Goal hole at the Bridge
Chelsea's goal problems at home point to a value bet for Wednesday's Premier League clash with Southampton.
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Our Andy Schooler has previewed the match, which was initially scheduled to take place in December but Chelsea instead had to take part in the FIFA Club World Cup.
"The last two (home) games were more difficult because they had 11 players behind the ball and we have to find a way to overcome that.''
The words of Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez ahead of Wednesday's clash with Southampton as he tried to explain back-to-back defeats at Stamford Bridge for the Blues.
In neither game did Chelsea score (losing 1-0 to QPR and 2-0 to Swansea) and it means that under Benitez the Blues have now failed to score in four of their six home matches (they were also kept out by Fulham and Manchester City).
Unhappy fans won't be helping, but while Benitez's words are rather harsh on Swansea, there's no doubt they are finding it much tougher to break teams down on home soil than they are on their travels.
As Benitez added: "When you play away there is more space, the players we have can make a big difference.
"If you have 11 players behind the ball you have to find the space and be more precise."
Southampton may still be firmly embroiled in he relegation battle, but there's no doubt they've improved significantly, especially at the back, since the early weeks of the campaign.
That's reflected in the fact that nine of their last 12 games have seen fewer than 2.5 goals. That run has also brought just three defeats.
It's therefore a little suprising to see that under 2.5 goals in this game is available at 17/10.
In short, it looks a decent bit of business.
Admittedly one of those defeats and over 2.5-goal-games was against Chelsea, who won 5-1 at St Mary's in the FA Cup earlier this month.
However, Saints had a much-changed line-up that day and Demba Ba, who bagged two goals, isn't certain to play given he's been carrying a knock.
Even if he does, Southampton have managed to keep some decent players in check of late, including Luis Suarez (they lost 1-0 to a Daniel Agger goal at Anfield).
For those seeking a bigger price, it's worth mentioning Rickie Lambert again.
I highlighted him at the weekend, successfully tipping him to score at any time against Aston Villa.
That was the fourth time in his last five away games that Lambert has hit the target.
He's 4/1 to find the net here, while you can also get 11/2 about him scoring the visitors' first goal of the game.
All four of Lambert's aforementioned goals have been his side's first and given Saints will do well to score more than once in this one, it's a price worth considering if you do fancy getting with the in-form striker.
Verdict: Chelsea 1 Southampton 0