Southampton suffered their heaviest defeat of the season, as they were beaten 6-0 by a rampant Chelsea at St Mary’s.
Goals from Marcos Alonso, Mason Mount, Timo Werner and Kai Havertz saw the visitors race into a huge first-half lead – which in truth could have been even greater than it was – and they added further to their tally after the break thanks to Werner and Mount again.
Ralph Hasenhüttl had made two changes for the game from the side that drew 1-1 at Leeds last time out, as Stuart Armstrong and Adam Armstrong both came into the line-up, with Ibrahima Diallo dropping to the bench and Armando Broja ineligible against his parent club.
Saints were up against a Chelsea team that arrived at St Mary’s having suffered chastening back-to-back home defeats against Brentford and Real Madrid in the previous week. But, if Thomas Tuchel’s side had been struggling prior to their arrival on the south coast, there was certainly no sign here of that form continuing.
By the midway point of the first half, the Blues were already 3-0 ahead, having also hit the woodwork twice.
They went close to scoring in only the third minute, when Werner hit the base of the post with a low strike across goal from 18 yards, and the Chelsea forward then put a header against the bar from close range soon after.
Saints’ good fortune did not last any longer, though.
The breakthrough came on eight minutes, as a Ruben Loftus-Cheek cross found Mount in the area, and he was able to control the ball before flicking it towards the back post, where an unmarked Alonso slammed home a low, left-footed strike.
Mount then went from provider to scorer in the 16th minute, as he controlled a loose ball 25 yards out and arrowed a crisp strike into the bottom corner to double the lead.
Werner could have made it three on 18 minutes, but continued his personal frustration in front of goal, as Fraser Forster made a brilliant save to deny him at close-range, after Alonso had got in behind and picked him out with a cutback.
But he didn’t have to wait much longer, as a loose header back towards defence from James Ward-Prowse went over the head of Jan Bednarek, allowing the German forward to race in behind, round Forster and slide home a third in the 21st minute.
Three became four just after the half-hour mark, as Mohammed Salisu lost the ball outside the corner of the area under pressure from Havertz and Werner, with the latter then dancing past a couple of defenders in the area and striking the post, only for the rebound to fall straight to Havertz, who side-footed into the open goal.
Hasenhüttl made a change on 36 minutes, taking off Oriol Romeu and replacing him with Yan Valery, as Saints switched to three at the back.
The hosts did avoid any further damage before half-time, although Forster was required to make three more good stops, to deny Havertz, Mount and Loftus-Cheek.
Both teams made substitutions at the break, as Saints sent Diallo on for Adam Armstrong, while Christian Pulisic was introduced for Havertz.
There was no change in the flow of the game, though, and it took only four minutes after the restart for Chelsea to score their fifth. N’Golo Kanté was picked out running through the middle and although Forster saved his attempted chip from the edge of the area, the rebound fell straight to Werner to convert.
Ché Adams could and should have grabbed a consolation for Saints moments after, but shot straight at Edouard Mendy from close range after Kyle Walker-Peters had picked him out, and Chelsea then went straight back up the other end to score another.
It came from a low Alonso cross, with Forster initially making two fine saves, first from Pulisic and then Werner, only for the rebound to again fall to a Chelsea player, as Mount tapped home number six.
On 73 minutes, Hasenhüttl made his third change, as Will Smallbone was introduced for Tino Livramento, and Saints were able to see out the closing stages at least without conceding any further goals.