Southampton V Chelsea at St. Mary's Stadium : LIVE
Southampton V Chelsea - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.
Davis aspires to ruthless Blues
Chelsea may not be firing on all cylinders but Steven Davis believes the ruthless efficiency Jose Mourinho's title-chasing side possess is something Southampton should aspire to.
Just five weeks ago, Saints' best ever start to a top-flight season saw them within a win of moving top of the table.
However, a 2-0 defeat at Arsenal put paid to those hopes and began a run which has seen them win just one of their past eight.
Those statistics do not fairly represent Saints' impressive displays, injury problems and level of opposition, but they do highlight areas to improve on.
"I don't think there is any feeling within the team that we're on a slippery slope or anything like that," midfielder Davis said.
"We have been in games, overall our general play has been good and we just have to cut out certain errors at the back and be a bit more clinical going forward as a team as well.
"I don't think it has dented our confidence in anyway. There is still that belief in terms of how we want to play and everybody is 100 per cent behind the methods.
"I think if the start of the season we had been looking at this position, we would have been relatively happy.
"We have seen a lot of progression from where we came from, our first Premier League season.
"This month, in particular, has been difficult in terms of the fixtures we've had. We've probably been a little unfortunate in certain games, naive in certain games.
"That is something we need to learn from and try to put right.
"As a whole, there are a lot of positives to take forwards and a good progression being made."
Something Davis knows Saints could do with is a mental strength similar to Wednesday's opponent Chelsea.
Despite having failed to reach their best yet, the west London side could go top of the pile on New Year's Day thanks to an unerring ability to grind out results.
"We managed to beat them towards the end of the season when we beat some of the bigger teams at home last season," Davis said. "It is something we hope to replicate again.
"We know how strong Chelsea are, even though they don't seem to be firing on all cylinders yet."
Michael Essien could leave Chelsea in the transfer window, according to his agent.
The Ghana midfielder spent last season on loan with Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid, but has managed just three Barclays Premier League appearances this term.
Essien joined Chelsea from Lyon in 2005, moving on to claim two Premier League titles, four FA Cups and the Champions League.
The 31-year-old has been omitted from Chelsea's Champions League squad so far this season.
Agent Fabian Piveteau believes that could help pave the way for a move to another big European club during the January window.
"He could leave Chelsea this winter," Piveteau told French radio station RMC.
"Several major European clubs playing in the Champions League were informed and the situation should settle down within the next 10 days.
"You should know that Michael was not on the list of players who can play in the Champions League with Chelsea, so he is free to play in the competition with another club."
Piveteau rejected a return to Essien's first club Bastia out of hand, admitting that the 52-cap midfielder will only seek to move to a club of similar standing.
He said: "In Ligue 1 he could play only at Paris Saint Germain or Lyon, but Bastia, FC Sochaux, for them to support the salary of a Chelsea player, it is already impossible."
Meanwhile Blues striker Patrick Bamford could be swapping MK Dons for Derby as he builds experience through loan deals meanwhile.
The 20-year-old has fired 16 goals for the Dons this season, and could now be set to swap Sky Bet League One for the Championship.
Nottingham Forest academy product Bamford joined Chelsea in January 2012, signing a five-year contract.
Manager Steve McClaren admitted England Under-21 star Bamford fits the profile of loan targets for the club.
"We are having a little look around," he told the Derby Telegraph.
"I am pleased with the team, pleased with the squad but maybe it has not got that depth.
"We are going to have a little look at that but, certainly, if everyone stays fit, we have got 15 or 16 players contributing and doing very well.
"What we have done is we have gone for younger players, the likes of Andre Wisdom and Michael Keane, and even Simon Dawkins, who I keep thinking is only 18 or 19, and he is 26.
"So, we have gone for younger players from the top teams and we want that quality."
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