last weekend and the 23-year-old Senegalese international is 4/1 to score at any time and 14/1 to do so in a draw.

Given Chelsea’s inexplicably erratic performances of late, such an outcome would not be a surprise.

Particularly if their manager continues to marginalise his best defender, midfielder and playmaker.

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