Chelsea 4-2 Southampton: SEVEN points clear and a giant step towards the title!

It was a more recognisable lineup today than Saturday, with  Hazard  and  Costa  coming back into the starting eleven.  Pedro  dropped ...

It was a more recognisable lineup today than Saturday, with Hazard and Costa coming back into the starting eleven. Pedro dropped to the bench in favour of Fabregas who pretty much dragged us over the line after his introduction at Wembley. Captain Cahill returned to the side after illness. This was not going to be a walkover, Southampton are an able side with some great players, and praise baby Jesus, and Mary, and Joseph, and even the f*cking donkey, they are a side that will actually want to play football instead of time-wasting the living crap out of a ninety minute slugfest like Stoke. Nevertheless I was determined to be less of a pessimistic nappy sh*tter than before kick off on Saturday. A win to send us seven points clear again, please, for we all know how Sp*rs like to fold like a house of cards made out of wet toilet paper at the first sign of pressure.

It was a bright, determined start from our FA Cup finalists (who beat Sp*rs, just to say it again) and we could have broken through in the first two minutes. As it was, it only took Eden five to fire us ahead. Costa laid the ball off to him in the box and he made slotting the ball in right at the far corner look stupidly easy. After that we went a bit wayward, resulting in nobody marking Southampton’s striker properly in the box. He brought the ball down and played it to a melee of legs. It was luck more than anything that saw the ball rebound off Romeu’s legs rather than the opposite way off a defender, but still, rage. We sort of attacked, but not really, and in the meantime, as our tempo died off, Southampton felt their way into the game and ended up dominating it. Their passing was quick, fluid, and very precise, whereas ours lacked on all three points. We despaired. But then trust Dave to kick everyone up the a*se with a mammoth run at the most distant of chances to set the example. From our perspective the game was sparked back into life. Some outstanding play by Kante that saw him weaving past half the Southampton team was worth a goal, a furious penalty shout by my Shed Upper brethren came to nothing. After a full minute more of madness, finally Matic got a shot off but it was sadly not quite as spectacular as his effort on Saturday. Hazard could have had another, but he passed when he could have shot and the attack fell apart. Finally, after the world’s worst bicycle kick, Alonso atoned by putting the ball into the box properly second time round. Cahill was that determined to get on the end of that ball that he would have headed it whether he was decapitated in the process. He even wiped Costa out on the way to it. Leave it to the Captain to grab us the lead right on the stroke of half time. Don’t watch his celebration though, watch Luiz swinging off the crossbar a la Munich. Priceless.

At some point during the break somebody clearly connected up the dots and realised that every time we maintained pressure on Southampton and kept the pace of the game high, we scored, because we came out with real intent in the second half. Having set up our first, and been bulldozed out of the way by a giant, rampant Yorkshireman for the second, Diego stood his ground against Bertrand to head the ball to the side of Forster. He scored. Yes, he scored. Afterwards, as Southampton continued to look for a way back into the game, they left themselves open at the back. Alonso struck straight into Forster’s arms, Diego was blocked off in the box but I don’t think even he was convinced that he was actually going to get a penalty. I just wanted another one before the inevitable happened - that is Shane Long coming on and the little sh*t inevitably swanning into our box to score against us. Costa had a great chance to make the result certain but outfoxed himself with fifteen extra touches. Finally, a minute from time he made an absolute mockery of the Saints’ defence and danced into the box like a very scary looking prima ballerina to thump it home. That's what I'm f*cking talking about. Just as even my patience with him was running out, after he seemed to be a yard off giving a sh*t for most of the first half, he’s back. For a few more weeks at least until he moves to China. We were in such a good mood by injury time that even a Bertrand consolation goal couldn’t dampen our spirits. We even sang for him. Fair play to Southampton, they never gave up and they contributed to an entertaining game, but their quality off the ball nowhere near matches when they are on it.

RefwatchLee Mason. There were times I wanted to fling my complimentary programme at his big bald dome-head, but ultimately he was pretty anonymous, which we all know by now in my world equals a decent performance by an official. I shouldn't even notice you're there. I can't argue with the cards he gave our players, they deserved them, and he wasn't faffy and didn't interrupt the flow of play too much. My main criticism? His limp wristed hand action with his special spray. 

Things I learned tonight:
  • Despite the hairy last couple of weeks we have not gone "Sp*rsy"
  • Celery is actually edible
  • The East Middle is full of rather spiffing Chelsea fans who know their stuff and get fed cake at games. This has produced much envy on my part.
  • Conte shouts really, really loud and in a confined space like a dressing room I would take refuge in my locker.
  • At each game Chelsea produce this nifty little booklet called a "programme" with pertinent information and the opposition players listed on the back so you can better direct abuse at them. It costs the same as a gin though so it isn't likely to catch on as far as I am concerned. 
  • Diego Costa has not, in fact, been abducted by aliens to front a mercenary army of little green psychopaths in a galaxy far far away, and been replaced by a sh*t robot clone. 
  • Our last few weeks of JT are going to be ridiculously emotional

Don't forget you can follow the blog @CFCgwlb

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