Chelsea vs Southampton may look like a routine win for the Blues, but it was anything but at a rain-soaked Stamford Bridge.
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Trevoh Chalobah put Chelsea ahead, but James Ward-Prowse equalized before he was sent off.
Late on Chelsea scored twice as Timo Werner was the hero, then Ben Chilwell added a late clincher to put some extra gloss on the scoreline.
[ MORE: Tuchel slams referees, VAR after win vs. Saints ]
With the win Chelsea have 16 points for the season and head into the international break in positive spirits. Southampton have just four points and haven’t won any of their opening seven games.
Chelsea vs Southampton final score, stats
Chelsea 3-1 Southampton
Goals scored: Chalobah 9′, Ward-Prowse 61′, Werner 84′, Chilwell 89′
Shots: Chelsea 20, Southampton 6
Shots on target: Chelsea 9, Southampton 2
Possession: Chelsea 62, Southampton 38
Three things we learned from Chelsea vs Southampton
1. VAR heavily involved: Mike Dean had a busy day as the VAR official, as the referee Martin Atkinson controversially disallowed a Chelsea goal for a foul in the first half and then sent off James Ward-Prowse after a lengthy review. Both decisions were probably correct. The first was tough as Werner scored nearly 30 seconds after the original foul on Walker-Peters, as Azpilicueta clearly fouled him in the build-up to the goal. Tuchel was furious with that, and Ralph Hasenhuttl was left angry too. His captain lunged in on Jorginho and as soon as VAR was used and multiple slo-mo replays were shown, it was only going one way. He caught Jorginho late, but it was probably a little harsh. VAR had a very busy day.
2. Chelsea’s extra options deliver: This is the quality they have. Jorginho came on and helped them wrestle back control of the game, fellow sub Ross Barkley set up the goal to make it 2-1 brilliantly and a rare start for Werner saw him cause havoc. Ruben Loftus-Cheek was superb too. With Chelsea missing Kante, James and Pulisic, the strength of their squad was clear to see. Mason Mount coming off the bench late on gave them a boost too, as their extra quality, and options, was the difference.
3. Saints’ attacking issues persist: Until Ward-Prowse was sent off, Saints had a chance of winning this. With 15 minutes to go they were well in it and looked the more likely to score next. That red card swung the game back in Chelsea’s favor, but Saints had a gameplan and switching to a 3-4-2-1 worked really well in the second half. That said, they still lack attacking threat and impetus and their wait for a Premier League win will now go in to mid-October. After a tough start on the schedule, they do have plenty of games coming up against teams in the bottom half. Four of their next five have now become must wins.
Man of the Match: Alex McCarthy – Made several superb saves to keep Southampton in it.
Southampton pressed high and put Chelsea under pressure early on, but the first big chance of the game went to Chelsea.
A move down the right found Timo Werner and his shot was saved well by Alex McCarthy.
Joy for Chalobah once again
Chelsea then went 1-0 up, as Trevoh Chalobah headed home at the back post.
A header was flicked on at the near post from a corner, as James Ward-Prowse lost the run of Chalobah and the young defender finished.
The goal was his second in the Premier League this season, as he made the most of a rare start.
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Southampton’s attack continues to struggle
Adam Armstrong and Ward-Prowse both went close with shots from outside the area, as Chelsea sat back.
The Blues did look dangerous on the counter as Ruben Loftus-Cheek smashed just off target and Ben Chilwell was denied superbly by Alex McCarthy.
Southampton should have been level before the break, as Kyle Walker-Peters fired in a cross and Theo Walcott was on the end of it. However, Walcott couldn’t get enough on his finish as the ball flew wide.
Werner denied by VAR
Timo Werner headed home as Chelsea thought they had doubled their lead.
However, referee Martin Atkinson used the pitch-side monitor via VAR and ruled out the goal as Cesar Azpilicueta fouled Walker-Peters before the cross came in.
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel wasn’t happy at all with that decision, due to the length of time between the foul and the goal being scored, as he was booked.
Chelsea product Livramento a star for Saints
After making a tactical switch to 3-4-2-1 at half time and bringing on Ibrahima Diallo for Theo Walcott, Southampton had plenty of the ball at the start of the second 45.
Then Tino Livramento, the boyhood Chelsea fan who joined the Saints this summer, won a penalty kick as he bamboozled Ben Chilwell.
Ward-Prowse slammed home the spot kick to make it 1-1, and it set up a wild finish.
JWP sent off; Chelsea surge late on
Mason Mount came on for the final stages and sparked Chelsea into life, as McCarthy saved superbly to deny Werner.
Ward-Prowse was then shown a straight red card for fouling Jorginho, as the Southampton skipper caught the Chelsea midfielder. VAR was used as referee Martin Atkinson upgraded the yellow card to a red.
Werner then won it for Chelsea late on, as Ross Barkley brilliantly picked out Azpilicueta and his cross was tapped home by the German striker to send Stamford Bridge wild.
Chelsea then hit the woodwork twice in quick succession, then Chilwell’s shot crept over the line to seal the win in style.