Chelsea moved a step closer to finishing in the top half of the Premier League table and possibly finish in European places after they came from a goal down to beat Southampton 2-1 at St. Mary’s on Saturday evening.
The game started with very few incidents in-between, as both sides tried to gain control of the game but Chelsea were forced to make a change following a hamstring injury to Pedro after only eight minutes, as he was replaced by Oscar.
Southampton then got a chance down the left as a Matt Targett cross looked to be heading into the net, only to be cleared by Diego Costa for a corner-kick. The Saints almost scored for the resulting kick, as a loose ball found Virgil Van Dyke inside the area and his cross found Shane Long, only for the striker to head over the bar from close range.
Chelsea however began enjoying possession as they continued to pass the ball around, but never really created any problems for the Saints’ defence.
Southampton, meanwhile, were trying to hit the Blues on the break and it almost paid off as a searching ball from Van Dyke found Targett, whose cross nearly found Charley Austin, only for Branislav Ivanovic to clear to safety.
Chelsea would break loose as Cesc Fabregas set to start a fast break after receiving a pass from Gary Cahill, but was pulled down by Steven Davis, who would earn the first booking of the match.
The resulting free-kick saw Chelsea on the attack as Oscar and Costa combined well and a cross into the Southampton area was almost converted for an own goal by Cedric, by his header narrowly missed finding the back of his own net.
Both teams would attack in spurts as they sought to break the deadlock and Chelsea almsot went ahead again when Oscar was released by Fabregas, but his shot was easily saved by Frasier Forster in goal for Southampton.
Cesc Fabregas would almost turn the villain minutes later as he dispossessed just outside the box as Southampton pressed higher up the pitch and Jordi Classie’s pass found Long, whose cut-back was connected by Austin, but his shot was whiskers away.
And after the 34th minute, Forster was applauded by the Southampton fans after he broke a club record of 647 minutes of football without conceding a Premier League goal. Ironically, the last goal he conceded in the Premier League was against Chelsea.
The Blues continued to put the passes together as they dominated, William at the helm of it and a good interchange of passers between the Brazilian but Hazard’s shot was miles off target.
Against the run of play, Southampton launched a long one which should have been an easy clearance but Baba Rahman’s header found Long, which out him through on goal and with Thibaut Courtois hesitant in coming off his line, the Irishman poked the ball in the back of the net with a cool finish to give them the lead shortly before half time.
Chelsea’s push for an equalizer before the half time break would however come to nought as the Saints held on for referee Martin Atkinson’s whistle for the half time break.
The second half began with Chelsea making a change as thought to change the tide. Kennedy replacing Baba following the Ghanaian’s error which led to Chelsea conceding in the first half.
But it was Southampton who made the first real attacking move of the half as Classie’s searching pass was almost finding Long, but new entrant Kennedy was on hand to clear the danger.
Chelsea ontinued to try to level the score as Mikel nicely intercepted a Southampton attack as he found Willian, whose searching cross was well connected by Hazard but his finish left a lot more to be desired.
Chelsea’s pressure almost paid off as a corner-kick found Ivanovic, whose lofted ball found Mikel, only for his header to go wide. It would have been only his second Premier League goal had he scored that one.
Diego was guilty of missing what was probably Chelsea’s best chance of the game as his on-rushing connection to a Hazard cross was poor despite having a clear sight at goal. That should have been the equalizer.
1-1. A beautiful work from Hazard as he found Costa, who held up strong against Van Dyke and go’s cut-back was good enough for Fabregas to curve the ball past Forster for Chelsea’s equalizer.
The goal seemed to have spurred Chelsea to live as they continued to press and press they did until it paid off with Branislav Ivanovic heading a corner-kick to give the Blues the lead, with only few minutes left of normal time.
And what a goal it turned out to be as Chelsea won their first game after going behind this season, as well as ruining Forster’s run of six games without conceding a goal.