Key clashes vs Southampton: Chelsea looks to build on Palace thrashing

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Chelsea’s Spanish goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga looks on during the English Premier League football match between Sheffield United and Chelsea at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, northern England on July 11, 2020. (Photo by RUI VIEIRA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Chelsea returns to action in the Premier League this weekend against Southampton, but what are the key clashes that could decide the match?

With another international break under the belt, it is now time to turn focus back to the Premier League. Chelsea takes on a team who has been equally inconsistent this season, Southampton. Both sides come into the game off the back of convincing victories and the Blues will be hoping to keep the momentum going as a hectic October schedule gets back under way. Southampton may have had some mixed results, but there is certainly a few talented individuals in the Saints’ side that should make this an interesting affair. Here are some key clashes to keep an eye on:

1. Danny Ings vs. Kepa Arrizabalaga

Danny Ings needs little introduction. The English striker scored 22 goals last season with only Leicester’s Jamie Vardy (23) managing more in the league. As such, Ings is the clear danger man in Saints’ attack. He has already claimed three goals this season, including a brace against Tottenham Hotspur, and will be looking to add to his tally against the Blues.

Fortunately for a Chelsea defence that has looked lacklustre in recent years, there is a whole host of new additions to stop the Southampton striker from causing too much damage. Unfortunately, a number of them look set to miss the clash through injury. Ben Chilwell has pulled out of the England squad due to a pre-existing foot injury. Even more devastating is the injury to new shot stopper Edouard Mendy.

With the Senegalese goalkeeper between the sticks for the demolishing of Crystal Palace, Chelsea managed its first clean sheet since July. However, earlier this week, it was reported that Mendy had returned to Cobham after picking up an injury on international duty. This means we will once again be subjected to an anxiety-inducing performance from record signing Kepa Arrizabalaga.

The Spaniard has made claims that he will not go down without a fight and will reclaim his No. 1 jersey soon enough. It will take a monumental performance against one of the league’s top strikers to increase his stock among the Chelsea faithful. Last season, Ings averaged almost three shots of a game. If Arrizabalaga’s save percentage—in the same period of 54.5 percent—is anything to go by, expect Ings to get himself another brace against a London club.

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