Saints were beaten 4-2 by league leaders Chelsea despite domination from the visitors in the first half.
Claude Puel’s men made two changes to the side that lost to Manchester City, as former Chelsea man Oriol Romeu returned from suspension and the in-form winger Nathan Redmond was surprisingly replaced by Sofiane Boufal.
Like the last meeting in October, Eden Hazard opened the scoring early on for the Blues, as Diego Costa pulled the ball back to the Belgian, who slotted the ball home nicely into the far corner.
Saints bounced back from the early setback, as Manolo Gabbiadini picked the ball up at the back post from a corner then played the ball into Romeu, who tapped it in from close range.
Saints dominated for the rest of the half, but Chelsea found a way through just before the half time whistle, as Marcos Alonso’s header was headed home by captain Gary Cahill.
Chelsea came back after half time looking revitalised, and Cesc Fabregas crossed the ball into Diego Costa, who headed powerfully past Fraser Forster not long after the restart.
The Blues dominated for the rest of game, and after some great passing play from them, Diego Costa was at the end of it all and slotted the ball into the bottom left corner.
The game was essentially over at this point, but that didn’t deny another former Chelsea player Ryan Bertrand a great header after a cross from Cedric Soares in the last minute of the game.
Here are five things we learned from the game on Tuesday:
To be plain, Forster was awful against Chelsea. Who would want a keeper who is too scared to come off his line, cannot move his feet and has no confidence whatsoever? Needs to improve or needs to be replaced as soon as possible.
Saints looked completely different to the team that lost to Manchester City at St. Mary’s and that is because of one person – Oriol Romeu.
He was all over the ball, getting as many touches as possible and, like always, was the only person willing to stick a tackle in. I was happy for him to have scored against his former club and, apart from a few sloppy passes, I was really impressed with Romeu.
I was relatively surprised with Boufal against the Blues. In the first half, he didn’t just try to skill the whole defence by himself, but he found the right pass and was direct.
It was quite disappointing that he didn’t replicate it in the second half, but it’s good to see that we didn’t just buy him for the skills.
Beaten by the Blues
I hate saying this, but we were beaten by the better team.
If you look at the bigger picture, Chelsea are the league leaders, and they must have got there somehow. Their defence were incredible on Tuesday, and kept our attackers incredibly quiet for the majority of the game.
Despite us having more attempts in attack, Chelsea have world class forwards who can score at any given opportunity so in spite of all that, I’m really impressed with Saints’ performance.
I felt like Puel didn’t learn from his mistakes once again. We are in the last 15 minutes of the game, we need to score goals, so what does Puel do? Sub on two strikers who don’t know how to score. His tactics were good, but he needs to learn.