Premier League
Southampton0Chelsea3

Southampton 0-3 Chelsea

Fernando Torres scores the opening goal against Southampton

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.

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.

For a gallery of images from Saturday's Premier League games go to the BBC Sport Facebook page.

Line-ups

Southampton

  • 1Davis
  • 22Chambers
  • 23ShawSubstituted forClyneat 45'minutesBooked at 86mins
  • 4Schneiderlin
  • 6Fonte
  • 5LovrenBooked at 63mins
  • 20Lallana
  • 18CorkBooked at 52minsSubstituted forLambertat 60'minutes
  • 9Rodriguez
  • 8DavisSubstituted forWard-Prowseat 76'minutes
  • 10RamírezBooked at 46mins

Substitutes

  • 2Clyne
  • 3Yoshida
  • 7Lambert
  • 16Ward-Prowse
  • 25Gazzaniga
  • 26Hooiveld
  • 40Gallagher

Chelsea

  • 1Cech
  • 28Azpilicueta
  • 3Cole
  • 12Mikel
  • 24Cahill
  • 26Terry
  • 10MataSubstituted forOscarat 53'minutesBooked at 55mins
  • 7Ramires
  • 9Torres
  • 17HazardSubstituted forEssienat 85'minutes
  • 14SchürrleSubstituted forWillianat 53'minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Essien
  • 11Oscar
  • 19Ba
  • 22Willian
  • 23Schwarzer
  • 29Eto'o
  • 33Kalas
Referee:
Martin Atkinson
Attendance:
31,271

Match Stats

Home TeamSouthamptonAway TeamChelsea
Possession
Home54%
Away46%
Shots
Home12
Away11
Shots on Target
Home2
Away5
Corners
Home6
Away8
Fouls
Home13
Away10

Live Text

Match ends, Southampton 0, Chelsea 3.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Southampton 0, Chelsea 3.

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.

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

Foul by Ramires (Chelsea).

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

Foul by Ramires (Chelsea).

Foul by Rickie Lambert (Southampton).

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

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

Booking

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

Foul by Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton).

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

Substitution

Substitution, Chelsea. Michael Essien replaces Eden Hazard.

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

Foul by Oscar (Chelsea).

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.

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

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

Substitution

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

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

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Steven Davis.

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Nathaniel Clyne.

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

Foul by Oscar (Chelsea).

Goal!

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

Foul by Rickie Lambert (Southampton).

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

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

Corner, Southampton. Conceded by John Obi Mikel.

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.

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Gastón Ramírez.

Booking

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

Foul by Dejan Lovren (Southampton).

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

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

Foul by Oscar (Chelsea).

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

Substitution

Substitution, Southampton. Rickie Lambert replaces Jack Cork.

Goal!

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

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Arsenal20143339182145
2Man City20142457233444
3Chelsea20134338191943
4Liverpool20123546232339
5Everton20108232191338
6Tottenham2011452425-137
7Man Utd2010463324934
8Newcastle2010372925433
9Southampton207672623327
10Hull206592225-323
11Aston Villa206591925-623
12Stoke205781930-1122
13Swansea205692628-221
14West Brom204972327-421
15Norwich2055101733-1620
16Fulham2061132142-2119
17Cardiff2046101532-1718
18Crystal Palace2052131329-1617
19West Ham2036111930-1115
20Sunderland2035121533-1814
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