Southampton 0-2 Chelsea: Chelsea beat Southampton to extend their impressive run.
Chelsea beat Southampton at St Mary’s Stadium with goals from Eden Hazard and Diego Costa to ta...
Chelsea beat Southampton at St Mary’s Stadium with goals from Eden Hazard and Diego Costa to take Chelsea up to fourth and within a point of the Premier League leaders.
Antonio Conte decided to revert back to the team that had started and beaten Manchester United to take on Southampton as he looked to build on three good performances. A back three of Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz and Gary Cahill, protected by N’Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic in the middle of midfield, Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses providing width with Eden Hazard and Pedro playing in behind our lone striker Diego Costa.
Chelsea started much the brighter of the two sides and took full advantage as Eden Hazard was played into the box down the right hand side by Victor Moses, at the byline, Hazard cut the ball back inside and away from Steven Davis and fired a hard left foot shot low and through the legs of Forster in goal to make it 1-0 Chelsea after seven minutes. Southampton struggled to cope with our quick passing and movement off the ball and in between the lines with Eden Hazard causing havoc in particular.
To their credit, Southampton then took control of the game and dominated possession of the ball but despite at one point the figure being quoted as 74% in their favour, Thibaut Courtois never looked like conceding.
Chelsea was happy to sit deep and allow our hosts to have the ball in front of them. Chelsea dropped into their defensive shape and Southampton struggled to break them down. Once Chelsea gained possession of the ball, we looked to hit them on the counter attack and Diego Costa should have made it two on before half time.
The impressive Nemanja Matic closed the ball down and pressed high winning the ball on the halfway line and Chelsea were on the attack. Matic plays the ball into the path of Diego Costa 30 yards from goal, just right of centre and the Spanish strikers shot is blocked by Forster and cleared away from danger.
The second half started as the first half finished with Southampton looking to play on the front foot with Chelsea dropping deep into their defensive shape. Time and time again a Southampton attack was broken down or comes to nothing as the Blues stand firm.
Up the other end, Chelsea always look dangerous with Pedro and Eden Hazard looking to break forward and impose themselves on their defence. Many times in the second half Chelsea get themselves into really good positions but to no avail either through a wasted pass or opportunity to play someone else through when the opportunity arose.
Chelsea took a further foothold in the game with an eighth goal of the season from Diego Costa. Having picked up the ball 25 yards from goal, left of centre, Costa takes a touch inside and curls a shot that gave Forster in goal no chance as the ball found it’s way into the far corner having started it’s journey from outside the post. It was a fantastic finish from a man in-form and enjoying his football once again.
At this point, the game is won unless Southampton can produce something drastically different to turn things around. Time and time again Chelsea give them the opportunity by giving away silly free kicks giving them a chance to swing the ball into the box but they cannot make them count as Chelsea deal with everything being thrown at them.
Charlie Austin had their best opportunity to score in the second half but headed over the bar from close range. That was as good as it got for the home side as the game finishes 2-0 to Chelsea.
It was another excellent performance from the team as a whole. We defended well, we worked hard and won the ball in important areas and when we had possession of the ball, created Southampton allsorts of problems going forward.
That’s four wins from four, twelve points, four clean sheets and now eleven goals, which is an excellent response in the last month. These players have bought into Antonio Conte’s tactical ideas and it’s shows on the pitch. We look well balanced, defensively drilled and all working for each other and long may it continue.
Southampton away is no easy game for anyone but Antonio Conte’s side gave an almost perfect away performance to win this one. After important away wins for Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool, Chelsea delivered a great performance and now sits just a point behind the leaders with Everton up next at Stamford Bridge.
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