Solid at the back wasteful at the front…
Chelsea travelled to Southampton to play them in MW 25 of the Premier League season and the Blues returned to London with a point to their name. Tuchel selected a strong XI with some rotation as Mendy came back, Azpilicueta, Zouma, and Rudiger started at the back. Reece James, and Marcos Alonso were the wing backs with Kante, and Kovacic in the midfield. Mount, started behind Werner, and Tammy. A strong XI and one that should have been good enough to beat Southampton over 90 minutes.
The first half was all Chelsea. Southampton didn’t have a single touch in and around Chelsea’s box and players like Kante were dominating the midfield. The defence was solid, the pressing was spectacular and Southampton didn’t have room to breathe. All that possession but Chelsea didn’t have any clear cut chances in the final 3rd. Football struck and in the 33rd minute one pass through the centre backs found Minamino and he finished past Mendy to make it 1-0 to Southampton. Completely against the run of play and totally undeserved. Chelsea entered half time thinking how exactly they were one goal behind.
Tuchel made changes at half time with Hudson-Odoi coming on for Tammy. Chelsea had more creativity and gumption in the 2nd half with Mount playing a free role. Mason was all over the final 3rd and he drew the penalty in the 54th minute which he stepped up to convert to bring Chelsea back into the game. Southampton had some decent chances on the break and did hit the post once but otherwise Chelsea were comfortable at the back. Jorginho came on for Kovacic but our tempo only dropped after that. Hudson-Odoi was then taken off for Ziyech with Tuchel saying after words that CHO didn’t look up for it when he came on. Chelsea failed to breach the Saint’s backline and the game ended 1-1.
Chelsea Team Review
No clean sheet for Mendy today in a game that he didn’t really have much to do. The goal was due to Zouma’s poor marking and was out of his hands. Nothing to do but move on from the game.
The defence was solid and completely dominated the game except for the goal that we conceded. On another day if the forwards had done their job then we probably would have won. Reece James was quite good during the game and dominated the right hand side but Alonso showed that his pace is lacking and slowed down play a number of times. Chilwell needs to be given a chance over the coming weeks.
Kovacic and Kante dominated the midfield, Kante particularly brilliant in the 1st half. The Frenchman looked back to his best and covered every single blade of grass. Kovacic was slightly restricted with Jorginho not on the pitch and he didn’t make as many runs as he usually does. Mount was decent in the 1st half but lit up the 2nd half and it felt like if a goal was to come it would come via Mason.
Not the best game for Tammy and he was subbed off at half time. Abraham’s hold up play was not great and he also fed off no service. The same goes for Werner who had nothing to work on during the game. Hudson-Odoi didn’t have the best 30 minutes while Ziyech also looked poor when he came on.
Tuchel was clearly frustrated on the touch line because the players failed to make the correct decision in the final 3rd. Like he said in the post match conference that Chelsea were great for 80% of the pitch but in the final 20 we failed to finish the moves off. The next step for Tuchel is to gain that goalscoring touch and coach these players to make good decisions. Maybe change the formation to bring in more attacking talent or just change the personnel but we need to start scoring goals because keeping clean sheets is only half of the solution.
Chelsea drop into 5th with the point, 2 points behind 4th placed West Ham and 6 behind United and Leicester. There is work to do and Chelsea have to start scoring goals with some tough games ahead. COME ON CHELSEA!!!