Southampton v Chelsea preview: Eden Hazard looks to continue strong form
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Last Updated: 07/10/18 1:06pm
Eden Hazard will be aiming to continue his strong start to the season when Chelsea face Southampton on Super Sunday, live on Sky Sports.
Hazard is the leading scorer in the Premier League with six goals in seven matches, including the opener in Chelsea's 1-1 draw with Liverpool last weekend.
He was introduced from the bench on Thursday as Chelsea made eight changes for their Europa League win over MOL Vidi.
They will be back to full strength on Sunday as they look to go top of the table ahead of Liverpool's clash with Manchester City.
Southampton have won just once in their opening seven games and lost twice to Chelsea in quick succession last season, blowing a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 at St Mary's and then going down 2-0 in the semi-finals of the FA Cup.
Manager Mark Hughes believes Chelsea can be contenders for silverware again this season, saying: "I think Chelsea will always be a (title) contender, you see the quality of their squad.
"The strength in depth they've got is comparable to all the other top teams. They will go close. They've got a new manager and it seems when Chelsea change management that initial season usually seems to be the one that they are very strong in.
"I feel, given what I've already seen, they will have a strong season and go very close."
Alongside Hazard, defenders Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Antonio Rudiger and Marcos Alonso were among those afforded a rest against Vidi. Striker Olivier Giroud and midfielder Jorginho should also return.
Mark Hughes welcomes forward Shane Long, who missed the Carabao Cup clash with Everton in midweek, back into his squad after overcoming a toe issue.
Southampton's options are further boosted after Moi Elyounoussi returned to training.
"Shane Long is back, he trained today. Moi Elyounoussi also trained today, Ryan Bertrand trained and Alex McCarthy also," Hughes said. "They'll all be available as long as we don't see a reaction overnight."
Southampton have lost each of their last six matches against Chelsea in all competitions, including three last season (two in the Premier League, one in the FA Cup).
Chelsea have lost just one of their 11 visits to St. Mary's against Southampton (W8 D2), winning each of their last three in a row.
The team scoring first in Premier League matches between Southampton and Chelsea have gone on to win in just four of the last 10 meetings - in the most recent game, Southampton surrendered a two-goal lead to lose 3-2.
Southampton are winless in 25 Premier League meetings with 'big six' opponents (D7 L18), since beating Liverpool, Man City and Spurs in three consecutive such games in the 2015-16 season.
Southampton have only won one of their last 13 Premier League games played on a Sunday (D7 L5), beating Everton 4-1 in November 2017.
Chelsea's Olivier Giroud has played 199 Premier League games, and could become the 17th French player to reach 200 in the competition.
Southampton manager Mark Hughes has lost his last six matches against Chelsea in all competitions, including both as Saints boss.
Southampton had a great result in midweek in the Carabao Cup against Everton. They are not going to win the league or come seventh even so why not give your fans a day out at Wembley like they did a few years ago. Their midweek performance will have taken a lot out of them. Chelsea are in the Europa League but they will rest a lot of their stars. I just don't see how Southampton contain Eden Hazard, I think it's impossible.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-3 (12/1 with Sky Bet)