Chelsea aim to tighten defence in march toward Premier League title
Chelsea will look to keep their first clean sheet in the Premier League in more than three months and move closer to securing the title when they host Southampton at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.
Only Tottenham Hotspur, who at 71 points are four points behind the leaders, seem to have a chance of preventing Chelsea from claiming their sixth Premier League title with six games remaining.
Chelsea, who kept 12 clean sheets over the first four months of the Premier League season, have conceded at least once in each of their last 10 league games. Their last clean sheet in Premier League play was a 2-0 win at home against Hull City on Jan. 22.
That run is the club's longest since the 1996-97 season, when a 2-0 victory against Aston Villa on Dec. 26 marked the first time they did not concede a goal in 13 games.
And after a 2-0 loss to Manchester United on April 16, Chelsea are hoping to avoid failing to score themselves in consecutive games for the first time since the end of last season.
They had lost just one game in six months between October and March, but with a defeat against Crystal Palace on April 1, they have already lost twice in April. A loss to Southampton on Tuesday would mark the first time Chelsea have lost three league games in one month since October 2015.
A goal from Diego Costa could help prevent that from occurring. Costa, who has scored twice in his last three games against Southampton and has 17 league goals this season, has not scored since March 6 at West Ham United -- a run of five Premier League games.
Should he fail to score against Saints, he would equal his longest goalless streak in league competition since February 2013, when he went six games without scoring while with Atletico Madrid.
Southampton, who have won three of their last four Premier League games, enter Tuesday ninth in the table with 40 points. They have only won three Premier League games at Stamford Bridge, though they won the teams' most recent meeting on Oct. 3, 2015.
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