Southampton let a two-goal lead slip against Chelsea and now find themselves five points from safety, with the same number of games left to play.
The Saints made only one change, which was enforced. Jack Stephens was suspended due to the red card he picked up against Arsenal, meaning it was a Premier League debut for Polish defender Jan Bednarek.
The home side took the lead after 21 minutes. Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross was well gathered by Alex McCarthy, who rolled it out to Wesley Hoedt, who played it into Pierre Hojbjerg in the midfield. Hojbjerg’s through ball to the overlapping Ryan Bertrand was exquisite, Bertrand showed his pace and strength to evade Azpilicueta’s challenge. Bertrand’s pass into the box found Dusan Tadic, who showed great composure to confidently slot the ball into an empty net.
There is no doubt that Marcos Alonso should’ve seen red for Chelsea as he quite literally stamped Shane Long in the back of the leg, with no eyes on the ball, yet Mike Dean claimed not to see it and gave nothing, not even a free kick.
Into the second half, Southampton continued with the excellent pressing levels and intensity and they continued to create chances. Just 10 minutes into the second half and Saints had the chance to double their lead. Hojbjerg played a long ball over the top to Shane Long, who showed his pace to close in on Thibaut Courtois’s goal, despite being brought down by Andreas Christensen, he managed to get back up and get a shot off, which deflected off his own knee and nearly lobbed over Courtois.
On the hour mark, Southampton scored their second of the game, and it was the debutant Bednarek with a striker’s finish into the corner at the far post from James Ward-Prowse’s free kick.
Six minutes later, Mike Dean showed another moment of questionable refereeing as Cesc Fabregas clearly passed the ball back to Courtois, yet Dean gave nothing.
On the 70 minute mark, Chelsea pulled their first goal back and it was the substitute Olivier Giroud who got it with a near-post header past McCarthy, and it was Alonso who was the provider, who shouldn’t even have been on the pitch.
Five minutes later, Chelsea were level and it was the Belgian Eden Hazard with the goal and again, Alonso was involved as his pass found Willian on the left wing, who beat Cedric to get a low cross into the box. Hazard controlled the ball brilliantly and finished confidently into the roof of the net.
Two minutes later, Chelsea’s come back was complete and it was Giroud with the goal. Alonso won the free kick on the edge of the box. Willian stepped up and passed it to Hazard on the left wing, the Belgian’s cross was headed into the air by Christensen, Saints failed to clear their lines, and it was Giroud who seized on the ball and finished it.
Saints will have been disappointed by the defeat against Arsenal, but this one would’ve hurt a lot more. Other results in the Premier League mean that Saints are now closer to the drop and have to pick up some form of points against Leicester mid-week and hope other results go their way.