Southampton supporters have been pretty upbeat in recent times after seeing their side make it through to the last-16 of the Carabao Cup in midweek.
Mark Hughes’ men went into their clash with fellow Premier League outfit Everton off the back of losing 2-0 to Wolves in the league a few days earlier, their fourth defeat in their opening seven league matches. Yet the Saints got back to winning ways on Tuesday night at Goodison Park courtesy of a penalty shoot-out success over Marco Silva’s Toffees, what with the game ending 1-1 after 90 minutes courtesy of goals from Danny Ings and Theo Walcott, only for Hughes’ side to hold their nerve and win the subsequent shoot-out.
Thus, there have been many thrilled Southampton fans up and down the country in recent times, several of whom are eagerly anticipating their side’s clash with in-form Chelsea tomorrow afternoon.
Maurizio Sarri’s men have won five and drawn the other two of their opening seven Premier League games to sit third in the table, with their 1-1 draw against Liverpool last week an indication that the Blues may well challenge for the title this time round.
As such, it is sure to be a very testing afternoon for Hughes’ Saints on Sunday, and given the form Eden Hazard has been in so far this term, Southampton right back Cedric Soares is going to have to be at his brilliant best if the hosts are to stand a chance against the West Londoners.
Ultimately, Belgium international Hazard has been one of the most impressive attackers in the English top-flight so far this season with six goals and two assists in seven league appearances, firing him to the top of the division’s goal-scoring charts.
And with a direct contribution in all but one of those seven games, including a hat-trick in their 4-1 success over Cardiff City last month, the 27-year-old is sure to have a say in the outcome of Sunday’s clash at St Mary’s, unless Saints right back Cedric can produce the goods.
The Portugal international is another who has featured in all seven Premier League games so far this term, but he hasn’t always been at his consistently-solid best in the last few years, albeit he did provide the assist for Ings’ goal in their 2-0 win at Crystal Palace back in August, their only league success this term.
Nonetheless, there is a very good defender in Cedric and Southampton will need him at that level against Chelsea’s left wing wizard Hazard this weekend, with the Saints right back needing to be alert to his movement throughout the clash, as well as get tight to him where possible and give him as little space to work in – give him an inch, and Hazard will punish them.
Yes, while keeping Hazard quiet is by no means an easy task, West Ham managed to do it brilliantly a few weeks ago at the London Stadium, so it certainly can be done.
But it will need a brilliant display from £13.5 million-rated Cedric (as per Transfermarkt) if that is to happen, and thus Southampton are to stand a chance against Sarri’s side on Sunday.
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