Match Review: Chelsea @ Southampton
Southampton F.C. 0-2 Chelsea F.C.
St. Mary’s Stadium | October 30th, 201
Chelsea travelled to St. Mary’s Stadium on the back of an amazing run of games: three wins in three games and three clean sheets against Hull City, current title holders Leicester City, and title contenders Manchester United. The Blues looked to continue this impressive new 3-4-3 look against Southampton. It was always going to be a testing fixture, but Hazard’s early goal was the start we needed.
There were only 5 minutes gone when Hazard picked up the ball in Southampton’s half and spread it wide to Moses who returned the favour and played Hazard in one-on-one with Davis. Well, with Hazard was one-on-one with Davis the ball was in the net a moment later through the legs of Fraser Forster.
Southampton’s reply was immediate as they stepped up their pressure, constantly closing down Chelsea and largely containing the Blues to their own half. At this point, possession favoured the Saints’ 73% to the Blues’ 27%. Chelsea’s few notable efforts only came from Conte whose was yelling his lungs out, Hazard who was ignoring him, and some sustained possession around the 19th minute. However, Southampton continued to probe and finally tested Thibaut with a fine effort from a Tadić free kick thanks to an Alonso foul. The pressure was relentless at this point although Chelsea’s defensive shape dealt with it as Southampton created no real chances. Pedro did what Pedro does and dribbled the ball towards the Chelsea goal, but fortunately this time it led to nothing.
Chelsea grew back into the game as the half wore on and nearly doubled their lead in the 40th minute following brilliant work by Matić to recover the ball in Southampton’s half. He presented the chance to Costa who should have buried it, but instead saw his efforts saved by Fraser Forster. And so it stood 1-0 at the break.
Whatever Claude Puel told his players during the break did not go according to plan as Chelsea doubled their lead through Diego after the restart in the 52nd minute. Although Hazard will get the assist, the goal came from nothing but Diego’s endeavour. The Spanish international opened up and curved one into Forster’s goal from outside the box. Costa should have had a hat trick in this match, but his finishing let him down as he somehow managed to put the ball over the crossbar from a couple of yards out following Hazard’s cross.
Yet again Diego managed not to score, this time Hazard and Pedro joined him. Moses’ shot spilled out of Forster’s hands and looked destined to be turned in by one of the three, but the opportunity was spurned and moments later Chelsea almost rued their wastefulness. Austin’s header came close in the 68th minute, but it was Davis’ deflected looping header that came closest coming off the crossbar for a corner kick. Both sides made changes in the 77th minute as Willian replaced Pedro for Chelsea and McQueen and Højbjerg replaced Bertrand and Tadić respectively for Southampton in an attacking move by Puel. It was Chelsea who came close to scoring shortly after as Forster pulled out yet another save to stop another stinging shot from Victor Moses who was having another fine night. In the following possession, McQueen found Austin who thought he had pulled one back only to be judged a fraction offside by the assistant referee after putting the ball behind the net. Thibaut’s clean sheet run continues.
Chelsea saw out the match without any fuss after that and even nearly added another goal after a sweet move from Hazard and Matić to set up Willian who’s left footed shot went wide of Fraser Foster’s post. Ivanović returned to the side and auditioned for wingback (his new bearded look will definitely do his chances no harm) as he replaced Moses who left the field to a well-deserved ovation.
If anything of note happened within the first five minutes of the second half I missed it because unlucky ol’ me locked himself out of his dorm. At the time I thought this was surely an omen that Southampton were going to comeback to win, but it turns out my carelessness has nothing to do with Chelsea as they extend their winning run in the league to four matches.
The top 4 teams remain unchanged as all 4 teams won their matches this weekend; they remain as close as ever with only 1 point and 4 goals separating 1st to 4th. Diego and Hazard both continue their amazing goal scoring form with the latter leading the league with 8 goals. Next week we face Everton who themselves are hoping to sustain winning ways after defeating West Ham this weekend. Will Lukaku come back to haunt his former club? Until next weekend, I wish you a cold beer and a tolerable Monday.
About the Author
Barnabas Gwaza, @BarnabasTGS
Barnabas displays brave commitment to the Blue side by fighting rival fans valiantly on Facebook. He is most known for winning the London Is Blue Jersey give away and by those standards he has achieved success in life. He now enjoys retirement creating content for his favourite Podcast while in school.