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The FourFourTwo Preview: Southampton vs Chelsea

Mauricio Pochettino's Southampton were the surprise package at the start of the season, but they have now dropped down to ninth after winning just one of their last eight Premier League games.

Chelsea beat fellow title-hopefuls Liverpool on Sunday to make it three wins in their last four top-flight games and they are now third, just two points behind leaders Arsenal.

The London club have already beaten Southampton 3-1 at Stamford Bridge this term, but Jose Mourinho's side had to come from behind after Jay Rodriguez scored just 15 seconds into the game at the start of December.

Terry scored in that victory and the skipper was also on target at St Mary's last season, but his goal was in vain as the home side ran out 2-1 winners.

And the former England centre-back has seen enough of Pochettino's charges to know they must not be taken lightly as he targets another Premier League title.

"It's going to be tough because they're very good at home and it proved a difficult game here (Stamford Bridge) when they scored pretty early," Terry told Chelsea's official website.

"They are a good footballing side, very much like Liverpool, who try and play out from the back so we're expecting a tough game."

Chelsea boss Mourinho will be without Frank Lampard (muscular injury), Branislav Ivanovic (knee) and Marco van Ginkel (knee) for the trip to the south coast.

David Luiz also misses out as he serves a one-match ban after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season in Sunday's 2-1 win over Liverpool, but Ramires returns from a ban.

Southampton have not won at home since easing to a 4-1 win over Hull City on November 9 and Pochettino knows they will be up against it in their first game in 2014.

He said: "It's clear that Chelsea are a top side, a great team. They have great, talented players. We learned a lot from that game (at Chelsea). It was a very competitive game and it's going to be another competitive game against them this time around.

"There are many factors that happened during that game to balance the end result of the game. We know them well and we’re more than aware that we’re going to be facing a very tough team."

Striker Pablo Daniel Osvaldo (illness) will be monitored ahead of the game, but goalkeeper Artur Boruc (hand), midfielder Victor Wanyama (fractured leg) and striker Guly do Prado (knee) will not feature.

Midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin will return after missing Sunday's defeat at Everton through suspension.