Chelsea will be hoping to start building some momentum heading into the busy festive period when they play host to Southampton on Saturday.
The Blues offered the perfect response to a disappointing derby defeat at West Ham when they eased past Huddersfield in midweek, with Antonio Conte back in bullish mood after that encounter having previously ruled his side out of the 2017-18 title race.
A meeting with Southampton should hold little fear for the defending Premier League champions, with the Saints having collected just one win from their last eight – with that run including reversals away at Liverpool and Manchester City.
Alvaro Morata sat out the 3-1 victory over Huddersfield with a back problem, but Conte will be eager to bring his 10-goal top scorer back into the fold as quickly as possible.
David Luiz, however, was once again missing at the John Smith’s Stadium, with the Brazilian nursing a knee complaint and without a Premier League appearance since October 28.
Danny Drinkwater and Michy Batshuayi returned to the matchday squad in midweek to bolster the Blues’ ranks, while the likes of Willian and Pedro caught the eye after being given opportunities to impress from the start, so Conte has the option to shuffle his pack again should he wish to do so.
Chelsea have no players currently serving a suspension, but there are a trio of Stamford Bridge stars just one caution away from a ban.
Marcos Alonso, Morata and Antonio Rudiger all have four bookings to their name and will need to make it past a trip to Everton on December 23 without collecting another if they are to clear the first cut off point of the campaign.
POTENTIAL STARTING LINE-UP
Conte has made it clear that he will continue to rotate his squad as the games come thick and fast.
The Blues have five more fixtures to take in before the end of the calendar year, including a Carabao Cup quarter-final clash with Bournemouth, so need to find a way of keeping everybody fresh and avoid any untimely knocks.
If fit, then Morata should come straight back into the starting XI, while the likes of Gary Cahill, Drinkwater and Cesc Fabregas will be pushing for recalls after only making the bench at Huddersfield.
SOUTHAMPTON TEAM NEWS
Ryan Bertrand and Oriol Romeu could both line up against their former employers, giving them added motivation to help get the Saints back on track.
Cedric Soares and Shane Long shook off slight knocks to figure against Leicester in midweek and Mauricio Pellegrino has no fresh injury or suspension concerns to contend with.
BEST OPTA MATCH FACTS
- After losing consecutive matches against Man City and Crystal Palace, Chelsea have since won seven of their last nine in the Premier League (D1 L1), including each of the last four at Stamford Bridge.
- Southampton have only won two of their 40 away top-flight matches against the reigning champions – they beat Leeds United in March 1970 and Chelsea in October 2015.
- Chelsea have won each of their last three Premier League games against Southampton since losing 3-1 at Stamford Bridge in October 2015 under Jose Mourinho.
- Southampton have kept one clean sheet in their last 24 Premier League games against Chelsea, a goalless draw on Boxing Day 2002 with Antti Niemi in goal.
- Antonio Conte has the best win percentage of any permanent Chelsea manager in league history (74.6%).