Saints overpowered by Chelsea

By SFC Media time Sun 07 Oct Saints v Chelsea
Photo by James Bridle | Danny Ings
Sun 07 Oct 2.15PM
Premier League
Southampton
0
Chelsea
3
goal
Hazard [30'] Barkley [57'] Morata [90+3']
Bertrand (45+2') Lemina (54') Soares (59') Romeu (61') Højbjerg (66') Ings (90')
yellow card
Referee: Craig Pawson | Venue: St Mary's Stadium | Attendance: 27,077

Saints were unable to build on Tuesday’s Carabao Cup success over Everton on Sunday afternoon, succumbing to a 3-0 defeat to a dominant Chelsea at St Mary’s.

Goals from Eden Hazard, Ross Barkley and Álvaro Morata were the difference on the day where Saints were left rueing their inability to capitalise on two periods of pressure on the Chelsea goal, either side of half-time, which saw volleyed chances spurned by Danny Ings and Ryan Bertrand.

They were punished quickly after both as the unbeaten Blues went top of the Premier League table ahead of Manchester City’s meeting with Liverpool at Anfield.

Mark Hughes opted to make just two changes to the side that successfully edged through in the cup at Goodison Park five days previous with captain Bertrand and left-sided colleague Wesley Hoedt replacing Matt Targett and Jack Stephens in defence.

Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea knew that with Liverpool and Manchester City facing off later in the day, this meeting represented a fine opportunity to steal a march on their rivals in the early title race.

With that in mind, the visitors began the stronger at a sold-out St Mary’s; a Jan Bednarek sliding challenge – the Pole retaining his place after a solid showing in Liverpool - to deny Hazard showed Chelsea’s early intentions before Willian’s deflected shot looped over Alex McCarthy and onto the crossbar.

Barkley curled over the top when well-placed from N’Golo Kanté’s lay-off on 15 minutes but with midfield pair Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Mario Lemina effectively screening a back three of Bednarek, Hoedt and Maya Yoshida, clear-cut chances remained at a premium at both ends until the back end of the first period.

Saints were made to wait for their first foray into the Chelsea half and threatened when the opening arrived; Yoshida’s raking cross-field pass set up Nathan Redmond to take on Cesar Azpilicueta, the winger’s cross almost finding Lemina in the centre via a helping hand from Danny Ings.

Manolo Gabbiadini curled into the arms of Kepa Arrizabalaga in quick succession as the home crowd responded to their team’s tenacious defending and increasing ambition.

They were rewarded with one of the first half’s best scoring chance moments later; Redmond fed the overlapping Bertrand into space down the left, the captain’s superb cross taking goalkeeper and defenders out of the game for Ings to side-foot over the bar with the goal at his mercy.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 07: Danny Ings near miss for Southampton FC  (middle) during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Chelsea FC at St Mary's Stadium on October 7, 2018 in Southampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by James Bridle - Southampton FC/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Danny Ings sidefoots over the bar midway through the first half.

It was a spell in which the home side needed to make their positivity count but within minutes found themselves a goal down.

With Saints seemingly getting a handle on proceedings as the half-hour approached, the visitors turned over possession 25 yards from goal, Barkley fed Hazard in the box and the Belgian took a touch before slotting confidently past McCarthy.

Yoshida blocked Kanté’s fiercely-struck effort as Chelsea pressed for a quickfire second but the one-goal deficit remained as the teams headed in for the interval with the encounter still firmly in the balance despite the Blues’ territorial dominance.

The score line prompted a change from Hughes, introducing Oriol Romeu in place of Bednarek to bolster Saints’ presence in midfield at the expensive of a body in defence.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 07: Ryan Bertrand (left) of Southampton FC up against Cesar Azpilicueta (right) of Chelsea FC during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Chelsea FC at St Mary's Stadium on October 7, 2018 in Southampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by James Bridle - Southampton FC/Southampton FC via Getty Images)

The switch yielded an immediate response and ought to have earned an equaliser; Bertrand, arriving late from the left touchline, volleyed off target from Højbjerg’s delicately flighted cross to the back post before Ings struck into the arms of Arrizabalaga when found in space in the middle of the penalty area.

Instead, Saints conceded a second at a time when they looked their most promising going forwards courtesy of a slickly-executed set-piece and a lapse in concentration across the backline.

After Ings had fouled Hazard, Olivier Giroud peeled off his marker down the right edge of the box to meet Willian’s clipped free-kick, the Frenchman’s scissor kick finding Barkley through the bodies to tap home from a matter of yards.

It could have been a terminal blow for Saints who continued nonetheless to try and force a way back into the game with both goalkeepers in inspired form in the closing stages.

First, Redmond's dipping drive was clawed acrobatically onto the bar by Arrizabalaga before McCarthy saved superbly from substitute Morata from the resulting counter-attack.

His opposite number went one better inside the final 10 minutes, the Spaniard flying to his left to deny Ings's curling goal-bound shot from distance. Chelsea were the better side but had their goalkeeper to thank for keeping their clean sheet in tact.

Morata dinked over McCarthy after more excellent work from Hazard in stoppage time to make the points secure. A trip to Bournemouth awaits after the international break.

Southampton

Head to Head Stats

Chelsea
  • Possession (%)
    35
    comparison angle
    65
  • Shots
    15
    comparison angle
    21
  • Shots on target
    6
    comparison angle
    6
  • Corners
    4
    comparison angle
    12
  • Passes Complete
    273
    comparison angle
    575

Southampton

1
Alex McCarthy (GK)
35
Jan Bednarek
replace Oriol Romeu (45′) yellow card
6
Wesley Hoedt
3
Maya Yoshida
2
Cédric Soares yellow card
23
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg yellow card
18
Mario Lemina yellow card
21
Ryan Bertrand (C) yellow card
9
Danny Ings yellow card
20
Manolo Gabbiadini
replace Shane Long (78′)
22
Nathan Redmond
14
Oriol Romeu
8
Steven Davis
7
Shane Long
10
Charlie Austin
4
Jannik Vestergaard
28
Angus Gunn
33
Matt Targett

Chelsea

1
Kepa Arrizabalaga (GK)
2
Antonio Rüdiger
3
Marcos Alonso
28
César Azpilicueta (C)
30
David Luiz
8
Ross Barkley goal
replace Mateo Kovacic (81′)
5
Jorginho
7
N'Golo Kanté
18
Olivier Giroud
replace Álvaro Morata (68′) goal
22
Willian
replace Pedro (75′)
10
Eden Hazard goal
13
Willy Caballero
17
Mateo Kovacic
4
Cesc Fàbregas
11
Pedro
29
Álvaro Morata
21
Davide Zappacosta
24
Gary Cahill
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