Southampton will look to open the new year on a high note and make up some crucial ground in the Premier League table on New Year's Day when they host Chelsea at St. Mary's Stadium.
The Week 20 clash is a rematch of Dec. 1's showdown at Stamford Bridge, which Jose Mourinho's Blues took 3-1 in convincing fashion. However, Chelsea will be up against a much more desperate Saints squad this time around.
Mauricio Pochettino's men have fallen off the pace ever since a Nov. 23 loss at Arsenal and currently find themselves 15 points off the league-leaders' pace.
Meanwhile, Chelsea haven't lost since a slip-up at Stoke City on Dec. 7 and enter Matchday 20 just two points back of the Gunners. Recent wins over Liverpool and Swansea City have the Blues flying high ahead of Wednesday's New Year's Day matchup.
Here we'll get you set with everything you need to know before kickoff.
Date: Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014
Start Time: 10 a.m. ET, 3 p.m. GMT
Where: St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton, England
Watch: NBC Sports Network (U.S.), BT Sport 1 (U.K.)
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra
Southampton: 31.4 percent
Chelsea: 41.4 percent
*Odds according to Bloomberg Sports.
Top Storyline: Saints Boss Alleges Unfair Treatment
Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino believes that officials have treated his side unfairly through the first half of the Premier League season as a result of the Saints' "young, friendly" image, according to BBC Sport:
We have been suffering all season long. Many injustices have gone against us. We are very angry about the decision not to give a clear penalty, it was a clear penalty, everyone saw it. We are a young, friendly team, but we do not get the respect we deserve from the referees and it has happened one more time.
The 41-year-old Argentine's comments stemmed from a controversial no-call in Dec. 29's 2-1 loss to Everton at Goodison Park, in which the match official refused to award the Saints a penalty for a handball.
While Pochettino may have an argument, his complaints are more so a product of Southampton's recent struggles. The Saints have picked up just five total points since mid-November and have seen England's elite teams pass them by on the pitch and on the league table.
Which side will prevail?
While Southampton and Chelsea are clearly two clubs trending in opposite directions at the moment, there's a strong case to be made for the Saints in this matchup. In addition to playing at home, Southampton will be assisted by a scorching-hot goalscorer in Jay Rodriguez, who scored in the Saints' 2-1 home win over Chelsea last season, per the club's official Twitter account:
Rodriguez currently leads the Saints with eight Premier League goals this season. He's scored five in his past seven league appearances and is poised to add to his total on Wednesday.
On top of that, Chelsea's offense hasn't traveled well this season. The Blues have scored just 13 goals in nine away matches compared to 22 at home. That doesn't bode well for Chelsea, as Southampton have conceded just nine goals over their previous nine home games.
Southampton 2, Chelsea 1
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