EPL round up: Chelsea beat Southampton, Leicester back to winning ways
Ivanovic powered home a late winner to lift Chelsea to the top half of the table
It was the late show for Chelsea as they earned a hard-fought victory against Southampton after a comeback win at St. Mary’s. The Blues extended their unbeaten run in the League after goals from Fabregas and Ivanovic earned them all three points.
It was a battle of the in-form teams at St. Mary’s as Chelsea who were currently on the longest unbeaten run faced a Southampton side that had not conceded in six games. There were two ex-blues in the home side with Ryan Bertrand and Oriol Romeu in the starting XI for the Saints.
Chelsea named an unchanged side as Hiddink went with the same team that thrashed Manchester City in the FA Cup last weekend. The game started off on a sad note for the away side with Pedro going off after pulling up his hamstring.
Oscar came on in his place which turned out to be the earliest substitution (63’ minute) in the Premier League by any team. The game started brightly with both teams having good chances. Long got the best one in the opening stages with a header after a dink cross from Van Dijk.
From then on Chelsea dominated possession with Southampton sitting back and waiting for the chance to counter. The Blues failed to create too many clear-cut chances as Saints held a tight defensive shape and were well organized as they have been in the last few games.
Oscar was the only player to have a shot on target in the first half as Forster was largely untroubled. Just as it looked like the half would end goalless Baba Rahman mis-controlled a ball in his own half. Shane Long quickly pounced on the loose ball sprinted away from the Chelsea defence and then chipped it wonderfully over the Courtois to take the lead.
Chelsea’s unbeaten run was under threat after they ended the half a goal down. In the second half Chelsea once again dominated possession in search of the equalizer. But the saints held firm frustrating the defending champions.
Chelsea kept plugging away but were mostly restricted to shots from outside the box most of which were high and wide. It was going take a piece of brilliance or a horrible mistake for Chelsea to score today and it turned out be Frazer Forster with the helping hand
Fabregas floated a dangerous low ball into the box that was curling towards the goal. Forster expected a Chelsea player to get a head to it, but to his horror saw the ball creep into the far corner of the net to level the scores.
From then on the Blues piled on the pressure. And in the 88th minute of the game, their pressure finally paid off. Willian whipped a ball in from the corner and Ivanovic rose highest to win it. Forster got a hand to it but was unable to keep it out and the away side saw the game out to take them into the top half of the table for the first time since August!
Leicester City bounce back against Norwich
Leicester shrugged off any signs of dropping off after their dramatic loss against Arsenal with their own late show.
Last week's loss was only their second all season and many expected them to fall away but the Foxes were out to prove their doubters wrong. Norwich on the other hand, were battling for survival after dropping points against West Ham last time out.
Leicester surprisingly dominated possession in the game against Norwich but found the visitors hard to break down. Norwich had the better of the chances in the first half with both Redmond and Jerome going close.
The second half saw a similar story with Leicester in danger of losing top spot if Arsenal were to win their game on Sunday. But in the 89th minute of the game Leonard Ulloa converted from close range from Jamie Vardy’s all to take home all the three points. That means Leicester will remain top of the league this week with only 11 games left top play in the season
Here are the other results from today:
West Ham 1-0 Sunderland
Stoke City 2-1 Aston Villa
Watford 0-0 AFC Bournemouth
West Brom 3-2 Crystal Palace