Southampton v Chelsea
St.Mary’s - Sunday, 30th October 2016
> The first goal was a silly lack of concentration
> The second was a stunning strike by Diego Costa
> Can't think of any plus points from Saints point of view
IBO Reporter : channonite
Sometime you just have to hold your hand up and say that you were beaten by the better team. This game was one of those times.
The tactics that Antonio Conte used for Chelsea were exactly right to swamp Saints and I still have the mental picture of Moses charging down the right wing at pace in the first half, with that silly micro-ponytail flapping behind him, acres of space around him. Saints were caught time and time again. They were, by a fair margin, the best side I have seen at St.Mary's for some considerable time. Since Conte has gone to using three Centre Backs, Chelsea have gone from strength to strength and I suspect that from here on in we will see several teams get a severe beating.
It only took just over five minutes for the first goal to come and it really was a bit embarrassing, Hazard jinking around Davis and shooting between Forster's legs. All so simple and you could sense the deflation of the Saints team. The change of manager has certainly rejuvenated Hazard's career and he bears no relation to the sorry looking player that we saw last season.
After that blow, Saints were managed to get a decent amount of the ball, but really were achieving nothing at all, so well drilled were the Chelsea defence. In fact the possession stats were 55%/45% in the home sides favour. Not only were Chelsea well drilled, but they were fast, very fast and aggressive. In spite of the obvious aggressive streak Mike Jones, the referee, did not book a single player on either side.
Although Saints were able to play some nice passing around the pitch, it seemed to be that Chelsea were content to soak up the pressure and then hit on the break. Even so, there were a couple of chances that came to nothing. The first came on about the 20 minute mark, when Fonte headed wide from a corner. The second followed when Tadić won and took a free kick from about 30 yards out, which was on target, but Courtois pushed away.
Balanced against this were the chances that Chelsea had resulting from breaking from defence. Firstly that man Moses came thundering down the right wing, cut in and had his shot deflected over. Then Hazard shot from distance, on target, but Forster just managed to get to it. The closest call came just before the break when Diego Costa found himself with only Fraser Forster to beat. Somehow the big Englishman managed to get a boot to divert the ball away.
So, half-time arrived and Saints were still only one goal down and there was everything to play for.
The second half continued at the same frenetic pace as the first and although the Saints defence had stood firm, their was no denying Costa in the 55th minute when, after a free kick was played to short to him on the left side of the Saints penalty area, he strode along the edge and unleashed an unstoppable curling shot beyond the reach of a diving Forster. 0-2.
Claude Puel responded to this setback by bringing on Boufal for Clasie. Although chances still came and the introduction of both Højbjerg for Tadić and McQueen for Bertrand failed to change the course of the game, you always had the feeling that there was just no way back into this game. In fact there were still chances for Chelsea, with Moses in particular having a powerful shot turned away by Forster.
There can be no complaints about this result and it just needs to be put behind them as they need to refocus pretty damned quickly, ready for the Internazionale Europa League game on Thursday.
17 van Dijk
21 Bertrand (McQueen 78')
4 Clasie (Boufal 61')
11 Tadić (Højbjerg 78')
30 David Luiz
15 Moses (Ivanovic 87')
11 Pedro (Willian 78')
19 Diego (Costa Batshuayi 89')
SUN, 30 OCT 2016
Diego Costa 55'
Referee : Mike Jones
Attendance : 31,827
Shots on Target