Saints beaten at the Bridge

By SFC Media Tue 25 Apr Chelsea vs Saints
Photo by Matt Watson
Tue 25 Apr 7.45PM
Premier League
Chelsea
4
Southampton
2
Hazard [5'] Cahill [45+1'] Costa [53' 89']
Romeu [24'] Bertrand [90+4']
Kanté (40') Fàbregas (49')
Romeu (60') Tadic (73')
Referee: Lee Mason | Venue: Stamford Bridge | Attendance: 41,168

Southampton’s bid to make it four away wins out of five in the Premier League fell short, as they were beaten 4-2 at leaders Chelsea.

Despite causing their opponents plenty of problems, and controlling some decent portions of the game, Claude Puel’s side could not prevent defeat against Antonio Conte’s men, who took another big step towards winning the title.

Puel said ahead of the game that he was looking for a response following a disappointing display against Manchester City last time out, and the Saints boss made two changes from that 3-0 home defeat for the trip to Stamford Bridge.

Oriol Romeu came back in from suspension for Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, while Sofiane Boufal was restored to the starting line-up for the first time since early February, taking the place of Nathan Redmond, who dropped to the bench.

Despite starting well in the first few minutes, Saints fell behind to Chelsea’s first attack of the game, as Diego Costa was sent away down the inside right, before checking back in the box and cutting the ball back to Eden Hazard to sweep a superb, low shot into the far corner.

Anyone who thought that goal would signal a Blues onslaught was swiftly proved wrong, though, as it was actually the visitors who then took control.

Deservedly, Saints levelled after 24 minutes, as a James Ward-Prowse corner flicked off the head of César Azpilicueta, before falling to Manolo Gabbiadini at the back post.

Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois got a piece of the striker’s shot from a tight angle, but the ball deflected perfectly into the path of Romeu, who slotted in from six yards.

Oriol Romeu celebrates after equalising

Saints continued to look dangerous after the equaliser, and nearly gained the advantage when another corner caused problems for Chelsea, with Maya Yoshida just unable to stretch far enough to head in from close range as the ball spun across the face, before the lively Boufal lashed into the side netting from an extremely tight angle.

It looked as though Puel’s side would at least head into the break with the scores level, but that wasn’t to be the case, as Chelsea edged in front again with the last action of the half.

N’Golo Kanté’s deep cross to the back post was headed back across goal by Marcos Alonso, and Gary Cahill steamed in to power a header into the bottom corner.

Diego Costa heads in Chelsea's third goal

Unfortunately for Saints, it got worse nine minutes into the second half. Eden Hazard and Cesc Fàbregas worked a short corner, with the latter sending in a cross from which Diego Costa held off the attentions of Ryan Bertrand to head past Fraser Forster and make it 3-1.

Saints did mount a good response, as Dušan Tadić drew an excellent save from Courtois shortly afterwards with a low shot towards the far corner from 20 yards.

After Boufal was withdrawn for Nathan Redmond – who was making his 100th Premier League appearance – Gabbiadini fired into the side netting from what was an almost impossible angle in the 69th minute, after controlling another dangerous Ward-Prowse corner at the back post.

Steven Davis was then unfortunate to see a sweetly-struck shot brilliantly blocked with ten minutes left, before Fraser Forster had to make a good one-on-one save from Kanté, as he was slipped in on the angle by Hazard, as Chelsea broke quickly on Saints.

Puel immediately sent on Shane Long for Ward-Prowse, before adding Jay Rodriguez – also making his 100th Premier League appearance – to the fray shortly after, in place of Gabbiadini.

However, it was Chelsea who got the next goal, as Costa wrapped things up with two minutes remaining, finishing low past Forster to make it 4-1.

There was still time for Bertrand to score with a superb flicked header deep into added time, but it was nothing more than a late consolation for Saints.

Chelsea

Head to Head Stats

Southampton
  • Possession (%)
    48
    52
  • Shots
    17
    12
  • Shots on target
    7
    4
  • Corners
    6
    7
  • Passes Complete
    388
    427

Chelsea

13
Thibaut Courtois (GK)
30
David Luiz
28
César Azpilicueta
24
Gary Cahill (C)
15
Victor Moses
John Terry (86′)
21
Nemanja Matic
3
Marcos Alonso
7
N'Golo Kanté
10
Eden Hazard
Willian (90′)
4
Cesc Fàbregas
Pedro (77′)
19
Diego Costa
22
Willian
11
Pedro
29
Nathaniel Chalobah
23
Michy Batshuayi
26
John Terry
6
Nathan Aké
1
Asmir Begovic

Southampton

1
Fraser Forster (GK)
2
Cédric Soares
3
Maya Yoshida
24
Jack Stephens
21
Ryan Bertrand
11
Dusan Tadic
14
Oriol Romeu
16
James Ward-Prowse
Shane Long (82′)
8
Steven Davis (C)
19
Sofiane Boufal
Nathan Redmond (68′)
20
Manolo Gabbiadini
Jay Rodriguez (86′)
22
Nathan Redmond
4
Jordy Clasie
40
Mouez Hassen
7
Shane Long
23
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg
12
Martín Cáceres
9
Jay Rodriguez
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