Dan Fitch thinks that Chelsea will enjoy a narrow win against Southampton, with the in-form Eden Hazard key to their hopes.
"Hazard has six goals in seven Premier League games this season."
Southampton [6.2] v Chelsea [1.65]; The Draw [4.2]
Sunday 7 October, 14:15
Live on Sky Sports Main Event
Saints look to boost morale with cup run
Southampton come into this match off something of a high, having beaten Everton on penalties in the EFL Cup third round.
Mark Hughes has spoken out on his decision to take the EFL Cup more seriously than some other Premier League managers choose to. At a time when Southampton are struggling for form in the league, he feels that a cup run can help to instil belief in his side.
To go away to Everton and win on penalties, having suffered the disappointment of conceding a late equaliser after leading for much of the match, should certainly increase Southampton's confidence. So too should the fact that Danny Ings scored his fourth goal of the season. It's early days, but Ings' form suggests that he might be the regular goalscorer that the team have lacked over the past couple of seasons.
Ings will likely lead the line against Chelsea. One striker that probably won't be available to Hughes, is Shane Long. The Irish international has missed the last two games with a toe injury.
Health of Hazard vital to Chelsea
Maurizio Sarri is another manager who is taking cup competitions seriously. So far this season Chelsea have knocked Liverpool out of the EFL Cup at Anfield and have won both of their Europa League group games.
The second of those Europa League matches took place on Thursday. Chelsea made hard work of beating the Hungarian side Vidi at Stamford Bridge. It took a late Alvaro Morata goal to eventually give Chelsea a 1-0 victory.
It was only Morata's second goal of the season and with he and Olivier Giroud failing to find the net regularly, much rests this season on the efforts of the talismanic Eden Hazard. The Belgian was brought on early in the second-half against Vidi in order to turn the game around and it seems that if Chelsea are to compete for honours this season, then keeping Hazard fit and available is vital.
So far, despite a hectic fixture list, Sarri has had few injuries to contend with.
Chelsea will win competitive game
Chelsea are the favourites at [1.65], with the draw at [4.2] and Southampton at [6.2].
The Londoners have drawn their last two Premier League matches. With Liverpool taking on Manchester City this weekend, there is a chance for Chelsea to go into the international break on top of table, if they can get back to winning ways at St Mary's.
The price available for a Chelsea win is pretty generous against a Southampton side that have still not won a home game this season (D2 L1). The Saints are good enough to make this game competitive, so if you want a bigger price for an away win, consider the Chelsea victory and both teams to score at [3.5], or Chelsea to win by one goal in the winning margin market at [3.8].
Ings presence means we could see goals
Ings has scored in three of the last four games he's started for Southampton. That makes over 2.5 goals the justified favourite at [1.83], with unders out at [2.14]. Ings is available at a tempting price of [4.2] to add to his tally.
The favourite to find the net is Hazard at [2.3]. He has six goals in seven Premier League games this season, despite starting some of Chelsea's early matches on the bench. With Hazard in such form, that's a value bet.
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