The Blues remain very much on course for a domestic double thanks to their 4-2 victory over Spurs in the FA Cup semi-finals. Antonio Conte chose to leave Eden Hazard and Diego Costa on the bench for the weekend clash but with Tottenham Hotspur levelling the score at 2-2, the Chelsea boss sent both players on with Hazard making an impact by putting the Blues ahead and Nemanja securing the win and an FA Cup final appearance.
“During the season there is a moment as a coach you must take a strong decision,” Conte said to reporters when questioned about team selection. “You have to take a risk. If you win the plan worked, if you don’t the responsibility is on you. I think today our plan worked very well.
“I am proud for this achievement. It is great for the players, for me. This is my first season in England and it is great to fight for the title and reach the final of the FA Cup, a great competition. I am pleased for my players and for our fans. Today they were great from the start until the end. Now we have to continue, on Tuesday have another tough game, I hope our fans push us a lot.”
Chelsea can now turn their attention back to the Premier League and push ever closer to the title. Only a few short weeks ago Conte’s men were running way at the top of the table but defeat to Crystal Palace was the start of a downturn in form which also saw them lose 2-0 to Manchester United. Spurs have thus narrowed the gap to a mere four points and the Blues will be desperate to increase this gap when they face the Saints on Tuesday evening.
For their part, Southampton have enjoyed a decent month so far, however in reality they have little to play for now that European competition is out of reach and they are in no danger of dropping into the relegation zone at this late stage of the campaign. A 0-0 draw with Bournemouth at the start of the month was followed by wins over Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion, however they were walloped 3-0 at home to Manchester City in their last outing and we envisage a similar scoreline on Tuesday evening.
One of Chelsea’s goal-scorers in this match will likely be Diego Costa, the Spaniard expected to be named in the starting eleven. Costa hasn’t found the net in his last five Premier League games but he will be confident of adding to his season tally of 17 in the league by scoring against the Saints for the second time this term.