Jan Bednarek

Chelsea breeze past Southampton

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SOUTHAMPTON — Chelsea beat Southampton 4-1 at St Mary’s on Sunday, as Frank Lampard‘s side moved up the fifth in the Premier League table.

[ MORE: How did Pulisic perform? ]

Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and N’Golo Kante all scored in the first half to set the Blues on their way and even though Danny Ings pulled a goal back, Michy Batshuayi‘s late goal did the damage.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

With the win Chelsea now have 14 points, while Saints remain on seven points.


3 things we learned

1. Jorginho, Kante run the show: The attacking duo of Mount and Abraham will get plenty of the plaudits, but Kante and Jorginho were sublime in midfield. Kante scored, via a deflection, and Jorginho was at the heart of everything good Chelsea did going forward, as well as clearing an effort off the line and doing the dirty work. The two defensive midfielders set the tone for this Chelsea win and their intelligence on the ball and in terms of positioning gave them a platform to win this game.

2. Chelsea’s defensive fragilities on show: Even though it was a fairly routine win in the end, Frank Lampard’s Chelsea have only kept one clean sheet in their opening eight games of the season. Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori looked a a little shaky in possession, as a better team would have scored three of four times. Addressing the top-heavy nature of this Chelsea side is a must if they’re going to finish in the top four.

3. Saints’ tough season gets tougher: Once again Southampton were their own worst enemies as three big defensive errors led to goals in the first half. James Ward-Prowse, Jan Bednarek and Jan Valery were all at fault, as only two PL teams have conceded more goals than Saints so far this season. With games against Wolves, Man City, Everton, Leicester and Arsenal coming up, Saints will likely be in the bottom three when December rolls around.

Man of the Match: Callum Hudson-Odoi – The winger played a perfect ball over the top for the opening goal and was lively throughout. The 18-year-old oozed quality on the ball and made superb runs inside all game long.


Saints started brightly as Nathan Redmond fired over and their high-pressing caused Chelsea’s defense some issues.

At the other end Abraham fired a shot on target which Angus Gunn saved and some hefty challenges started to fly in as Shane Long put himself about.

Chelsea then took the lead with their first big chance of the game as after a poor giveaway in midfield, Callum Hudson-Odoi dinked the ball over the top and Abraham lobbed home a wonderful finish.

The Blues doubled their lead after another Saints mistake, as Jan Bednarek’s header was short and Jorginho picked out Mount to fire home.

Mount then missed the target twice and just when it looked like Chelsea would run away with it, Saints pulled one back. Yan Valery went on a mazy run past four Chelsea players and into the box, and his cut-back found Ings as the ball went in off him and Kurt Zouma to make it 2-1.

Before half time Chelsea restored their half time lead as Marcos Alonso was allowed plenty of time and space on the left and his pass found Kante, who’s shot deflected off Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and in.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Gunn denied Hudson-Odoi at the start of the second half as the Blues dominate possession and Saints barely threatened.

Alonso’s cross was almost knocked into his own net by Maya Yoshida as Chelsea click through the gears in the final stages.

Ings headed wide as Southampton tried to push for a way back into the game, but Chelsea sealed the win in style.

USMNT star Christian Pulisic jumped off the bench and cracked Saints’ defense open with a lovely pass as fellow sub Batshuayi slammed home to make it 4-1.

AT HALF: Chelsea, Arsenal lead; Wolves holding Man City

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We’ve got goals in two of three 9 a.m. ET kickoffs in the Premier League, as David Luiz and Mason Mount goals have Arsenal and Chelsea leading at the break.

[ STREAM: Man City-Wolves ]

[ STREAM: Arsenal-Bournemouth ]

[ STREAM: Southampton-Chelsea ]

Man City still waits for a breakthrough, and honestly Wolves have looked closer to scoring at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.


Man City 0-0 Wolves

The best chances have been produced by City… for Wolves. A bad Riyad Mahrez giveaway forced a double stop from Fernandinho at the back. Man City settled into possession over the half’s final 30 minutes or so, but no goals yet at the Etihad.

Arsenal 1-0 Bournemouth

David Luiz turned a near-post corner kick from Nicolas Pepe back across goal and inside the far post to give the Gunners their lead.

Southampton 1-3 Chelsea

Tammy Abraham collected a Callum Hudson-Odoi long ball and chipped Angus Gunn after working Maya Yoshida 1v1. Pretty stuff, and Jan Bednarek of Saints helped the Blues to another with a flubbed clearance to help Willian feed Mason Mount for 2-0.

Danny Ings has pulled a goal back for the hosts, but N’Golo Kante restored the 2-goal advantage before the break.

Jan Bednarek: the latest gem unearthed by Southampton?

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SOUTHAMPTON — The fans at Southampton call him the Polish Maldini. That tells you everything you need to know about how highly regarded Jan Bednarek is at Saints.

At 22 years of age, Bednarek is one of the first names on Southampton’s teamsheet and he’s enjoyed a meteoric rise over the past 12 months. He has now kicked his game on to new levels under new Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl.

He throws his head in where it hurts, pulls off stunning last-ditch blocks and tackles, and his no-nonsense defending has seen him become a growing cult figure at Southampton. It has all happened rather quickly, too.

Last April he made his first start in the Premier League after arriving from Lech Poznan the previous summer for $7 million. He scored on his PL debut, a 3-2 defeat to Chelsea, and since then he’s played a pivotal role in Saints’ dramatic survival from relegation last season, scored a winning goal for Poland at the 2018 World Cup and is now one of the top emerging defenders in the Premier League.

Not too shabby. But sat in his training kit as the sun beats down on Southampton’s Staplewood training base, Bednarek is focused on one thing: beating Premier League title chasers Liverpool on Friday (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) at St Mary’s.

“The thing is, we need three points,” Bednarek says, matter of factly. “Of course, they fight for the title but the main thing is winning three points. We are going to fight for that. The main thing is to be brave. To do our best and we will find out after the game what we will happen… What I learned in England is that there are no easy games. We know their threat and all the great players they have, live Virgil Van Dijk who was here, and many others. Every single game is difficult. You have to do your best and focus on what you have been doing your whole life.”

One of the first things Hasenhuttl did when he took charge of Saints back in December was to bring in Bednarek from the cold. He had been bizarrely frozen out by Mark Hughes at the start of this season, but since Hasenhuttl arrived and Bednarek returned to the team, Saints have beaten Tottenham and Arsenal at home among seven wins which has seen them pull away from the relegation zone.

With Hasenhuttl’s side winning 24 points from his first 16 games in charge, Saints are on a huge upward curve.

Their high-pressing style is similar to that of Jurgen Klopp‘s Liverpool (Klopp and Hasenhuttl did their coaching badges together in Germany) and they have regained their identity as the PL’s plucky upstarts. The atmosphere is now a positive one at St Mary’s, a place where they hadn’t won until early December this season.

“We are playing better as a team, and it is obvious that if we are playing better the atmosphere is going to be better,” Bednarek said. “The fans can see that we are getting better and better. They can see that if they push us forward we are going to do better. It is good. We need to keep going as a team and it will be even better.”

Bednarek also lifted the lid on what it is like behind-the-scenes at Saints’ training ground with Hasenhuttl implementing plenty of discipline and promoting young players from their famed academy to mix things up.

The Austrian coach has talked about how he keeps an eye on the amount of time players spend playing video games, while he also hands out a different sort of fine. It doesn’t come down to finances, but asking players to instead work in the club shop or put on training sessions for youth teams if they are late, don’t leave their locker tidy or anything of that nature.

“At the moment everyone is aware of it and everyone is afraid of the fines,” Bednarek laughed. “There hasn’t been a situation where someone has to spin the wheel. I think that is good that everyone is disciplined and everyone have the respect and needs respect the rules at the training ground.”

(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Bednarek’s focus has been key to his rise at Saints, with the defender hiring a mental coach from the Poland national team to help him with the mental side of being an athlete. During his long spell on the sidelines at the start of this season, he admitted it was tough but the mental coaching helped him stay fit and focused for when his opportunity arrived.

At a club famed for bringing through young talent, Bednarek said getting the chance to play as a youngster was his main motivation to join the South Coast club. Saints currently have one of the youngest teams in the PL, and Bednarek believes they can field a team entirely under the age of 23 in the future, if the right situation arises.

The towering Polish defender also revealed he likes to get away from it all by going on walks with his dog, Candy, and his girlfriend Julia in the Hampshire countryside. But most of the time he likes to relax on days off from the gruelling training sessions put on by Hasenhuttl and his staff.

Growing up in Poland, Bednarek played in goal and as a striker with his older brother Filip, who plays as a goalkeeper in Holland, but said there wasn’t a defender he liked and wanted to imitate.

However, he admitted he now looks at Liverpool’s star center back Virgil van Dijk — the Reds bought VVD for a world-record fee for a defender from Southampton last January for $100 million — as the best player in his position in the world and someone he wants to emulate. Bednarek played with VVD for six months last season, and he has clearly left an impression on him.

“There were many players I liked, like Zidane, Ronaldo, but there was not a center back that I followed,” Bednarek said. “At the moment, when I started to play in this position I watched [Giorgio] Chiellini, I watched [Sergio] Ramos, now it is [Virgil] van Dijk. When you watch them you can improve. There are so many great players you can watch and keep improving.”

Many great players have learned and improved at Southampton in the past, and Bednarek is in line to be the next gem they’ve polished to perfection.

Premier League player Power Rankings

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Matchweek 30 was a wild one in the Premier League, as plenty of stars shone brightly.

[ MORE: Full Power Rankings archive ]

After big wins for Southampton, Newcastle, Bournemouth and Cardiff, there is plenty of variety in our latest rankings.

Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League. If they didn’t play in the last matchweek, they aren’t getting in this list!

Let us know in the comments section below if you agree with the selections.


  1. Raheem Sterling (Man City) – Up 9
  2. Sadio Mane (Liverpool) – Up 17
  3. Raul Jimenez (Wolves) – Down 1
  4. Sokratis (Arsenal) – Even
  5. James Ward-Prowse (Southampton) – Up 8
  6. Eden Hazard (Chelsea) – Up 10
  7. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) – New entry
  8. Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool) – Down 7
  9. Bernd Leno (Arsenal) – New entry
  10. Salomon Rondon (Newcastle) – New entry
  11. Callum Wilson (Bournemouth) –  New entry
  12. Youri Tielemans (Leicester) – New entry
  13. Luke Shaw (Man United) – Down 4
  14. Jamie Vardy (Leicester) – New entry
  15. Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal) – New entry
  16. Harry Kane (Tottenham) – Down 9
  17. Ryan Fraser (Bournemouth) – New entry
  18. David Silva (Man City) – New entry
  19. Jan Bednarek (Southampton) – New entry
  20. Neil Etheridge (Cardiff City) – New entry

Premier League player Power Rankings

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The latest Premier League player Power Rankings are here, and things are getting very interesting in the upper echelons.

[ MORE: Full Power Rankings archive ]

With big wins for Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Wolves and Tottenham see plenty of their players feature.

Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League. If they didn’t play in the last matchweek, they aren’t getting in this list!

Let us know in the comments section below if you agree with the selections.


  1. Marcus Rashford (Man United) – Up 10
  2. Heung-Min Son (Tottenham) – Up 9
  3. Sergio Aguero (Man City) – New entry
  4. Gonzalo Higuain (Chelsea) – New entry
  5. Raul Jimenez (Wolves) – Up 1
  6. Ben Foster (Watford) – New entry
  7. Paul Pogba (Man United) – Down 3
  8. Fernandinho (Man City) – New entry
  9. Eden Hazard (Chelsea) – New entry
  10. Nathan Redmond (Southampton) – New entry
  11. David De Gea (Man United) – New entry
  12. Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace) – New entry
  13. Harry Maguire (Leicester) – Down 6
  14. Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham) – New entry
  15. Sadio Mane (Liverpool) – Up 1
  16. Declan Rice (West Ham) – New entry
  17. Bobby Reid (Cardiff City) – New entry
  18. Diogo Jota (Wolves) – Down 5
  19. Jan Bednarek (Southampton) – Down 5
  20. James Tarkowski (Burnley) – Down 5