Southampton vs Chelsea (3-0): Four talking points
Southampton hosted Chelsea in the ninth gameweek of the Barclays Premier League this season. Last season, Olivier Giroud scored a brace and led Chelsea’s comeback from a 2-0 to a 3-2 win. Unlike last season, the man in the dugout was Maurizio Sarri instead of Antonio Conte. The Italian has enjoyed an unbeaten start to the campaign as he has managed to quickly transform his side into a possession-oriented offensive team scoring goals for fun.
Southampton, on the other hand, have endured a miserable start to the season. Before the game, the Saints were loitering on 16th position with five points from seven games, registering only one win so far in the season. Mark Hughes would have been more than happy even with a point from this fixture as the fans were rather betting on how much goals that the Blues as the loss for Southampton looked like a near certainty.
In the starting eleven Chelsea fielded their usual starting eleven and the only exception was Ross Barkley in place of Mateo Kovacic as the Croatian was rested after playing midweek against Videoton. For Southampton, Danny Ings, Manolo Gabbiadini and Nathan Redmond spearheaded the Saints’ attack with Maya Yoshida, Wesley Hoedt and Bednarek forming the back three. Mario Lemina and Pierre-Emile Højbjerg formed the central midfield pair with Cedric Soares and ex- Chelsea defender Ryan Bertrand patrolling the flanks.
Chelsea started the game confidently with hosts surrendering all the possession as Jorginho and co. found plenty of joy in the middle of the pitch. Southampton’s moment in the game finally came after 20 minutes into the first half as they finally started the first asserting themselves in the game. During that spell, Saints’ best chance came when Danny Ings missed an absolute sitter from three yards out. Soon after, the first goal of the match came as Eden Hazard scored his seventh Premier League goal of the season at half an hour mark. It all started when Barkley dispossessed Wesley Hoedt in their opponent’s half and slipped in the Belgian one on one with the keeper as he made no mistake with a thunderous shot, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way. Soon after, it was all one-way traffic until the halftime whistle.
The second half started quite like the same as the first one with Chelsea having most of the possession with Eden Hazard and Willian keeping the Southampton defense on their toes. Ross Barkley was the man who helped Chelsea open their account in the first half with an assist and he opened his own for Chelsea with a goal in 57th minute after Olivier Giroud acrobatically squared a freekick and the Englishman was there to tap it in. Southampton soon after threatened with long-range shots from Nathan Redmond and Danny Ings which drew top-class saves from Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Willian was substituted in place of Pedro and Mateo Kovacic was brought on in place of Ross Barkley. Alvaro Morata, who replaced Giroud finally got his second premier league goal of the season and of the week as he scored in the 93rd minute with Eden Hazard setting him up in a quick passing move. As the final whistle went off, Chelsea piled on the misery on the Saints as they completed an impressive 3-0 win.
Four talking points ahead: