Final Result: Chelsea 1 – 0 Southampton
Chelsea, the defending Premier League champions, have struggled to find consistency so far this season and a few surprise defeats have put them massively behind league leaders Manchester City. Their last defeat to relegation-threatened West Ham United was a poor result yet, Antonio Conte’s men shook off the loss and registered a midweek win over Huddersfield Town.
The Blues were keen on building up a momentum with a home win over struggling Southampton who suffered a disastrous 4-1 defeat against Leicester City in their own backyard.
The hosts, as expected, were the most dominant side since the beginning of the game, but Southampton’s organized defence prevented Conte’s army to cause enough menace in the attacking third.
Pedro, however, hit the woodwork and Eden Hazard’s runs caused problems for the Saints backline. Chelsea finally broke the deadlock in the closing seconds of first-half stoppage time when Marcos Alonso demonstrated his set-piece ability by curling the ball around the wall to score the first goal of the game.
The Saints looked more purposeful in the second-half in order to find an equaliser and substitute Charlie Austin came close twice to scoring but was denied by Courtois.
Chelsea’s defensive composure and N’Golo Kante’s excellence in the middle of the park allowed the Blues to grab an edgy win over their Saturday afternoon opponents.
Chelsea FC Player Ratings
Thibaut Courtois (8)
Courtois ensured we kept a clean-sheet to keep hold of a narrow lead and denied Charlie Austin twice in the second-half.
Cesar Azpilicueta (8)
The Spaniard was solid on the right-hand side of Chelsea’s ‘three-man’ defence and delivered a balanced display with crucial clearances, blocks, interceptions, and tackles.
Andres Christensen (7.5)
The youngster keeps on impressing with his passing accuracy in the middle of Chelsea’s back three. The defender was composed, calm and well-positioned throughout the game.
Gary Cahill (8.5)
The skipper protected his backline with his experience and defensive traits for the entire game, and led his side to well-deserved clean-sheet.
Victor Moses (7.5)
Moses worked tirelessly down the right-hand flank as he kept on helping his defence as well as participating in attacking moves. He was taken off and replaced by Davide Zappacosta late in the game.
N’Golo Kante (8.5)
A colossus in midfield as he won the ball back repeatedly to prevent the opponents from posing enough counter-attacking threats.
Tiemoue Bakayoko (7.5)
A much better display by the Frenchman in the middle of the park. Bakayoko helped to maintain the shape in midfield and impressed with his physical presence.
Marcos Alonso (9)
Proved his set-piece ability once again as he scored in the added minutes of the first-half from a free-kick. Alonso maintained his defensive composure and linked-up efficiently with Pedro down the left-hand flank for most of the game.
The Brazilian had a decent outing too who frustrated his opponents with his runs, ball holding ability and smart one-twos.
Eden Hazard (8.5)
Started in a much-advanced role and once again delivered a stellar display up front. Maya Yoshida’s foul on the Belgian resulted in a free-kick which was eventually converted by the Spaniard. Hazard was taken off midway in the second-half and replaced by Alvaro Morata.
The former Barcelona man was unlucky as his strike hit the woodwork in the first half. Pedro’s movement often caused problems for the Saints and he was taken off in the second half to be replaced by Cesc Fabregas.
Cesc Fabregas (7)
Fabregas was successfully brought in to take control of the midfield battle and protect the narrow lead. The Spaniard came close to scoring late in the game but his strike beat the custodian and didn’t cross the line.
Alvaro Morata (6.5)
Morata forced Forster to make a decent stop late in the game.
Davide Zappacosta (N/A)
Zappacosta replaced Victor Moses in the 81st minute.