Chelsea and Southampton meet at Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day, with both teams hoping to secure back-to-back Premier League victories.
Frank Lampard's side defeated Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in a London derby on Sunday following a run of one win in five domestic matches, and they could close the distance on the top three with a win over Saints.
Ralph Hasenhuttl has endured at the Southampton helm despite this season's early pressure and now has three wins in his last five league games, including Saturday's 3-1 triumph away to Aston Villa.
Chelsea can move back among the UEFA Champions League qualification spots with a win, while Southampton are out to increase the three-point gap between them and the relegation zone.
Date: Thursday, December 26
Time: 3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET
Venue: Stamford Bridge, London
TV Info: NBCSN (U.S.)
A derby triumph over Tottenham provided the ideal early Christmas present for Chelsea fans in Week 18, with the club hoping to capitalise as they seek to remain in touch with the Premier League's upper crust.
Third-place Manchester City still hold a six-point advantage over Lampard's side, but Willian's brace at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium kept them within touching distance of the reigning Premier League champions:
Southampton haven't beaten the Blues since they won 3-1 at Stamford Bridge in October 2015, when Liverpool's Sadio Mane and striker Graziano Pelle—now at Chinese club Shandong Luneng—were among the scorers.
The west Londoners will be wary, however, considering the Saints managed to scrape a 0-0 draw in their last visit to Stamford Bridge in January when Maurizio Sarri was still in charge of the Blues.
Chelsea have shown the potential to look much more adventurous under incumbent chief Lampard, though The Athletic's Simon Johnson lamented their lack of resilience in defence earlier in December:
Their win at 10-man Tottenham was the first clean sheet Chelsea have kept since beating Crystal Palace 2-0 on November 9, not to mention their first domestic clean sheet away from home this season.
Those words will sound like music to the ears of in-form Saints hitman Danny Ings, who continued his prolific run in front of goal with a brace at Villa on Saturday, per NBC Sports:
The former Liverpool and Burnley striker has the backing of his manager to regain his spot in the England squad ahead of UEFA Euro 2020, as he's coming good after numerous frustrations in recent years.
Paul Gorst of the Liverpool Echo nodded to Ings' past injury troubles and celebrated his remarkable run of form:
Southampton should offer Chelsea's defence troubles in Week 19 provided they can keep 11 men on the field. Hasenhuttl's side have been reduced to 10 men twice this season—only Spurs have had three dismissals this term.
The Saints have not scored at the Bridge in their past three visits, and Hasenhuttl's revival on the south-coast looks like it could hit a delay in west London.