3 Reasons Southampton Match Is Must-Win for Chelsea

Rachel Bascom@@Rachel_BascomContributor IIIMarch 25, 2013

3 Reasons Southampton Match Is Must-Win for Chelsea

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    After an international break that seems like two years rather than two weeks, many of us will be happy to see the return of Premier League action.

    Every game is crucial at this end of the season, and Chelsea face a potentially tricky encounter with Southampton at St. Mary's.

    Read on for a preview of Saturday's game, and three reasons why it is a must-win for the Blues. 

They Need to Secure Third Place

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    The Blues are back in third after being bumped down by Gareth Bale and Tottenham Hotspur a couple of weeks ago. A win against Southampton is the only way to guarantee that they stay there.

    It is also worth noting that Manchester City lost to Everton in their last Premier League match, meaning the gap between second and third place is back to just four points.

    At this point, third place is the minimum league position required, as it guarantees automatic qualification for the Champions League. However, there is no denying that second place—combined with wins in both cup competitions—would be one of the few scenarios that could turn this season into a good one.

They Face Manchester United Two Days Later

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    This match will mark the first of a loaded fixture list for Chelsea in the next few weeks, and it is one that will continue if they progress in both the FA Cup and Europa League.

    After facing Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday, Chelsea will return home to play Manchester United in an FA Cup replay, followed that week by their Europa League quarterfinal against Rubin Kazan.

    The last thing that any team wants before a run of games is to kick them off with a disappointing loss to a lesser team. 

Nothing Else Will Do

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    It would be quite indicative of Chelsea's season should they gain anything but a win on Saturday, but against the 16th-placed team, nothing else will do.

    When Chelsea met Southampton at Stamford Bridge in January, Southampton scored two second-half goals, and the match ended in a disappointing 2-2 draw.

    If Chelsea are going to pull anything else from a somewhat miserable season, a win is the only result they can leave this match with.