Southampton 0-2 Chelsea: Hazard, Costa pull Blues one off the top

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  • Eden Hazard opened the scoring
  • Diego Costa hit for the eighth time this season
  • Chelsea kept its fourth straight clean sheet

Southampton came into Sunday’s matchup at St. Mary’s in good form, but even Claude Puel was powerless to stop the Chelsea machine that is whirring at full tilt.

A first-half poke from Eden Hazard put the Blues up, and an absolute wonder strike from Diego Costa before the hour mark sent Chelsea on its way, just a point off Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table with a 2-0 win over the Saints who saw a six-match unbeaten streak halted.

Chelsea started things off with a bang as Eden Hazard got the ball on a one-two with Victor Moses, and his touch to the left beat Steven Davis. That opened things up for a shot from a tight angle, and it beat Fraser Forster from point blank.

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The Blues, despite the early goal, were slightly on the back foot in the opening 20 minutes. Southampton looked to pump balls into the box for Charlie Austin, but his heading was off target.

The game became a physical midfield battle, but the Blues had one more opportunity before the break to double their lead. Jordy Clasie was dispossessed by Nemanja Matic in the Southampton half, and he fed Diego Costa on the break, but the Spanish international’s shot was blocked off by a charging Fraser Forster.

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Immediately following the break, Chelsea had another massive chance as a cross from Marco Alonso on the break sliced across the penalty area headed for the path of Hazard, but Jose Fonte charge back to cut the cross out at the last possible moment.

The Blues continued to be incisive up front, and Costa’s moment of magic sealed the scoreline. A touch to his right outside the box gave him the space, and a clean strike on the ball sent it curling past a helpless Forster and in for Chelsea’s second.

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Cesar Azpilicueta proved dangerous down the right with gobs of defensive work and plenty of incisive passes in the Southampton half. The Blues should have had a third, but a mad scramble in front of Forster’s net on 63 minutes somehow dissolved without a goal as Moses, Costa, and Pedro all fail to smash the chance home.

Southampton had a chance to pull one back with 15 minutes left but a looping header by Davis just caught the top of the crossbar. Charlie Austin put one in the back of the net with five minutes to go, but was correctly flagged for being offside. Ultimately, the hosts failed to score as Chelsea kept its fourth straight clean sheet in league play, a streak of 410 minutes dating back to Mesut Ozil’s final strike in the 3-0 loss to Arsenal in late September.

The win for Chelsea moves them to just a point off the top of the table, below Manchester City, Arsenal, and Liverpool who all sit on 23 points. Southampton, meanwhile, has its six-match unbeaten streak snapped as they sit on 13 points in ninth.