Southampton supporters have been pretty upbeat in recent times after seeing their side reach the last 16 of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night.
Mark Hughes’ men went into their encounter with fellow Premier League outfit Everton off the back of successive defeats in the league, losing to Liverpool and Wolves in their preceding two clashes. Yet the Saints got back to winning ways on Tuesday night in securing a penalty shoot-out victory over Marco Silva’s Toffees, having drawn 1-1 after 90 minutes thanks to goals from Danny Ings for the visitors, and Theo Walcott for the hosts.
As such, there have been many thrilled Southampton fans up and down the country in recent times, several of whom are likely to be intrigued by recent comments from Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson, who has identified the biggest issue facing Hughes’ side against Chelsea this afternoon, namely Eden Hazard.
In fact, Merson states that ‘it’s impossible’ to ‘contain’ the Belgium international at present such is his incredible run of form, and it’s difficult to argue with the ex-Arsenal midfielder in terms of Hazard being the biggest issue facing the South Coast outfit this afternoon.
Ultimately, there have been fewer better players in the Premier League this term than 27-year-old Hazard, who has scored six goals and laid on two assists in his seven appearances in the league for Maurizio Sarri’s men this term.
In fact, that goal tally sees him top the division’s goal-scoring charts at this early stage of the campaign, while arguably his most impressive goal of the campaign actually came in the Carabao Cup in the Blues’ 2-1 win at Liverpool a few weeks back – ultimately, he is in remarkable form.
And in directly contributing in all but one of his seven Premier League matches this season, he is likely to have some sort of say at St Mary’s later on today, although West Ham did thwart the Belgian when they teams met at the London Stadium last month – thus, it can be done.
And Southampton will need to take inspiration from Manuel Pellegrini’s side, as stopping the 27-year-old is without doubt their main priority this afternoon – doing so could pave the way towards a positive result.
But as Merson rightly states, Hazard’s form, even after that frustrating afternoon at West Ham, has been simply sensational, and such is the freedom and confidence with which he is playing at present, it does appear to be ‘impossible’ to thwart the attacker.
Southampton simply have to find a way to ‘contain’ the 27-year-old, but as Merson rightly says, that does appear to be easier said than done.
Southampton fans… what do you think? Let us know!