Blues march past the Saints
Written By: Robert Halter
Southampton’s eight game unbeaten run in the Premiership ended at league leaders Arsenal but the Saints faced another stiff test against London opposition for a Sunday showdown at Chelsea, beginning of December with the Blues looking to bounce back from a poor performance and defeat at Basel in the Champions League but with just two points separating Chelsea from Southampton in the table, both teams had started the season respectively in third and fifth position prior to kick off. Incredibly it took just thirteen seconds for the Saints to take the lead, when a woeful back pass from Michael Essien was gleefully received by Jay Rodriguez, who raced free to tuck the ball past Petr Cech. On nineteen minutes, the Blues forged their first opening after Eden Hazard’s square pass to Oscar, whose low strike was kept out by Artur Boruc at full stretch, before Banislav Ivanovic put an overhead kick wide, from the rebound. In the twenty fourth minute, a clumsy tackle by Ramires on Dejan Lovren presented a free kick for James Ward-Prowse but his strike bent away from the top left corner, as the Saints tried to steal a march. With five minutes of normal time remaining before the break, Fernando Torres cut in from the right by line but Oscar was unable to find a finish with a header, but it was the last piece of action for Oscar, who was replaced by Frank Lampard. In the forty third minute, the Blues were denied an equaliser, after a fine move between Hazard and Juan Mata, ended with a precise header from Torres, which was kept out by a flying one handed save by Boruc. At the start of the second half, Demba Ba took the place of Essien. A tug by Victor Wanyama on Torres resulted in Lampard’s free kick being tipped over the bar by Boruc but from Mata’s resulting corner, a header down by Ivanovic was turned against the left post by the outstretched leg of Ba, and as Boruc laid helpless inside the netting, while falling off balance, Cahill managed to nudge a header into the goal to draw the Blues level in the fifty fifth minute but it was a double blow for the Saints as their goalkeeper Boruc picked up a hand injury in the process and he was taken off for their replacement Paulo Gazzaniga. The Saints cracked again when Mata’s delightful ball in was steered past Gazzaniga, with a telling header by Blues captain, John Terry, as the ball looped into the top right corner in the sixty second minute. A long ball over the top by Cahill, gave Ba the chance to wrap up proceedings in the seventy second minute but with the goal gapping, he drove the ball wide of the far post. A final Blues change saw John Obi Mikel take the place of Torres. In the ninetieth minute, Chelsea put the icing on the cake, when Ramires came in from the left and made way for Ba to beat Lovren to the chase and slide the ball home, which capped a 3-1 win for the Blues which put them four points adrift of Arsenal in second place.