Southampton 1-2 Chelsea: Branislav Ivanovic scores late winner
By James Walker-Roberts
Last Updated: 27/02/16 7:21pm
Chelsea won back-to-back Premier League games for the first time this season after coming from behind to win 2-1 at Southampton.
Shane Long put Saints ahead late in the first half with a composed finish after goalkeeper Fraser Forster had broken a club record for the longest time without conceding.
But Saints' resistance was broken in the 75th minute when Cesc Fabregas' cross beat Forster.
Branislav Ivanovic then headed in a late winner from a corner as Chelsea extended their unbeaten league run under Guus Hiddink to 10 matches and moved up to 11th in the table.
Southampton, who not conceded a goal in over nine hours prior to kick-off, remain seventh but missed the chance to strengthen their push for a European spot.
Ronald Koeman handed January signing Charlie Austin his first start in place of Graziano Pelle while Chelsea stuck with the same team that thrashed Manchester City in the FA Cup.
The visitors were forced into an early change, though, as Pedro suffered an injury and had to be replaced by Oscar.
That was perhaps the most notable moment of the opening half-an-hour with chances few and far between.
Long headed over the bar from Virgil van Dijk's cross and Oscar shot at Forster at the other end.
Forster earned applause in the 34th minute as he broke the club record for the longest time without conceding a goal, which was previously held by Paul Jones with 666 minutes.
There was more cause for celebration after 42 minutes as the hosts took the lead.
Baba Rahman tried to cushion a header to a team-mate but Long anticipated it, nicked the ball and then raced clear before coolly chipping Thibaut Courtois.
Chelsea had not come from behind to win a game in the Premier League this season but they improved after the break.
Still, it looked it might not be their day after Jon Obi Mikel headed wide from six yards out and Diego Costa missed the target with a volley from Eden Hazard's cross.
Chelsea's frustration continued to mount as Costa was booked for clipping Van Dijk's heels and Saints defended resolutely.
However, the visitors eventually got the breakthrough after 75 minutes when Fabregas crossed from the left and Forster, thinking Hazard was going to make contact, didn't move as the ball drifted into the net.
The visitors pressed on for the winner and were rewarded late on as Ivanovic rose highest for a corner and headed past Forster, who got a strong hand to it but couldn't keep it out.
Soccer Saturday verdict - Paul Merson
It was a great finish from Long for the opener, and Southampton had to be in front because of the strong wind in their favour in the first half. In the second, Chelsea turned the screw and Forster should make the save from Fabregas. He goes for Hazard and doesn't go for the ball, anticipating the touch from the Chelsea attacker. You have to go with the ball.
There was only one winner after the goal, and that was Chelsea. It was a bullet header from Ivanovic, but rather than just save it, Forster tries to push it out. For how good a 'keeper he is, and he is top drawer, he should have saved both goals.
Chelsea reminded me of the team that won the league last year, they really ground out the result. There's not many players in the Premier League that can take a game by the scruff of the neck, but Fabregas is one of them. He got on the ball and Southampton couldn't get near him.
Southampton: Forster (4), Cedric (5), van Dijk (6), Fonte (6), Targett (6), Bertrand (5), Romeu (6), Clasie (6), Steven Davis (5), Austin (5), Long (7).
Subs: Mane (5), Ward-Prowse (5), Pelle (5).
Chelsea: Courtois (6), Azpilicueta (6), Cahill (6), Ivanovic (7), Baba (5), Mikel (6), Fabregas (7), Willian (7), Hazard (6), Pedro (4), Costa (5).
Subs: Oscar (5), Kenedy (6), Matic (5).
Man of the match: Branislav Ivanovic.