Diego Costa 11′
Tadic 19′ (pen)
FT 90 +5
Referee : Mike Dean
Attendance : 41,624
- Match Report
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Chelsea v Saints
Stamford Bridge, Sunday 15th March 2015
> Tadić levels from the spot
> Forster plays a blinder in the second half
It is a sign of the times at St. Mary’s that a 1-1 draw away at the league leaders is met with a tinge of disappointment. This is not because Southampton deserved the victory, but because, from the moment Dušan Tadić equalised from the penalty spot, Southampton spurned a number of presentable chances to win the game. The fact that Hazard, Costa and Terry were equally as careless in front of goal meant that Southampton took home with them the point that was necessary to jump up to 6th in the table.
However, the main weakness from the last 10 games was still evident at Stamford Bridge. Southampton’s only goal came from the penalty spot, while Mané, Ward-Prowse and Schneiderlin were all guilty of waywardness in front of goal. Tadić, despite scoring from the spot, was so low on confidence that he chose not to even risk shooting for fear of failure.
The first half started circumspectly, and it was something of a surprise when Chelsea took the lead. Uncharacteristically for the best defence in the country, Costa was given the run of the penalty area to head past Fraser Forster on 12 minutes, but it proved to be the catalyst for Southampton to take control of the game for the remainder of the half. Not long after the opening goal, Sadio Mané found himself through on goal until Matic scythed through him to earn himself a yellow card and Southampton a penalty, tentatively converted by Tadić.
Chances to take the lead followed, with Southampton attacking effectively down the flanks. But the final touch remained elusive, with Courtois standing tall in the Chelsea goal.
But it was Fraser Forster at the other end that was busier in the second half, pulling off 3 excellent saves as Chelsea attacked in waves. Forster received the plaudits and the man of the match award, but it was Morgan Schneiderlin who delivered the most accomplished performance. His remit in this game was to pressurise Cesc Fabregas, who increasingly cut a frustrated figure as the match wore on, and this was reflected in the moans from the Chelsea faithful when Schneiderlin once again stole the ball from his feet. It was an enormous performance from the Frenchman, who appeared to grow stronger while the Chelsea midfield wilted. Matic, the beneficiary of a weak decision by the referee who failed to produce a second yellow card early in the second half, was removed from the action as a precautionary measure, which left Fabregas increasingly isolated against the power of Schneiderlin.
Playing at this level of quality, Schneiderlin deserves to be dominating the midfield area of the biggest stadia in the world. It is difficult to imagine a better player in his position in world football. His summer transfer value will surely reflect this, and Southampton fans will surely wave him off with the very best of wishes. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to watch him grow, but now he deserves the chance to flourish at a level above the Europa League. He has earned it.
Schneiderlin was instrumental in repelling the waves of Chelsea attacks in the second half, but still could not prevent the blues from creating a number of excellent chances to take the lead. But Forster, the post and profligate finishing denied Hazard, Costa, Cuadrado, and ultimately John Terry, who needed three stabs at the ball and still contrived to flash the ball wide.
Southampton also had chances to win the game. Ward-Prowse was once again guilty of his customary lack of decisiveness in front of goal, while Mané, perhaps Southampton’s best finisher, blazed high and wide in injury time with the goal looming and a plethora of onrushing team-mates, to whom he might have squared the ball.
And so, 1-1 it ended. Probably a point gained.
18th March 2015
13 Courtois, 02 Ivanovic Booked, 24 Cahill Booked, 26 Terry, 28 Azpilicueta, 04 Fàbregas, 21 Matic Booked (Ramires - 53’ ), 22 Willian (Cuadrado - 83’ ), 08 Oscar (Remy - 82’ ), 10 Hazard, 19 Diego Costa
01 Cech, 03 Filipe Luis, 05 Zouma, 07 Ramires, 11 Drogba, 18 Remy, 23 Cuadrado
23 Forster, 02 Clyne, 06 Fonte, 17 Alderweireld, 21 Bertrand, 12 Wanyama Booked, 04 Schneiderlin, 10 Mané Booked, 08 Davis (Ward-Prowse - 71’ ), 11 Tadic (Djuricic - 71’ Booked ), 07 Long (Pellè - 83’ )
01 Davis, 03 Yoshida, 05 Gardos, 15 Djuricic, 16 Ward-Prowse, 19 Pellè, 33 Targett
Post-Chelsea game interview with a happy Ronald Koeman
Post match interview with scorer, Dušan Tadić
Post match interview with Saints goalie, Fraser Forster