Southampton will take on Chelsea in the semi-finals of the FA Cup on Sunday looking to cause an unlikely upset. Both teams will be hoping to progress into the final where they will clash heads against the winner of the Manchester United versus Tottenham Hotspur tie.
The Saints looks set to be demoted from the Premier League at the end of this season unless they manage to conjure up a miracle run of results in the coming weeks. The FA Cup could prove to be a welcome distraction for them as a win on Sunday versus Conte’s Chelsea team could give their players a massive boost ahead of the final few fixtures of the campaign.
The Blues, on the other hand, has had a mediocre season under Antonio Conte so far and the FA Cup could prove to be their last opportunity of winning a major silverware this term. They have struggled in the English top-flight and their chances of earning a top 4 finish remain very slender going into the business end of the season. Hence, all of their eggs are now in the FA Cup basket so it is expected that their Italian boss will name a strong starting eleven for this semi-final clash.
3-4-2-1 Southampton Predicted Lineup To Face Chelsea
Alex McCarthy will continue in the Southampton goal and might be protected by a back three of Jan Bednarek, Maya Yoshida and Wesley Hoedt. The Saints manager Mark Hughes has seen his defence keep a rare clean sheet in their last league encounter versus Leicester City in midweek and will be hoping that his back three can keep it tight in defence against a dangerous Chelsea team.
Oriol Romeu is set to continue his midfield partnership with Pierre-Emile Højbjerg at the centre of the park. Ryan Bertrand will feature on the left flank while Cedric Soares operates on the right side of the midfield.
Dusan Tadic and James Ward-Prowse will be deployed just ahead of the midfield four to provide support to their forward in the opposition box. Both players are currently playing at their best level and will look to get their names on the scoresheet on Sunday.
Charlie Austin could get the nod ahead of Shane Long to lead the lines for the South-coast side as he looks to cause problems for the Chelsea defenders in the final third. The 28-year-old ace has made 20 appearances for the Saints in the league this season, finding the back of the net 7 times so far. Only time will tell whether he can find his goalscoring touch against the Blues on Sunday.
Shane Long might have to be content with a place on the bench and could be called upon, if required, later in the game.