What was needed after the last two games!
Chelsea welcomed Hassenhutl and Southampton to Stamford Bridge on Saturday for MW 7 of the Premier League season. Hassenhutl picked a lineup as predicted with the predicted back four and goalkeeper. Tella and Walcott did start with Armstrong, and Redmond up front. Tuchel had Mendy in goal with a back three of Chalobah, Silva, and Rudiger. Azpilicueta, Loftus-Cheek, Kovacic, and Chilwell started as the wing backs and midfield. Werner, Hudson-Odoi, and Lukaku started up front. Deserved starts for Chilwell, and Loftus-Cheek and a deserved chance for Hudson-Odoi to play at this favoured left wing position. A lineup everyone was happy about.
Chelsea started the game brilliantly. A first chance came in the 5th minute as Azpilicueta played in a ball for Werner who’s shot was saved by McCarthy. Chalobah then gave Chelsea the lead in the 9th minute as a corner from Chilwell found Loftus-Cheek’s head who’s floated ball found Chalobah at the back post and scored. A 2nd goal in the Premier League for the academy graduate and Chelsea had the ball rolling. Southampton had a couple of chances as well with Walcott going close mid way through the first half. Chilwell then went one and one with McCarthy but the goalkeeper pulled off another stunning save from point blank range in the 26th minute. Lukaku then had the ball in the net after being played through by Rudiger but he was offside. Hudson-Odoi then went close but Livramento made a crucial block. Azpilicueta nicked the ball from Walker-Peters and he crossed the ball into the box and after a couple of shots and clearances it landed for Hudson-Odoi who once again crossed and Werner headed it in. After all the celebrations the goal was pulled back by VAR for the Azpilicueta incident which was actually farcical because it wasn’t even the same piece of play. Very unlucky for Timo once again and with the stadium furious Chelsea went into half time with a 1-0 lead.
Chilwell conceded a penalty in the 59th minute after bringing down Livramento and Ward-Prowse stepped up to convert it and bring Southampton back into the game. Along with that goal came the deluge of rain as Tuchel made the subs. Mount came on for Hudson-Odoi in the 65th minute. Instantly Mount saw a cross flash across the box and we failed to finish it. Werner saw another great shot saved by McCarthy. Jorginho then came on for Kovacic. Ward-Prowse then made a late tackle from behind on Jorginho and was sent off in the 77th minute. Mount then had a shot saved by McCarthy. Barkley then came on for Loftus-Cheek. Barkley played a brilliant ball into Azpi who played a first time pass into the box and Werner tapped it in to give Chelsea the lead in the 84th minute. An amazing goal and what a way to grab the winner. Mount then played in a ball for Lukaku who shot hit the post and found Azpilicueta who’s shot hit the post once again and the ricochet found Chilwell who volleyed from a tight angle only for McCarthy to save. After a couple of seconds Chilwell was awarded the goal because the ball crossed the line. A brilliant volley. Full time and Chelsea got a deserved 3-1 win and 3 massive points.
Chelsea Team Review
Mendy did not have much to do in this game. Much of the action came in the Southampton half but the few shots that the Saints did have Mendy dealt with them without any problems. The penalty was not his fault and saving them is always a 50/50. Normal performance.
Chalobah got a poachers goal and had a very good game over all. Silva, and Rudiger were also solid and no problems defensively from all three players. Christensen got a deserved rest. Azpilicueta got a crucial assist for the winner and was a constant threat in this game while having no defensive issues. Chilwell had a great game as well. Could have scored multiple goals and was at fault for the penalty but bounce back by scoring that volley for the 3rd goal. A great performance from all the defenders. It was great to see what even one pacy wing back does to improve the momentum going forward.
Loftus-Cheek had an amazing game and he really does look like he is back. Just a beast going forward breaking play and pushing on. Shots on target, passes the whole package. There is still improvement needed but I just love what I am seeing. Kovacic was his normal self which is to say he was great in the midfield after two relatively poor games. Jorginho came on and did well to take control of the midfield as we searched for the winner. Barkley came on and also worked hard and was crucial for the winner as it was his brilliant pass that found Azpilicueta. Great to see. Mount also came on in the 2nd half and created chances instantly. Could have had a couple of assists in his cameo and it was great to see the energy back.
Hudson-Odoi had a very good game. CHO finally got a chance to play in his favoured left wing position and was a constant threat with his pace and crosses into the box. An assist was robbed from him by VAR but it was a performance that should get him more game time in this position. It is up to him to make this a consistent level. Lukaku could have scored his fair share but this game he showed a more team player side to his game and worked hard on and off the ball to bring others into play. Werner was key for the attack and it feels good to be vindicated. A constant threat, a channel of creativity and the pace is such a weapon. A goal very unfairly ruled out but he persevered and grabbed the winner and that is his best characteristic. Werner is looking good and really hope he can continue this run of form. Werner and Lukaku do look like he pairing that should play.
Tuchel was repaid by the players that started and he will be encouraged by the performance in this game. The work he has done on RLC, and Barkley is great to see and they look like they want to be key players in this squad. The subs all worked and added energy in the 2nd half. Players were also rested.
Chelsea return to winning ways as we go 2 points clear of the rest at the top of the table. City and Liverpool play on Saturday and a draw would probably be the best result for the Blues. It was important to go into the international break with a good performance and that was what the team delivered. 2 weeks without club football now but plenty of good performances to salivate on before we try to go on a run of wins. COME ON CHELSEA!!!