Premier League
Chelsea3Southampton1

Chelsea 3-1 Southampton

John Terry

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.

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.

Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino

Media playback is not supported on this device

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."

Line-ups

Chelsea

  • 1Cech
  • 2Ivanovic
  • 28Azpilicueta
  • 7Ramires
  • 24Cahill
  • 26Terry
  • 10Mata
  • 5EssienBooked at 33minsSubstituted forBaat 45'minutes
  • 9TorresSubstituted forMikelat 84'minutes
  • 11OscarSubstituted forLampardat 42'minutes
  • 17Hazard

Substitutes

  • 3Cole
  • 8Lampard
  • 12Mikel
  • 14Schürrle
  • 19Ba
  • 22Willian
  • 23Schwarzer

Southampton

  • 31BorucSubstituted forGazzanigaat 58'minutes
  • 2Clyne
  • 23Shaw
  • 4SchneiderlinBooked at 65minsSubstituted forLambertat 67'minutes
  • 6Fonte
  • 5Lovren
  • 16Ward-ProwseSubstituted forDavisat 63'minutes
  • 12Wanyama
  • 17OsvaldoBooked at 85mins
  • 20LallanaBooked at 53mins
  • 9RodriguezBooked at 72mins

Substitutes

  • 3Yoshida
  • 7Lambert
  • 8Davis
  • 18Cork
  • 22Chambers
  • 25Gazzaniga
  • 26Hooiveld
Referee:
Michael Oliver
Attendance:
41,568

Match Stats

Home TeamChelseaAway TeamSouthampton
Possession
Home51%
Away49%
Shots
Home16
Away9
Shots on Target
Home7
Away1
Corners
Home8
Away4
Fouls
Home15
Away14

Live Text

Match ends, Chelsea 3, Southampton 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Chelsea 3, Southampton 1.

Foul by Ramires (Chelsea).

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

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Jose Fonte.

Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Branislav Ivanovic.

Foul by Demba Ba (Chelsea).

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

Foul by Demba Ba (Chelsea).

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

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.

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

Foul by Demba Ba (Chelsea).

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

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

Booking

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

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

Foul by Pablo Osvaldo (Southampton).

Substitution

Substitution, Chelsea. John Obi Mikel replaces Fernando Torres.

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

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Pablo Osvaldo.

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Jose Fonte.

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

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

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

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

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

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

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

Corner, Southampton. Conceded by César Azpilicueta.

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.

Booking

Jay Rodriguez (Southampton) is shown the yellow card.

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

Foul by Steven Davis (Southampton).

Substitution

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

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

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

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

Booking

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

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

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Arsenal1310121731
2Chelsea138321327
3Man City138142525
4Liverpool13733924
5Everton13661824
6Newcastle13724123
7Southampton13643622
8Man Utd13643522
9Tottenham13634-321
10Hull13526-417
11Aston Villa13445-116
12West Brom13364-115
13Swansea13436-215
14Norwich13427-1214
15West Ham13346-213
16Stoke13346-613
17Cardiff13346-913
18Fulham13319-1310
19Sunderland13229-168
20Crystal Palace132110-157
View full Premier League table

Top Stories