For Newcastle United and Chelsea, their respective outlooks heading into the final fixture before the World Cup couldn't be much more different.

While Eddie Howe's side are enjoying a brilliant season that at this point looks set to end with a European spot at the very least, Chelsea have endured a difficult few weeks and are on the slide.

Essentially, the World Cup break comes at the worst possible moment for Newcastle, but for Chelsea it's perfectly timed as it can potentially act as a circuit-breaker.

Nevertheless, there's still time for Chelsea to improve their collective mood heading into the break – though Saturday's trip to St James' Park is going to be a real test.

Newcastle a different beast

In the world of football, people love to look back for omens. Chelsea and their fans might be able to trick themselves into some confidence if they reflect on the club's record against Newcastle.

The Blues have won three of their past four Premier League away games against the Magpies – if they rack up another, they'll make it three victories in a row at St James' Park for the first time since 1958.

Similarly, Chelsea have won seven of their previous eight league games against Newcastle (L1), including the past four in a row without conceding.

But this Newcastle is obviously a rather different proposition. They'll be playing a Premier League game after starting the day in the top three for the first time since November 2011, and it'll be the first time they've faced Chelsea while above them in the table in 12 and a half years.

Newcastle also head into the game knowing a win will see them tally five top-flight triumphs in a row for the first time in eight years. 

Chelsea have the blues

Graham Potter made history after going unbeaten in his first nine games at the Chelsea helm, but since then they've lost three out of four matches.

Wednesday's 2-0 loss to Manchester City in the EFL Cup third round was hardly a major shock, but it'll have done little to improve their state of mind after the team's confidence took a battering – literally and figuratively – in the 4-1 defeat to Potter's former side Brighton and Hove Albion and a 1-0 reverse at home to Arsenal.

The latter two were both in the league and were only separated by a slender Champions League victory over Dinamo Zagreb, meaning defeat on Saturday would see them lose three top-flight games in a row for the first time since November 2015 when Jose Mourinho was in charge.

Shot-shy Chelsea

Part of Chelsea's problem has been their struggles in front of goal, which perhaps shouldn't be seen as hugely shocking given they let two strikers in Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku leave in pre-season.

Only five clubs have had fewer shots in the Premier League this term than Chelsea (151), with their average of 11.6 shots per game their lowest on record in a single campaign (since 1997-98).

By comparison, their hosts are having no such issues.

Only Liverpool and Manchester City have had more shots than Newcastle (208), with their average of 14.9 attempts per game their highest since 2013-14 (15.2).

Chelsea do at least have two players who've enjoyed facing Newcastle in the past. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been involved in nine goals in as many meetings with them in all competitions, his best return against one team in English football, while Raheem Sterling has recorded six goal involvements in his past six league games against the Magpies.

However, neither could be considered in a rich vein of form – that's certainly not something you could say about Newcastle's Miguel Almiron.

Almiron's on fire

Almiron's turnaround at Newcastle has genuinely been quite heart-warming, particularly against the backdrop of those disparaging comments made by Jack Grealish earlier this year.

The Paraguayan has been utterly lethal for Newcastle this season, and his form received the recognition it deserved on Friday when he was announced as the Premier League's Player of the Month for October.

But his excellence hasn't just been localised to October. Almiron has eight goals in 14 Premier League games this term, just one fewer than he managed in his first 110 in the competition combined.

Clearly, though, he's really found his groove in the past few weeks, as a goal against Chelsea will see him become the first player to net in five successive league games for the club since Joe Willock's remarkable run of seven at the end of the 2020-21 season.

Graham Potter is one of the best coaches in the Premier League, and Chelsea will be rewarded for sticking with him, according to Pep Guardiola.

Chelsea face Guardiola's Manchester City in the EFL Cup third round on Wednesday – a task Potter is unlikely to relish given recent results.

After a nine-match unbeaten run to start his Stamford Bridge reign, Potter lost 4-1 at former club Brighton and Hove Albion last month.

A narrow defeat to Premier League leaders Arsenal on Sunday was a second in a row domestically, and pressure is already building on the coach.

But Guardiola thinks highly of his opposite number, and he said ahead of their meeting: "I'm not the right person to say that because it's not my business. But if Chelsea accepts my humble advice, with no intention, give him time and he will do well."

The City boss added: "I have a lot of admiration for his work. What he did at Brighton is beyond exceptional, and I'm pretty sure with time he will do a good job.

"I don't have any doubts about this. It's the same with Roberto De Zerbi at Brighton.

"When they start losing games, it's a question of time. If they are patient, he will have an impact in England and he will have it as Graham has done in this country.

"He's one of the best managers, from my point of view, we have in this league."

Guardiola will encounter another man under pressure on Wednesday as former City star Raheem Sterling returns to the Etihad Stadium with Chelsea.

Sterling scored against Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League last week, but that was only his fifth goal for Chelsea. He netted 17 for City last season.

"No, no, I cannot judge," Guardiola said. "In the case of Oleks [Zinchenko], Gabi [Jesus] and Raheem, I want the best.

"So, my gratitude to all of them, especially these guys, is immense, immense for what they have done for this club. Just hats off.

"Thank you so much, and I wish him all the best and, hopefully, he's happy there.

"I definitely hope [Sterling gets a good reception]. I always like clubs when they welcome the guys who had been here many years and have been key figures and important roles in our team in all these years.

"Because maybe you forget what happened in the last month, but that is not a reality [of] what happened in a period of six, seven years he was here.

"He deserves it, of course. The same is going to happen with Gabi. When the game starts, of course, you want to beat them. But I think in England, people appreciate that."

Chelsea head coach Graham Potter thinks it is unfair for Raheem Sterling to be the focus of criticism when the whole team is failing to match expectations.

The Blues had enjoyed a solid start to Potter's tenure in charge, going unbeaten in his first nine matches, but a chastening 4-1 defeat away to his former club Brighton and Hove Albion saw the honeymoon period end in abrupt fashion.

A slender 2-1 win over Dinamo Zagreb followed in the Champions League, but Arsenal inflicted a second successive Premier League loss on Chelsea at the weekend as they left Stamford Bridge with a 1-0 victory.

Chelsea's performance in that London derby was desperately underwhelming, but Potter does not want one player taking the brunt of criticism, with Sterling – who struggled against the Gunners – coming in for a lot amid a muted start to life at the club that has some questioning his England future.

When Sterling's admission that he needs to offer more was brought up at Potter's pre-match press conference ahead of Wednesday's third-round EFL Cup trip to Manchester City, he said: "You can tell by his reaction, he's honest.

"Players go through moments in their career where it isn't so positive and sometimes they go through periods where everything they touch is gold, so to speak.

"I don't think you can zoom in on the individual; the team isn't functioning as well as we'd like. That has an impact on the individuals, and Raheem's part of the team, so the work is for us to improve the team, improve the structures.

"I've no doubt about Raheem's quality, ability. He's a proven top, top player."

Throughout his career to date, Potter has been praised for an ability to get the most out of his players, nurturing them to help them find a level they had not been to before.

This coaching was particularly seen at Brighton, where the club established something of a habit of signing players relatively cheaply and developing them into valuable assets.

Potter feels he has been working a similar way ever since joining Chelsea, but he was eager to point out that a significant overhaul in such a short period of time can take some adjusting to for everyone.

"You have to do that constantly," he continued. "That's what the job entails, not just for [Sterling], for lots of players because like I said, it's been a tough period.

"There's lots of things happening, change, new faces everywhere, trying to get it all to gel and settle down, and trying to develop a new playing style.

"As you can see, we've a lot of work to do, but that's why we came here, to produce a top team. There's a long way to go, but it's exciting."

Potter's excitement about the future at Chelsea certainly does not appear to have been tempered by their recent woes, and he puts that down to never kidding himself that it was always going to go well.

"I'd be lying if I said to you I didn't expect it at some point," Potter added. "When you take this job and challenge on, of course there will be times when it isn't a pleasant road.

"You have to deal with that, be honest. That's my responsibility, to take that on. We'll have a had six-week period in the end where we've had 13 matches, eight of them away.

"It takes a toll on everything. We've had injuries to key players, it can get messy, it's part of the process. I've been through it before, so it is what it is, that's part of what the job is to deal with it.

"I don't think you can ever predict football. When results were good, I was honest enough to say we still have a lot of things to improve.

"It wasn't as if we were sitting there thinking we've cracked football, by any means. Performance wise we can improve a lot. It's exciting, but that's the challenge."

Mason Mount described Ben Chilwell's hamstring agony as "tough to watch" and hopes his Chelsea and England team-mate can recover in time to feature at the World Cup.

Left-back Chilwell was forced from the field during stoppage time in the Blues' 2-1 win over Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League on Wednesday.

With the Qatar 2022 finals less than three weeks away, Chilwell faces a race to prove his fitness for England boss Gareth Southgate, deepening what is already becoming a defensive crisis for the Three Lions.

Mount was left fearing the worst for Chilwell, but he remained hopeful it may not be as serious an injury as it looked at first glance.

"We don't know how bad it is, but that was tough to watch," Mount told Chelsea's official website. "We saw his reaction and that never looks good.

"As soon as you feel something and to not even think about the ball, it's tough. We know what's coming up, hopefully it's not too bad and he can be back as soon as possible because we need him as well."

While Chilwell's place on the plane now looks in doubt, one player who has given his tournament prospects a shot in the arm is Raheem Sterling.

The England winger broke his Blues drought with a goal in the midweek win, and Mount was delighted to see Sterling on the scoresheet for the first time since September.

"It's brilliant for Raz," Mount said. "He took his goal very well. He doesn't think about how many games he goes without scoring.

"He's so focused on helping the team and getting in the right positions. It will come for him, we know how good he is."

Chelsea next play Arsenal on Sunday in the Premier League. England will play their opening World Cup game against Iran on November 21.

Denis Zakaria scored the winner on his Chelsea debut as the Blues recorded a fourth straight Champions League win with a 2-1 victory over Dinamo Zagreb at Stamford Bridge.

Zakaria has struggled to break into the first team since joining on loan from Juventus in the last transfer window but his 30th-minute strike proved decisive after Raheem Sterling had cancelled out Bruno Petkovic's opener.

The Blues had already secured progression to the knockout stages as Group E winners prior to Wednesday's clash, where goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic impressed to keep Dinamo in the game in the second half.

Dinamo could not muster a comeback, though, and were eliminated from Europe after finishing bottom, while Chelsea responded in encouraging fashion after a 4-1 loss to Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.

Petkovic headed Dinamo into a seventh-minute lead after Chelsea failed to deal with Sadegh Moharrami's right-wing cross but the Blues soon levelled.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang flicked for Sterling to dance onto his left foot and coolly find the bottom-left corner.

Sterling missed a great chance when he powered Kai Havertz's centre over from close range, but Zakaria fired into the bottom-left corner from a similar distance after another cutback pass from the German to put Chelsea ahead.

Edouard Mendy pushed away Josip Sutalo's header after the interval, while Livakovic parried over an Aubameyang curler before Ben Chilwell blasted just off target from a tight angle.

Mason Mount's whipped free-kick was denied by another fine Livakovic stop in the closing stages as Chelsea eased to victory.

What does it mean? Good omens for Potter in Champions League

Potter has taken well to life in European football and became the first Chelsea manager to go unbeaten in his first five Champions League games since Roberto Di Matteo in the 2011-12 season.

Di Matteo guided the Blues to European glory that campaign and Potter will be hoping to replicate the feat after Chelsea extended to 11 home games unbeaten in the competition's group stage, last losing to Valencia in September 2019.

While Chelsea have made an underwhelming start in the Premier League, where they sit sixth, they will at least have some confidence in Europe ahead of Monday's last-16 draw.

Super Sterling

Sterling has faced scrutiny for a diminishing role in the Chelsea side in recent weeks, with some questioning whether the forward should be in England's starting line-up at the World Cup.

Yet, while the 27-year-old missed a gilt-edged first-half chance, only Wayne Rooney (30) has more Champions League goals among English players than Sterling (20) after his equaliser.

Away day misery for Dinamo

While Dinamo may not have expected to become just the second side – after Basel in the 2013-14 season – to beat Chelsea home and away in the Champions League group stage, their performance left much to be desired.

Despite Petkovic's opener, Ante Cacic's visitors offered little to trouble Mendy as Dinamo made it 21 away games in the competition without victory (L18 D3), dating back to a 1-0 win over Ajax in November 1998.

What's next?

Chelsea host Arsenal in the Premier League in Sunday's crunch London derby, while Dinamo are at home to Sibenik on the same day.

Chelsea head coach Graham Potter believes his team as a whole must "do better" in attack following Saturday's drab draw with Manchester United.

The Blues had just six attempts and two on target in a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge, their goal coming from the penalty spot through Jorginho.

Raheem Sterling was quiet again as he waits on a first career goal against United. He has a sole goal involvement in his past six Chelsea matches in all competitions and none in his past four.

Speaking ahead of the midweek Champions League meeting with Salzburg, Potter deflected blame from Sterling, calling on the entire team to improve going forward.

"I think it's more of a team thing. We have to try to do better as a team, improve our attacking play as a team, and then individuals can do better," he said.

"I always want to look at how the team functions, and there is a lot of improvement possible in that area, and that will help Raheem."

Potter was asked what needed to change for Chelsea, but he pointed to the absence of key players.

"It's a simple question to ask but quite a complex one to answer," he replied. "There's lots of things, we've had a couple of issues, losing Reece [James], [Kalidou] Koulibaly and Wesley [Fofana] in terms of stability.

"On the back of away matches in the Champions League, there have been tough places to go, so it's a combination of finding balance, a bit of a process in terms of not too much training time between the games; I think we've played seven games in the last three weeks.

"When players are coming out, to find that stability and the structure is a bit more complex, so that's been a bit of a challenge."

Raheem Sterling's form is something that will improve if Chelsea take steps forward as a team, suggests Blues boss Graham Potter.

The England international has struggled for goals since his move from Manchester City to Stamford Bridge ahead of the current campaign, with the winger looking to cement his place in Gareth Southgate's Three Lions plans.

An injury to club and international team-mate Reece James has seen him take on a positional change, playing at wing-back over some recent games in an unfamiliar role.

That has reduced his direct impact in attack, but Potter has suggested the 27-year-old will get back into the swing of things if the players around him also take steps forward.

"It's something we have to look at not by zooming into one person but as a team," he was quoted as saying on the club's website. "We can do better but if we do better as a team, then individuals will benefit from that so that's where the work is.

"Raheem has the flexibility, ability and quality to play in a number of positions. It's not straightforward with us losing the players we have. We're trying to constantly find the right balance and the right solutions, but he can help us."

Sterling figured at the front again for Chelsea in their 1-1 draw with Manchester United, when Red Devils defender Raphael Varane left the field in tears with a potential injury that could scupper his Qatar 2022 World Cup chances.

Potter acknowledged the looming tournament is likely to have an impact on players as they aim to avoid any issues that may prevent them from being in contention.

"I don't think it affects their performances, but they're also human beings," he added. "Somewhere subconsciously, you're thinking that in three weeks' time, there's a World Cup.

"I guess because of how close it is after the games finish, normally you would have a build-up phase and a bit more time, but we're going from competition phase to playing the World Cup within a week.

"It's incredible how it is, but we can't do anything about it. We just have to help the players as best we can and make sure they're not in dangerous situations for their own health."

Chelsea's perfect Premier League record under Graham Potter came to an end in the goalless draw against Brentford on Wednesday, which increases the importance of Saturday's clash against Manchester United.

The Blues sit one point above Erik ten Hag's side heading into the weekend, with both eager for a win in the early stages of the battle for a top-four finish – particularly with Newcastle United and Liverpool gathering steam behind them.

On big occasions like this, Chelsea may look to their star players and marquee additions for an impact, which directs attention towards Raheem Sterling, although the England international has a surprisingly sorry record against United.

Sterling's clashes against the Red Devils have previously always been derby encounters, first with Liverpool and then Manchester City, and in terms of goalscoring he has not risen to the occasion in the past.

Sterling's United stutters

In his Premier League career, Sterling has faced United on 18 different occasions and has enjoyed victory in just a third of those fixtures – with a tally of six wins being the second lowest against an opponent he has played on more than 10 occasions (behind games against Liverpool – three wins in 13 games).

Nine defeats leaves Sterling with more losses against United than he has tasted against any other side, with that total including three losses in his last four appearances against the Red Devils – all of which were Manchester derbies with City.

Sterling's woes have not just been on the final outcome, however, as he has failed to score in the 1,357 minutes he has played against United, despite the fact they are the side he has played the fourth-most minutes against, behind Everton, Southampton and Tottenham.

To date, Sterling's direct impact in the final third against United stands at just two assists, and Chelsea's recent history does not look much better.

United's upper hand

Chelsea head into Saturday's clash against United without a win in the last nine Premier League meetings between the sides, with draws being a regular occurrence (6) and three losses for the Blues.

In fact, 11 of the past 23 clashes between the two sides in England's top flight have finished level, with United securing seven victories in that span compared to Chelsea's five.

Chelsea's last win against United in the Premier League came five years ago, in November 2017, when Alvaro Morata scored the decisive goal of the game.

If that long wait for three points is to end this weekend, the Blues will need to be firing on all cylinders against a United side who have found their rhythm with a five-game unbeaten streak since their drubbing at the hands of City at the start of the month.

Raheem Sterling says England have shown what Gareth Southgate brings to them and insists it is not "time to panic" following their UEFA Nations League relegation.

The Three Lions were condemned to bottom spot in Group A3 after a 1-0 loss to Italy on Friday, marking their fifth consecutive match without a win, their worst competitive run since 1992.

With the World Cup in Qatar looming, expectations for another successful tournament run following a semi-final appearance at Russia 2018 and finishing runners-up at Euro 2020 look to have plummeted for Southgate's side.

Despite his achievements, form under the 52-year-old has come under increasing criticism, but, speaking ahead of Monday's dead rubber with Germany, Sterling has defended his efforts and says he remains the right man.

"[We've made it to] a semi-final and a final," he stated. "We should be trying to put positive messages out there to try and spur the boys on again. With the performances, I get why we're not thinking like this at the minute.

"But I don't think it is time to panic. We've shown over the last couple of years what [Southgate] brings to this team. He's someone that all the boys trust and someone that we want to follow in his direction.

"I don't think these last games change that narrative. I think the narrative needs to be can we go that one step ahead and how we can do it - to try and build positives."

Sterling acknowledged performances have been below par as of late, with England struggling to find a satisfactory formation to prevent defensive fragilities, but remained adamant they can turn the corner.

"In football, there's ups and downs," he said. "I think over the last couple of years, we've been in good form. The game tomorrow is a great opportunity to go out there and take a step in the right direction."

Chelsea remain winless in this season's Champions League after being held to a 1-1 draw at home to Salzburg in Graham Potter's first game as head coach.

The Blues slumped to a shock 1-0 loss at Dinamo Zagreb in their Group E opener last week, with that proving to be Thomas Tuchel's final match in charge.

Potter's tenure looked like getting off to a winning start against Salzburg when Raheem Sterling opened the scoring from Chelsea's first shot on target early in the second half.

But Salzburg, who also held Milan last week and are now unbeaten in nine games in all competitions, hit back through Noah Okafor in the 75th minute to leave Potter and his players frustrated.

Chelsea dominated the opening 45 minutes in the first meeting between these sides, but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mason Mount were wayward from the best of their chances.

The hosts were given a fright shortly before half-time when Benjamin Sesko forced Kepa Arrizabalaga into a low save from Salzburg's only effort of the first half.

Potter opted against changes at the break and was rewarded in the 48th minute as Mount's pass ran through to Sterling, who curled a delightful shot into the bottom-right corner.

Chelsea failed to push on from that breakthrough goal, though, and Okafor slotted past Kepa to level up after Thiago Silva failed to cut out the danger prior to Junior Adamu crossing.

Graham Potter opted for Cesar Azpilicueta ahead of recent arrivals Kalidou Koulibaly and Wesley Fofana as Chelsea switched to 4-3-3 in their new head coach's first game.

The Blues operated in a 3-4-3 system for most of Thomas Tuchel's tenure, but the German was dismissed after an underwhelming start to the season.

Potter was convinced to leave Brighton and Hove Albion for Stamford Bridge and made three changes ahead of his first game at home to Salzburg in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Thiago Silva returned to the starting line-up, with club captain Azpilicueta partnering the centre-back as Potter decided to leave out Koulibaly and Fofana, who were recruited from Napoli and Leicester City respectively.

Jorginho came in to the midfield trio, along with Mateo Kovacic and Mason Mount, while former Brighton defender Marc Cucurella replaced Ben Chilwell at left-back.

Chelsea continued with the same front three, though – Raheem Sterling, Kai Havertz and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang up top, the latter making his home debut for the Blues.

The Blues lost 1-0 at Dinamo Zagreb in their Group E opener, which was Tuchel's 100th game in charge, and also his last.

Thomas Tuchel declared Chelsea must improve "as fast as possible" after claiming "it does not take a lot" to beat the Blues at present after their underwhelming Premier League start continued at  Southampton.

Chelsea took the lead through Raheem Sterling on Tuesday, but goals from Romeo Lavia and Adam Armstrong turned the contest on its head as Southampton secured a 2-1 success.

Having been thrashed 3-0 by Leeds United on their last road trip, Chelsea have now suffered back-to-back away league defeats for the first time since December 2020.

Tuchel, meanwhile, has suffered consecutive league losses on the road for the first time since he was coaching Paris Saint-Germain in August 2019.

After Southampton moved level with the disjointed Blues in the early-season Premier League table, Tuchel was at a loss to explain their troubles.

"I don't know if concerned is the word, I absolutely dislike to lose and it's the second time in the season, very early," he told BT Sport.

"I think it does not take a lot to beat us. This is what I don't like. We are humble enough to understand that we can lose matches and of course, away matches.

"We don't like it and we try to win every match but the way we do this is something we need to understand as fast as possible and to change.

"It's difficult, I don't know why, we start well in all the games almost, and obviously we struggle with our focus and consistency in matches.

"It's not enough to play 20 minutes good, we did the same in Leeds. Then one thing goes against us, and we struggle to find answers and fight our way back if things don't go in our direction."

Meanwhile, Sterling has now scored each of Chelsea's last three goals, and while Tuchel is concerned by his team-mates' attacking struggles, he emphasised the importance of rediscovering their defensive composure. 

"It is what it is and it's the reality. We played with four offensive players now many, many times," Tuchel said.

"I think in the first 20 minutes we created chances, half-chances but we struggled to score, which is also not brand new for us and does not necessarily need to have the consequence that you lose matches.

"You can also win 1-0 or 2-0 with a late goal, so no problem. But then you need to have a clean sheet, you need to be more focused. 

"The amount of individual errors, the lack of concentration is simply too high at the moment to win football matches consistently. We can win, of course, but it's not consistent enough." 

Chelsea were without Reece James due to illness and the injured N'Golo Kante on the south coast before sustaining another blow when Ruben Loftus-Cheek was withdrawn at half-time after suffering discomfort.

Tuchel was visibly frustrated with the injury woes that have hampered Chelsea as he added: "It's a hamstring injury, so the next midfielder is out and nobody is left.

"The recommendation for Mateo Kovacic was 20 minutes, we made 45 out of it. That's the situation.

"I also don't understand why we are in this situation regarding the injuries, and the injuries like all players in midfield. But that's the way it is, and we need to find solutions."

Southampton came from behind to stun Chelsea 2-1 as Adam Armstrong's goal dealt Thomas Tuchel's men their second defeat of the Premier League season.

Chelsea hit the front through Raheem Sterling after 23 minutes, but Romeo Lavia's powerful long-range strike dragged Southampton level five minutes later before Armstrong put the hosts ahead on the stroke of half-time.

With Reece James missing through illness, Chelsea struggled to create throughout a disjointed performance, and Kai Havertz squandered their best chance to level after the break.

The result saw Ralph Hasenhuttl's men draw level with Chelsea in the early Premier League table after a lively display, as the Blues' unconvincing start to the campaign continued.

Sterling produced a tame attempt when presented with Chelsea's first chance 13 minutes in, but he made amends to hand the Blues the lead, turning to poke home at the second attempt following good work from Mason Mount.

Chelsea's lead did not last long, however, with Lavia latching onto Havertz's clearance to open his Premier League account in spectacular fashion by drilling a vicious 18-yard strike past Edouard Mendy.

Southampton then hit the front through a well-worked goal as half-time approached, Armstrong controlling Romain Perraud's cross before composing himself and firing into Mendy's top-left corner.

Marc Cucurella kept Chelsea in the contest with an incredible goal-line block from Mohamed Elyounoussi's header after the break, before Havertz headed over from six yards when left unmarked as he met Cesar Azpilicueta's cross.

That represented Chelsea's clearest opportunity to find a leveller, with Thiago Silva forced to clear Mohammed Salisu's 73rd-minute header off the line as Saints went close to a third.

What does it mean? Away-day blues continue for Tuchel

Chelsea never looked entirely comfortable on the south coast despite taking an early lead, and the meek loss means they have lost consecutive Premier League away matches for the first time since December 2020 under Frank Lampard.

Tuchel, meanwhile, has been dealt his first back-to-back league losses on the road since he was coaching Paris Saint-Germain in August 2019, and his attentions will now turn to attracting much-required reinforcements before the transfer deadline.

Sterling shows his value

Having fired Chelsea to a hard-fought victory over Leicester City last time out, Sterling maintained his strong start at Stamford Bridge by opening the scoring.

Since Sterling made his Premier League debut for Liverpool in March 2012, he has 169 goal involvements in the competition, putting him level with Mohamed Salah with the joint-fourth highest tally in that time.

Armstrong ends drought

Armstrong had endured a long wait for a Premier League goal, with his composed strike marking his first time on the scoresheet in 18 games since he netted against Aston Villa last November.

The striker has only scored three times in 43 appearances in the competition overall, and Tuesday's strike is sure to be remembered as his most crucial to date.

What's next?

Chelsea welcome West Ham to Stamford Bridge for a London derby on Saturday, while Southampton go to Wolves on the same day.

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel hailed Raheem Sterling for his match-winning display against Leicester City that made sure the Blues bounced back after defeat to Leeds United last time out.

Tuchel, in the stands due to a touchline ban, saw his side endure a difficult first half at Stamford Bridge, in which Conor Gallagher was sent off after 27 minutes for two bookable offences.

But Chelsea responded following half-time, and Sterling's first goal for the club came shortly after the restart with the aid of a deflection off Daniel Amartey.

Sterling soon turned in Reece James' low cross for his second, and goal proved decisive as Tuchel's men clung on despite a Harvey Barnes riposte.

"It was necessary because we need him to score," Tuchel said after Chelsea's 2-1 win. "It's what he does, and he will score.

"I could feel he was not happy because he wants to score more and have more chances.

"We played today in a more aggressive shape, but then we were one man down, so we needed him to step up, which he did. The goals were crucial today because they gave us the belief."

Tuchel was critical of Gallagher, sent off in only his fourth Premier League outing for Chelsea, but pointed out others were also to blame for the challenge on Barnes that saw him dismissed.

"Today he is responsible for what he did, and he knows it was a huge mistake," Tuchel said. "We spoke briefly after the game, and things like this happen.

"It's not purely his fault alone because it was a set-piece for us and it's sloppy how we take set-pieces at the moment.

"We lack belief and precision, so it’s not good enough. We give chances away, we are sloppy in the coverage and bad in decision-making, so we have to stop and improve immediately.

"We are on it with the team, so I don't know why it happened again. It's a very bad decision for Conor, so of course he's upset, because it almost kills a whole football match."

Raheem Sterling has opened up on the disappointment he felt on how his career with Manchester City ended, having been left "raging" by his treatment.

The England international sealed a move to Chelsea ahead of the 2022-23 season, bringing an end to seven trophy-laden years at the Etihad Stadium.

Sterling's final year at City saw the former Liverpool man struggle to secure regular playing opportunities amid fierce competition in Pep Guardiola's squad, which left the forward frustrated.

The forward felt he sacrificed a lot during his career in City but has got his happiness back in his new surroundings in west London.

"Everyone wants to feel wanted, football is no different. When you play your heart out, sacrifice some of your kids' birthdays, and then get treated in a certain way, it's disappointing," he told Sky Sports.

"At the time I was fuming, raging, but it's gone, it's in the past and I can only focus on the present, which is now, here at Chelsea, and the opportunity I've got here to go out and showcase my talents once again.

"As a player you always want to do your best and help your team, but when you don't think things are going fairly, it's always a disappointment.

"If you are not happy playing your football you've got to look at other options to get that happiness back, and that's exactly what I have done.

"It was the right time for me to move on. I wouldn't stay part of something I knew I couldn't give my all in.

"It [City] is a fantastic club, it's a club that wins lots of trophies, it's a club that has helped my development massively in the past couple of years, but there comes a time when you've got to think about yourself, what's best for yourself, and what you want for the future.

"That's the sole reason why I am here [at Chelsea]."

A move to Chelsea saw Sterling arrive as the first marquee recruit of the Todd Boehly era at Stamford Bridge and he admitted it did not take much persuasion to agree to a move.

He added: "It was a possibility I wouldn't let pass - it's a blessing in disguise, another challenge and a challenge I'll look back on at the end of my career and know I stepped up to the plate and I can be happy with myself.

"The most part was just getting to play football week in, week out. It was the first time in my career experiencing that, it was kind of a shock, so I just wanted to get back playing and enjoying my football again. 

"It was as simple as that, and I knew that once I could do that, I could be happy and show that on the field."

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