John Terry marked his 400th Premier League appearance with a crucial goal as Chelsea recovered from conceding inside 13 seconds to beat Southampton and go second in the table.

The Blues had actually moved up a place on goal difference before kick-off, following Liverpool's defeat at Hull earlier in the day.

But their hopes of staying there took an instant hit when an inexplicable Michael Essien volley allowed Jay Rodriguez to run through and put the visitors ahead.

However a vastly improved second-half performance, full of purpose, saw Chelsea take the lead through headers from Gary Cahill and his centre-back partner Terry.

Terry's Blues record

John Terry is now fourth in Chelsea's list of all-time appearance makers, with 593, one ahead of John Hollins. Ron Harris leads the way with 795. Frank Lampard is third with 627. Terry has now also made 400 Premier League starts for the Blues.

And half-time substitute Demba Ba sealed victory in the final minute, sliding the ball home from close range after a Ramires cross.

Saints, who could have gone third with victory and had conceded just seven league goals in 12 games before kick-off, played with greater confidence and composure in the opening period.

The Blues, clearly mindful of the need for extra creativity against the most miserly defence in the Premier League, started with both Eden Hazard and Juan Mata.

But it was Essien - a surprise inclusion, making his first league start of the season - who had the immediate impact.

The Ghanaian's first touch saw him volley the ball aimlessly towards his own goal, straight into the path of Rodriguez, who calmly shot beyond Petr Cech.

It was a dream start for any side facing title-chasing opposition and helped Southampton erase any lingering self-doubt following the comprehensive 2-0 defeat against leaders Arsenal last time out.

The imposing presence of Victor Wanyama in the centre provided a solid base, and the equally muscular attacking threat of Rodriguez kept Terry and Cahill occupied.

But the Blues slowly regrouped and started to pose an occasional threat in attack, with Oscar the most likely source of a goal.

First the Brazilian went close with a fiercely struck 18-yard strike that was beaten away by Artur Boruc - later taken off injured - then he was unable to direct a close-range header wide of the Polish keeper after good work by Fernando Torres.

In between Oscar's attempts, the impressive James Ward-Prowse went close with a free-kick for the visitors, while at the other end a Torres header produced a fine save from Boruc.

Chelsea decisions annoy Pochettino

An increasingly frustrated Jose Mourinho was forced to tinker with his system, replacing the injured Oscar with Frank Lampard before the break.

The Portuguese, who headed for the dressing a good couple of minutes before half-time, also cut short a miserable afternoon for Essien by bringing on Ba and playing two up front in the second half.

The change produced the desired effect.

Suddenly there was urgency and constant threat, as the hosts dominated possession and territory, buoyed by a supportive and passionate Stamford Bridge crowd.

Cahill reacted superbly to bundle in the equaliser, craning his neck to head home after Branislav Ivanovic's header was turned onto the post by Ba.

And Chelsea found themselves ahead when Cahill's partner Terry guided a towering near-post header beyond Saints' replacement keeper Paulo Gazzaniga and into the far corner.

The Londoners looked to seal the win and, with Mata increasingly influential, they probably should have done so sooner than they did.

He almost teed up a simple header for Torres, while Ba went close with a low strike across goal from the left.

Jose Fonte's mis-kick when well placed in the Blues box was a rare Saints attack in the second half, and Ba finally added the third after a bustling run by Ramires to take Chelsea back to within four points of leaders Arsenal.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho: "It was important not to panic and keep the emotional balance. We waited for half-time to change the game. Even when Oscar had to come out I wanted to bring in Lampard before changing things.

"The players were fantastic and it was difficult for Southampton. People are afraid to play two up-front as everyone has so many midfielders. We spoke before the game that with others losing points this was a must-win game.

"The younger players and new boys have to be better in the second part of the season but we go step by step. But the fact today was must-win and we were losing means mentally it was a good answer."

Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino: "After we got the first goal it was fairly even-sided. Of course we are unhappy but there were a number of decisions that did not go our way. The ones you don't see are perhaps more important.

"There was no doubt that the players will react positively. But lest we forget, we were playing Chelsea!

"Boruc has gone to a clinic to get some X-rays. We don't know what he has done."

Lineup, Bookings (5) & Substitutions (6)

Chelsea

  • 01 Cech
  • 02 Ivanovic
  • 28 Azpilicueta
  • 07 Ramires
  • 24 Cahill
  • 26 Terry
  • 10 Mata
  • 05 Essien Booked (Ba - 45' )
  • 09 Torres (Mikel - 84' )
  • 11 Oscar (Lampard - 42' )
  • 17 Hazard

Substitutes

  • 03 Cole
  • 08 Lampard
  • 12 Mikel
  • 14 Schürrle
  • 19 Ba
  • 22 Willian
  • 23 Schwarzer

Southampton

  • 31 Boruc (Gazzaniga - 58' )
  • 02 Clyne
  • 23 Shaw
  • 04 Schneiderlin Booked (Lambert - 67' )
  • 06 Fonte
  • 05 Lovren
  • 16 Ward-Prowse (Davis - 63' )
  • 12 Wanyama
  • 17 Osvaldo Booked
  • 20 Lallana Booked
  • 09 Rodriguez Booked

Substitutes

  • 03 Yoshida
  • 07 Lambert
  • 08 Davis
  • 18 Cork
  • 22 Chambers
  • 25 Gazzaniga
  • 26 Hooiveld
Ref: Michael Oliver
Att: 41,568

Match Stats

Shots

16 9

On target

7 1

Corners

8 4

Fouls

15 14

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Chelsea 3, Southampton 1.

90:00 +6:01 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Chelsea 3, Southampton 1.

90:00 +5:14

Foul by Ramires (Chelsea).

90:00 +5:14

Jose Fonte (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +4:44

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Jose Fonte.

90:00 +3:20

Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Branislav Ivanovic.

90:00 +2:12

Foul by Demba Ba (Chelsea).

90:00 +2:12

Dejan Lovren (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +1:05

Foul by Demba Ba (Chelsea).

90:00 +1:05

Dejan Lovren (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

89:16 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Chelsea 3, Southampton 1. Demba Ba (Chelsea) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Ramires with a cross.

88:32

Attempt missed. Pablo Osvaldo (Southampton) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Luke Shaw.

87:55

Foul by Demba Ba (Chelsea).

87:55

Dejan Lovren (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

87:24

Attempt missed. Pablo Osvaldo (Southampton) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

84:58 Booking

Booking Pablo Osvaldo (Southampton) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

84:27

Juan Mata (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

84:27

Foul by Pablo Osvaldo (Southampton).

83:40 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Chelsea. John Obi Mikel replaces Fernando Torres.

82:50

Attempt blocked. Eden Hazard (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Juan Mata with a through ball.

81:37

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Pablo Osvaldo.

81:10

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Jose Fonte.

79:13

Attempt blocked. Jay Rodriguez (Southampton) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

78:02

Attempt missed. Fernando Torres (Chelsea) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Branislav Ivanovic with a cross.

76:12

Offside, Chelsea. Eden Hazard tries a through ball, but Juan Mata is caught offside.

75:16

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

74:04

Delay in match Dejan Lovren (Southampton) because of an injury.

74:02

Delay in match Ramires (Chelsea) because of an injury.

72:47

Attempt blocked. Jose Fonte (Southampton) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Victor Wanyama.

72:24

Corner, Southampton. Conceded by César Azpilicueta.

71:42

Attempt missed. Demba Ba (Chelsea) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by César Azpilicueta.

71:16 Booking

Booking Jay Rodriguez (Southampton) is shown the yellow card.

71:07

Ramires (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

71:07

Foul by Steven Davis (Southampton).

66:41 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Southampton. Rickie Lambert replaces Morgan Schneiderlin because of an injury.

66:40

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

66:04

Delay in match Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton) because of an injury.

65:36

Offside, Chelsea. Eden Hazard tries a through ball, but Demba Ba is caught offside.

64:02 Booking

Booking Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

63:57

Fernando Torres (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

63:57

Foul by Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton).

62:14 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Southampton. Steven Davis replaces James Ward-Prowse.

61:16 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Chelsea 2, Southampton 1. John Terry (Chelsea) header from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Juan Mata with a cross following a corner.

60:50

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Jose Fonte.

59:47

Foul by Juan Mata (Chelsea).

59:47

Luke Shaw (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

57:56 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Southampton. Paulo Gazzaniga replaces Artur Boruc because of an injury.

57:45

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

55:34

Delay in match Artur Boruc (Southampton) because of an injury.

54:24 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Chelsea 1, Southampton 1. Gary Cahill (Chelsea) header from very close range to the centre of the goal.

54:23

Demba Ba (Chelsea) hits the left post with a right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box. Assisted by Branislav Ivanovic following a corner.

54:22

Attempt missed. Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Juan Mata with a cross following a corner.

54:01

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Artur Boruc.

53:59

Attempt saved. Frank Lampard (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner.

53:16

Fernando Torres (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the left wing.

53:16

Foul by Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton).

52:01 Booking

Booking Adam Lallana (Southampton) is shown the yellow card.

51:54

Foul by Ramires (Chelsea).

51:54

Luke Shaw (Southampton) wins a free kick on the left wing.

50:58

Foul by Ramires (Chelsea).

50:58

Luke Shaw (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

50:04

Offside, Chelsea. Ramires tries a through ball, but Fernando Torres is caught offside.

46:53

Foul by Juan Mata (Chelsea).

46:53

Adam Lallana (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

45:56

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Victor Wanyama.

45:55

Attempt blocked. Fernando Torres (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Demba Ba.

45:00

Second Half begins Chelsea 0, Southampton 1.

45:00 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Chelsea. Demba Ba replaces Michael Essien.

45:00 +4:12 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Chelsea 0, Southampton 1.

45:00 +2:37

Offside, Chelsea. Fernando Torres tries a through ball, but Ramires is caught offside.

44:31

John Terry (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

44:31

Foul by Pablo Osvaldo (Southampton).

43:57

Attempt missed. Juan Mata (Chelsea) left footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left.

43:36

Attempt saved. Fernando Torres (Chelsea) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Juan Mata.

41:43 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Chelsea. Frank Lampard replaces Oscar because of an injury.

41:02

John Terry (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

41:02

Foul by Pablo Osvaldo (Southampton).

40:39

Attempt saved. Oscar (Chelsea) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Fernando Torres with a cross.

39:49

Attempt missed. Adam Lallana (Southampton) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by James Ward-Prowse.

38:38

Foul by Ramires (Chelsea).

38:38

Victor Wanyama (Southampton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

38:14

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

37:30

Delay in match Oscar (Chelsea) because of an injury.

37:22

Delay in match Victor Wanyama (Southampton) because of an injury.

34:54

Offside, Southampton. James Ward-Prowse tries a through ball, but Dejan Lovren is caught offside.

34:24

Foul by Gary Cahill (Chelsea).

34:24

Jay Rodriguez (Southampton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

33:02

Attempt blocked. Victor Wanyama (Southampton) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

32:58

Attempt blocked. Dejan Lovren (Southampton) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

32:18 Booking

Booking Michael Essien (Chelsea) is shown the yellow card.

32:15

Michael Essien (Chelsea) has gone down, but that's a dive.

30:06

Juan Mata (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the right wing.

30:06

Foul by Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton).

28:36

Eden Hazard (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

28:36

Foul by James Ward-Prowse (Southampton).

27:51

Offside, Chelsea. Juan Mata tries a through ball, but Michael Essien is caught offside.

26:20

Foul by Pablo Osvaldo (Southampton).

26:20

John Terry (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

25:51

Offside, Chelsea. Ramires tries a through ball, but Juan Mata is caught offside.

24:32

Attempt missed. James Ward-Prowse (Southampton) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top left corner from a direct free kick.

23:53

Foul by Ramires (Chelsea).

23:53

Dejan Lovren (Southampton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

23:12

Corner, Southampton. Conceded by César Azpilicueta.

21:25

Attempt missed. Oscar (Chelsea) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by César Azpilicueta with a cross.

19:44

Juan Mata (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

19:44

Foul by Luke Shaw (Southampton).

19:08

Foul by Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea).

19:08

Victor Wanyama (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

19:01

Attempt saved. Oscar (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Eden Hazard.

18:33

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Nathaniel Clyne.

17:15

Offside, Chelsea. Oscar tries a through ball, but John Terry is caught offside.

16:06

Ramires (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the right wing.

16:06

Foul by Victor Wanyama (Southampton).

14:25

Eden Hazard (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

14:25

Foul by Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton).

13:46

Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Gary Cahill.

11:37

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

10:42

Delay in match Pablo Osvaldo (Southampton) because of an injury.

7:22

Michael Essien (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

7:22

Foul by Adam Lallana (Southampton).

6:39

Eden Hazard (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

6:39

Foul by Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton).

6:00

Foul by Oscar (Chelsea).

6:00

Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton) wins a free kick on the left wing.

3:14

Attempt missed. Gary Cahill (Chelsea) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Juan Mata with a cross following a corner.

2:58

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Morgan Schneiderlin.

1:14

Foul by Ramires (Chelsea).

1:14

Adam Lallana (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

0:13 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Chelsea 0, Southampton 1. Jay Rodriguez (Southampton) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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