Alan Dudman previews Saturday's pay-per-view game between Chelsea and Southampton, and he is backing Blues' striker Timo Werner to get on the scoresheet...
"I think he has adapted well to English football with his pace and movement, and Hasenhuttl will know of his talents only too well having signed him in 2016 when in charge of RB Leipzig."
Chelsea v Southampton
Saturday 17th October, kickoff 15:00
Live on pay-per-view on Sky Sports Box Office
Can Lampard achieve the much-needed consistency?
In the sea of Premier League seismic shocks two weeks ago, Chelsea were bathing in the calm oasis of a 4-0 home victory against Crystal Palace. Elsewhere it was utter chaos with Liverpool's 2-7 against Aston Villa and the Tottenham 1-6 at Old Trafford. Even my beloved West Ham joined in the fun with a big win at Leicester. I actually would have given the Eagles a chance in the Stamford Bridge match with their counter-attacking success, but they were thumped. And that's the anthesis of an after-time. An after-timed loser.
With a fortnight to digest and search for explanations, I am none the wiser. A lack of crowd with no pressure? Are the players too tired? If they were, an international batch of matches would do little to assuage those fears. Or is it a case that top flight clubs can no longer defend?
The take-out from the Chelsea win against Palace however, was that Ben Chilwell had a huge impact in their best performance of the season. The England left-back injured his foot whilst on international duty, though, and he'll be a big loss following that barnstorming performance if he doesn't make Saturday. It's looking far from ideal in the goalkeeping department too, and Frank Lampard will be cursing the international games as his new goalkeeper Edouard Mendy picked up a thigh injury away with Senegal. If Lampard turns to 38-year-old Willy Caballero over error-prone Kepa, then there really is no turning back for the latter.
Crumbs of comfort can be taken from the availability of both Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech. Whilst the superb Timo Werner and Kai Havertz both scored for Germany in the 3-3 with Switzerland. Both defences must have been heavy influenced by the Premier League.
The lack of consistency remains an issue for Lampard, though, who described his team as a work in progress two weeks ago.
Early season problems for Saints ironed out following comfortable wins
The Saints were starting to hit peak form just before the Nations League, and there could be a feeling momentum has been lost. Manager Ralph Hasenhuttl rectified the awful defensive display against Spurs (losing 2-5) with a pair of clean sheets against both West Brom and Burnley - two winnable games certainly, especially as the Clarets are having a few injury problems at the moment.
Southampton's high-line was too high against Tottenham, but Hasenhuttl had stressed his team had no pre-season and no time to prepare for the first few games. And the largely frantic displays earlier have now settled down.
The South coast club didn't have the luxury of spending anything like Lampard's £200million over the summer, but the loan signing of Theo Walcott was a sensible move to ease the goalscoring pressure off Danny Ings, although I suspect Ings thrives on being the main man.
After a poor start, six points from four games leaves them only one behind Saturday's opponents.
The match odds are fascinating here as I am fairly sure the surprising set of results with Liverpool et al have influenced the betting.
Chelsea at 8/151.54 are actually a bigger price than they were for this fixture on Boxing Day with Southampton - a game they were chalked up at 4/111.38. As a high-profile club, they do come in for plenty of criticism, something Lampard spoke about after the Palace win, and they cannot seem to shake off that "inconsistent" tag.
They lost 0-2 to the Saints that day, and lost five at home all season - which was the worst record of the top five teams.
Southampton's success, if it was to happen for this game, will be based on a team effort over Chelsea's collection of dazzling individuals. But it's nagging away at me that they were 9/19.8 for this fixture on Boxing Day, so should we take the much shorter 6/17.0?
Hasenhuttl's team earned a bit of a reputation as being better away from home last term, and they won a lot of games at the backend of the re-jigged restart.
Werner can break his Premier League duck
One thing the market isn't expecting here is a 0-0 at a huge price of 21/122.0, and whilst I would never dream of laying anything above 2/1, Chelsea were not involved in one single 0-0 in all competitions last season. There hasn't been a 0-0 either in the Premier League for this campaign from the 38 matches with all clubs. So whoever was laying with an offer of £23 to be matched at the odds mentioned, a stalemate will be most untimely and unwelcome.
Backers of Under 2.5 Goals with Southampton's two away games this term would have collected on both (0-1 and 1-0), but facing the relentless possession of Chelsea is a different ball game entirely to Burnley and Crystal Palace, even if the Under 2.5 Goals price is much larger 13/82.62 to the Over odds of 5/81.62.
With goals expected, "Turbo Timo" in the To Score market at around 1/12.0 is appealing. I think he has adapted well to English football with his pace and movement, and Hasenhuttl will know of his talents only too well having signed him in 2016 when in charge of RB Leipzig.
Werner has also been boosted on the Sportsbook to 16/5 from 13/5 to have one or more shots on target in each half.
Alan Dudman's 2020 Premier League P&L
Back Timo Werner To Score @ 1/12.0