Chelsea's Premier League title challenge continued to gather momentum ominously as they cruised to victory at Southampton.

Southampton, now with only one win in nine games, kept Chelsea at bay until manager Jose Mourinho introduced Brazilian duo Oscar and Willian early in the second half to give his side an extra cutting edge.

And how perfectly the move worked as they made crucial contributions to give Chelsea 10 points out of 12 over the festive period, in what was eventually a comfortable win that keeps them only two points behind leaders Arsenal.

Fernando Torres, a threat throughout, headed Chelsea in front on the hour after Oscar had struck the post. Oscar then set up a superb second for Willian 11 minutes later before racing clear to put the finishing touches to a display that combined quality and efficiency.

The only blot was a booking for Oscar as he dived when he should have scored after rounding Southampton keeper Kelvin Davis, otherwise he produced a wonderful display.

Ending Chelsea's away-day striker Blues

Fernando Torres' second-half header was the first away Premier League goal scored by a Chelsea striker in 13 months. Torres also scored the last away top-flight goal - against Sunderland in December 2012.

Mourinho reintroduced Juan Mata into Chelsea's line-up - but it was fellow countryman Torres who posed all the early threat to Southampton.

Torres caused problems with his pace and was almost on target early on only for Jose Fonte to get a crucial touch on to his shot from edge of the area and deflect it just wide.

And as Chelsea applied early pressure, Andre Schurrle shot just wide from the edge of the area after Southampton could only partially clear a corner.

Ramires was also a danger with his runs from deep, forcing Davis to race out of his goal to clear at his feet and also touch a powerful, rising drive over the top.

Southampton, however, were making opportunities of their own and occasionally forced Chelsea's defence into some desperate work to ensure they remained on level terms.

Ashley Cole, back in the starting line-up after coming on as a substitute in the win against Liverpool, twice had to show his experience and quality with crucial interceptions, while a combination of defenders was required to stop Adam Lallana after he had been set up by Calum Chambers.

Saints' talented young defender Luke Shaw went off injured at half-time, to be replaced by Nathaniel Clyne - and Mourinho was making a double change of his own just eight minutes after the break.

Oscar and Willian came on for a dejected-looking Mata and Schurrle as Chelsea went in pursuit of the crucial opening goal.

The first action involving Oscar was contentious, seemingly choosing to go to ground instead of score as he rounded Davis, picking up a booking from referee Martin Atkinson.

Oscar made a more constructive contribution as Chelsea went ahead on the hour. His effort came back off the post and Torres demonstrated swift reactions to direct the rebound into the net.

The goal was the signal for Pocchetino to bring on Rickie Lambert and he almost made an instant impact, taking advantage of confusion in Chelsea's defence but only heading straight at Petr Cech.

Oscar may have blotted his copybook to get a booking but he was once again the creator as Chelsea extended their lead, showing brilliant footwork before setting up Willian to score with a thumping low drive from the edge of the area.

And he got the goal he deserved to wrap up the three points, taking Eden Hazard's perfect pass to beat Davis with ease.

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Lineup, Bookings (5) & Substitutions (6)

Southampton

  • 01 Davis
  • 22 Chambers
  • 23 Shaw (Clyne - 45' Booked )
  • 04 Schneiderlin
  • 06 Fonte
  • 05 Lovren Booked
  • 20 Lallana
  • 18 Cork Booked (Lambert - 60' )
  • 09 Rodriguez
  • 08 Davis (Ward-Prowse - 76' )
  • 10 Ramírez Booked

Substitutes

  • 02 Clyne
  • 03 Yoshida
  • 07 Lambert
  • 16 Ward-Prowse
  • 25 Gazzaniga
  • 26 Hooiveld
  • 40 Gallagher

Chelsea

  • 01 Cech
  • 28 Azpilicueta
  • 03 Cole
  • 12 Mikel
  • 24 Cahill
  • 26 Terry
  • 10 Mata (Oscar - 53' Booked )
  • 07 Ramires
  • 09 Torres
  • 17 Hazard (Essien - 85' )
  • 14 Schürrle (Willian - 53' )

Substitutes

  • 05 Essien
  • 11 Oscar
  • 19 Ba
  • 22 Willian
  • 23 Schwarzer
  • 29 Eto'o
  • 33 Kalas
Ref: Martin Atkinson
Att: 31,271

Match Stats

Shots

12 11

On target

2 5

Corners

6 8

Fouls

13 10

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Southampton 0, Chelsea 3.

90:00 +4:32 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Southampton 0, Chelsea 3.

90:00 +3:57

Attempt missed. Gastón Ramírez (Southampton) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses the top left corner. Assisted by Adam Lallana.

90:00 +3:20

James Ward-Prowse (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +3:20

Foul by Ramires (Chelsea).

89:55

Jay Rodriguez (Southampton) wins a free kick on the left wing.

89:55

Foul by Ramires (Chelsea).

88:55

Foul by Rickie Lambert (Southampton).

88:55

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

86:15

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

85:52 Booking

Booking Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

85:05

Foul by Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton).

85:05

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

84:12 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Chelsea. Michael Essien replaces Eden Hazard.

82:57

Jay Rodriguez (Southampton) wins a free kick on the left wing.

82:57

Foul by Oscar (Chelsea).

81:21 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Southampton 0, Chelsea 3. Oscar (Chelsea) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Eden Hazard with a through ball.

77:06

Attempt missed. Ramires (Chelsea) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Oscar.

75:54

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

75:34 Substitution

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

75:12

Offside, Chelsea. John Obi Mikel tries a through ball, but Fernando Torres is caught offside.

74:01

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Steven Davis.

73:31

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Nathaniel Clyne.

72:06

Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

72:06

Foul by Oscar (Chelsea).

70:39 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Southampton 0, Chelsea 2. Willian (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Oscar.

70:06

Foul by Rickie Lambert (Southampton).

70:06

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

69:01

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

68:24

Corner, Southampton. Conceded by John Obi Mikel.

65:17

Attempt saved. Rickie Lambert (Southampton) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Nathaniel Clyne with a cross.

63:59

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Gastón Ramírez.

62:45 Booking

Booking Dejan Lovren (Southampton) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

62:37

Foul by Dejan Lovren (Southampton).

62:37

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

60:47

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

60:47

Foul by Oscar (Chelsea).

60:14

Attempt missed. Rickie Lambert (Southampton) right footed shot from more than 35 yards is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Gastón Ramírez.

59:55 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Southampton. Rickie Lambert replaces Jack Cork.

59:15 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Southampton 0, Chelsea 1. Fernando Torres (Chelsea) header from very close range to the bottom right corner.

58:10

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Calum Chambers.

57:38

Foul by Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton).

57:38

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

57:10

Corner, Southampton. Conceded by César Azpilicueta.

54:56 Booking

Booking Oscar (Chelsea) is shown the yellow card.

54:51

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

52:55 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Chelsea. Willian replaces Andre Schürrle.

52:51 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Chelsea. Oscar replaces Juan Mata.

51:41 Booking

Booking Jack Cork (Southampton) is shown the yellow card.

51:37

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Dejan Lovren.

50:53

Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Gary Cahill.

50:14

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

48:29

Foul by Calum Chambers (Southampton).

48:29

Eden Hazard (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the left wing.

46:59

Attempt saved. Jay Rodriguez (Southampton) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is saved in the centre of the goal.

46:57

Attempt blocked. Jose Fonte (Southampton) left footed shot from very close range is blocked.

46:56

Attempt blocked. Dejan Lovren (Southampton) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Jay Rodriguez with a headed pass.

46:32

Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Gary Cahill.

45:42 Booking

Booking Gastón Ramírez (Southampton) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

45:33

Foul by Gastón Ramírez (Southampton).

45:33

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

45:00

Second Half begins Southampton 0, Chelsea 0.

45:00 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Southampton. Nathaniel Clyne replaces Luke Shaw because of an injury.

45:00 +4:02 Half time

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

44:48

Offside, Southampton. Jose Fonte tries a through ball, but Adam Lallana is caught offside.

43:56

Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Ashley Cole.

41:57

Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Gary Cahill.

41:19

Attempt blocked. Gastón Ramírez (Southampton) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Jay Rodriguez.

38:34

Attempt blocked. Andre Schürrle (Chelsea) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Eden Hazard.

35:45

Foul by Gastón Ramírez (Southampton).

35:45

Ashley Cole (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the left wing.

34:50

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Kelvin Davis.

34:47

Attempt saved. Ramires (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Ashley Cole.

33:25

Gastón Ramírez (Southampton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

33:25

Foul by Andre Schürrle (Chelsea).

32:59

Foul by Adam Lallana (Southampton).

32:59

John Obi Mikel (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

31:31

Attempt missed. Dejan Lovren (Southampton) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Gastón Ramírez with a cross following a set piece situation.

30:49

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

30:49

Foul by John Obi Mikel (Chelsea).

29:38

Attempt missed. Gastón Ramírez (Southampton) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Steven Davis.

28:12

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

27:35

Delay in match César Azpilicueta (Chelsea) because of an injury.

27:02

Foul by Steven Davis (Southampton).

27:02

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

26:51

Attempt blocked. Adam Lallana (Southampton) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

22:11

Foul by Gastón Ramírez (Southampton).

22:11

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

19:38

Attempt missed. Fernando Torres (Chelsea) right footed shot from the left side of the box is too high. Assisted by John Obi Mikel.

18:41

Gastón Ramírez (Southampton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

18:41

Foul by John Obi Mikel (Chelsea).

16:43

Attempt missed. Gastón Ramírez (Southampton) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Calum Chambers with a cross.

16:35

Attempt blocked. Adam Lallana (Southampton) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Gastón Ramírez.

15:21

Offside, Chelsea. César Azpilicueta tries a through ball, but Eden Hazard is caught offside.

15:05

Foul by Jay Rodriguez (Southampton).

15:05

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

12:48

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

12:48

Foul by César Azpilicueta (Chelsea).

12:43

Attempt saved. Ramires (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

11:38

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

11:08

Delay in match César Azpilicueta (Chelsea) because of an injury.

10:31

Foul by Jack Cork (Southampton).

10:31

Eden Hazard (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the left wing.

7:25

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

4:46

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

4:19

Attempt missed. Andre Schürrle (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Gary Cahill following a corner.

3:47

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Jose Fonte.

3:07

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

2:12

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Jose Fonte.

2:09

Attempt blocked. Fernando Torres (Chelsea) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Ramires.

0:59

Attempt blocked. Fernando Torres (Chelsea) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is blocked.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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