Chelsea vs Southampton match report: Crisis at Stamford Bridge as Jose Mourinho's Blues are well beaten by Saints

Chelsea 1 Southampton 3

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The season is not yet a quarter old, summer is still hanging on, but already Chelsea look set for the worst title defence since Leeds United in the Premier League’s debut season 23 years ago. Chelsea look struck in a crisis of confidence compounded by key players ageing and exacerbated by Jose Mourinho’s capricious management. 

John Terry came in for his 677th appearance for the club, but only his second since August.

Terry’s name was lustily cheered when announced.

In attack Radamel Falcao replaced the suspended Diego Costa while Oscar and Eden Hazard returned in place of Pedro and John Obi Mikel. Nemanja Matic was again on the bench. For all their early-season stuttering, Chelsea are still the champions and Ronald Koeman recalled one of their old boys to stiffen his midfield. In the only change from the Southampton team that beat Swansea 3-1 a week ago Oriel Romeu, whose career at Stamford Bridge fell away sharply, replaced James Ward-Prowse.

Romeu was booked just nine minutes later for tripping Hazard, his fourth caution in six Premier League games.

It proved an expensive foul. Willian, who has become a dead-ball dead-eye this season, did it again, deceiving Maarten Stekelenburg with a curler that went in off the post.

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It was all going well for Chelsea when Willian opened the scoring

 

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Steven Davis equalises for the Saints

At the other end, Branislav Ivanovic was fortunate not to concede a penalty for virtually tugging Virgil Van Dijk’s shirt off at a corner. Few referees are brave enough to give spot-kicks in such circumstances; Robert Madley is evidently not one of them. That suspicion deepened when he failed to give a penalty when Saido Mané was tripped by Ramires, then booked Mané for simulation after Ivanovic upended him outside the box. 

Those incidents highlighted Saints’ growing pressure and, after Asmir Begovic denied Ryan Bertrand, he was beaten by Davis’ 43rd-minute volley, Graziano Pelle having held off Gary Cahill to feed the scorer. 

Whatever Mourinho (pictured) said to his players at half-time went unheeded as Southampton created a series of chances immediately after the break, with Mané the most wasteful and Ivanovic again Chelsea’s weak link as he was bamboozled by Dusan Tadic. 

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Sadio Mane puts Southampton into a shock lead

Chelsea briefly responded and a sharp move ended with Falcao booked for throwing himself down after touching the ball around Stekelenburg.

It was a brief flash of the old Chelsea and on the hour Saints made their dominance pay. Cahill lost possession, Pelle fed Mané, who turned Terry inside out and squeezed his shot past Begovic.

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Graziano Pelle fires home the third

Mourinho called up his cavalry in the shape of multiple medal-winner Pedro. Loïc Rémy followed, but he was waiting on the touchline when Saints capitalised on a slack Hazard pass to launch a counter-attack that concluded with Pelle scoring from Mané’s pass. Matic, on for only 28 minutes, was withdrawn. He is the new scapegoat. 

Tadic wasted a chance to make it four after Mané embarrassed Cahill before boos rang out at the final whistle.

Chelsea: (4-2-3-1) Begovic; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Fabregas, Ramires (Matic, h-t; Rémy, 73); Willian (Pedro, 64), Oscar, Hazard; Falcao.

Southampton: (4-4-1-1) Stekelenburg; Soares, Fonte, Van Dijk, Bertrand; Davis, Romeu (Ward-Prowse, h-t), Wanyama, Tadic (Rodriguez, 78); Mané (Yoshida, 90); Pelle.

Referee: Robert Madley

Man of the match: Mané (Southampton)

Match rating: 8/10

 

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