3 reasons for Chelsea's 3-0 win against Southampton
Goals from Eden Hazard, Ross Barkley and the under-fire Alvaro Morata ensured that Chelsea cruised to a 3-0 win over Southampton at St Mary's Stadium. The Blues, who are level on points with title favourites Liverpool and Manchester City, head into the international break in second place.
However, with Tottenham and the rejuvenated Arsenal snapping at their heels, the West London outfit could fall outside the top four if they slip up against Jose Mourinho's Manchester United. With that being said, here are 3 reasons for Chelsea's victory against Southampton.
#1 Eden Hazard's magical run continues
The talismanic Belgium international is in the form of his life, and never was that more evident than when he slipped in Morata to cap off a 31-pass move in the ninety-third minute. Sarri later described it as Chelsea's best goal since his appointment in the summer.
But that wasn't Hazard's only involvement in the game. The 27-year-old dropped into midfield and progressed the ball at will, often drawing double teams and opening up space for his teammates across the pitch. He also latched onto a Ross Barkley through ball and calmly slotted past Alex McCarthy to open the scoring for the Blues.
It is far too soon to crown a player of the season, but with seven goals and three assists in eight appearances, Hazard is emerging as an early front-runner for the award.
#2 Chelsea's high press strangles Southampton
With Jorginho dictating play from midfield, Chelsea have averaged almost 63% possession in the Premier League. However, in several of their games, the Blues lacked a clear plan to win the ball back, and it was evident that they would need time to successfully adapt to Sarri's signature press.
Against Southampton, the Blues showed clear signs of progress and managed to smother the home team's backline, forcing the Saints' 3-4-3 system to morph into a 5-4-1.
#3 Another impotent performance by Southampton
Even though they were a far cry from the teams managed by Mauricio Pochettino and Ronald Koeman, the underlying numbers suggested that Southampton were a slightly below-average Premier League outfit under Mauricio Pellegrino.
However, since the arrival of Mark Hughes, things have only gotten worse, with the Saints having won only one of their last twelve Premier League games. They currently find themselves in sixteenth place and only two points above the relegation zone.
Should they continue to put in meek performances such as the one against Chelsea, Southampton will be playing in the Championship next season.