If they wanted to, they could find a lot of Chelsea’s extenuating circumstances. Reece James wasn’t there, the football field wasn’t very good, Raheem Sterling worked hard, and Roméo Lavia’s game-tying goal was just brilliant. However, the fact is that this side is still flimsy and uninspired, lacking in rhythm, and it seems to have entirely forgotten the defensive obstinacy of the early Thomas Tuchel period.
Southampton, a young and hungry club that fights for every ball, presses every opponent, and is aware of its capabilities, scored the winning goal thanks to an assist from Adam Armstrong. Southampton was at its restless and rampaging best here. With this win, they overtook Chelsea, and while they don’t often control games. They have enough tenacity and counterpunch to signal a promising season. Their advantage, which was first unjustified, would eventually be totally earned via perseverance, spirit, and Gavin Bazunu’s saves.
What were the changes?
In actuality, the home team had been just hanging on until Lavia blasted the Chelsea net from 25 yards out to bring Southampton back into the contest. Chelsea’s front three pounced on the openings surrounding their defence: Sterling was a constant menace perched on the shoulder of the last man, Mason Mount dropped deep to receive, and Kai Havertz ran the channels. Before ultimately putting the ball in the goal, Sterling squandered at least two good chances and, with a little more finesse, might have had the game over in 25 minutes.
But this has always been Sterling’s contradiction; he is a player who, based only on statistics, can be compared to the greatest English forwards of his period, but who also carries a certain reputation for being wasteful. There is no question that Sterling wastes a lot of opportunities, but what is less frequently acknowledged is the sheer number of shots he creates for himself through deft movement and superb game reading. Sterling wastes opportunities that other forwards are not capable of taking.
Once more, a fourth of the way in, Romain Perraud slid in to remove Mount’s cross, but in doing so, he fell to the ground. Sterling, who had critically maintained his balance, simply delivered the ball into the bottom corner after assessing the target. When you are this productive, does it really matter if it took him three tries to eventually hit the thing? His 112nd Premier League goal was this one.
UK football news today
The equaliser by Southampton, which in more ways than one appeared to come out of nowhere, caused a certain amount of surprise. However, César Azpilicueta’s clearance of James Ward-corner Prowse’s to the area’s edge sadly exposed Chelsea’s defensive disarray once more. Tuchel might be content to let the area go unattended. Maybe someone didn’t perform their duties. In either case, Lavia was free to choose his position with little to no interference. He could hardly have hit the ball sweeter, stinging Édouard Mendy’s fingertips as it went in. This was a football match that will be remembered.
Chelsea also appeared hurt. The second half was considerably more balanced and open, with Southampton finding more room in between the lines while the visitors continued to pose a threat on the counter. Perraud was permitted to make a move up the left side as halftime drew near. He then cut a pass back for Armstrong at the penalty spot. Who was able to take a touch before burying the ball. It was a well-executed goal, but it embarrassed a defence that had played together in more than 200 international matches.
Tuchel turned the dials in reply. At halftime, Mateo Kovacic took the place of an injured Ruben Loftus- Cheek. For Havertz, Christian Pulisic was substituted. In order to provide a more direct point of reference in attack, Armando Broja was introduced against his previous team. Chelsea’s biggest problems, however, continued to be their inability to maintain good possession further up. The field and their failure to stop Southampton from generating chances from the flanks. In fact, Mohamed Elyounoussi blew a great chance with a hunched header from six yards. Out when it would have been simpler for him to put his foot through it.
More Chelsea attacks, hopeful crosses, and bobbling through-balls were present, but there was no organisation or cohesiveness. Would Anthony Gordon or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang be able to resolve any of this? When the game was over, Tuchel sternly shook Ralph Hasenhüttl’s hand before leaving the field. Tuchel must have known that Chelsea’s issues would be resolved on the practise field rather than in the transfer market.