Free highlights and match report as strikes from Romeo Lavia and Adam Armstrong stun Chelsea in first-half turnaround after Raheem Sterling opened the scoring
Wednesday 31 August 2022 06:29, UK
Southampton completed a stunning first-half turnaround to inflict Chelsea's second defeat of the season with a deserved 2-1 victory.
Thomas Tuchel's side are now five points behind leaders Arsenal having taken only seven points from their first five matches despite their evening on the south coast starting perfectly when Raheem Sterling netted his third goal of the season from close range.
But brave Southampton fought back through talented teenager Romeo Lavia, who blasted home from the edge of the area to lift a subdued St Mary's.
Saints never looked back from there with Adam Armstrong firing home the winner in first-half added time to leave Ralph Hasenhuttl's side above the Blues.
Southampton: Bazuna (7), Walker-Peters (7), Bella-Kotchap (8), Salisu (7), Perraud (8), Lavia (8), Ward-Prowse (7), Diallo (7), Elyounoussi (7), A.Armstrong (8), Adams (7).
Subs: Lyanco (n/a), Aribo (6), Djenepo (6).
Chelsea: Mendy (6), Loftus-Cheek (6), Azpilicueta (5), Silva (5), Koulibaly (5), Cucurella (5), Jorginho (6), Mount (6), Ziyech (6), Havertz (6), Sterling (7).
Subs: Kepa, Kovacic (6), Pulisic (5), Broja (6), Chilwell (6).
Man of the match: Armel Bella-Kotchap (Southampton)
Chelsea have delivered a mixed bag of performances so far this season and it was evident in the first-half alone. For 20 minutes they were sharp, resilient and deservedly went ahead through Sterling as he swivelled to put home Mason Mount's pull-back.
Southampton needed a spark and impressive 18-year-old midfielder Lavia delivered it. James Ward-Prowse's corner was poorly cleared by Cesar Azpilicueta to the edge of the box where the Belgian took a touch before hammering a piledriver into the corner which flashed past Edouard Mendy.
Saints were on top from then on, capitalising on their pressure in added time when Romain Perraud smartly picked out Armstrong in the box, who controlled sharply before firing into the corner via a slight deflection off the left leg of Kalidou Koulibaly.
Chelsea were angered by Che Adams fouling Jorginho on the half-time whistle and flicking the ball into his face yet couldn't turn it into momentum after the break.
Instead, Southampton were twice denied by brilliant goalline clearances. The first saw Mohamed Elyounoussi's header hit the shoulder of Marc Cucurella before Thiago Silva flicked Mohammed Salisu's effort away. The only downer on the home side's evening was when Lavia hobbled off injured after 60 minutes.
Southampton got better and better while Chelsea toiled, unable to gather any momentum, clearly missing the raiding Reece James, and slipping to another worrying defeat.
Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel: "We are not tough enough to win these matches away. It was the same story like in Leeds, there we thought the problem was we didn't score in the first 25 minutes, and then they pushed us off-balance in two minutes with two goals and we could not find any answers.
"Today we scored so everything was okay but one set piece again, one sloppy defending again, we were off-balance and we did not react to it. We were lucky not to concede a third goal at the beginning of the second half. We were not tough enough as a team to react or push it over the line for us.
"Soft defending. What stops that is pure mentality, stop it with defending mentality. There is no superiority for the opponent, there is no need to give shots away, just toughen up as a team and show a different mentality.
"I don't like to talk about it normally because you cannot prove it with data or tactical position but it is like this. Both goals are cheap, soft goals and should not happen if you expect to win a match in the evening at an away stadium."
Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl: "On Saturday we spoke about how good we were and didn't get points, and today we played the same and the only difference was we scored twice.
"To turn things around like this against Chelsea doesn't happen very often but I'm even more proud of putting such a performance on the pitch after an intense game on Saturday.
"I think it was fantastic to watch and the atmosphere in the ground was sensational, it carried us over the last 15 minutes when we were sometimes under pressure.
"Overall, everything is very positive, the only disappointment is the injury to Romeo."
Chelsea's season is going in the other direction right now. They were seconds away from following up an opening weekend win over Everton with a deserved victory against Tottenham but Harry Kane's late goal has proved the prelude to a dramatic shift in mood.
After being well beaten at Leeds, Thomas Tuchel's side have lost their next away game too with the players facing accusations of being weak by their own manager. "Just toughen up as a team and show a different mentality," he said of the defeat at St Mary's.
Easier said than done, it seems. For much of Tuchel's time at Chelsea, his team looked solid but no more. No clean sheet in four tells only part of the tale. They look so open right now. The switch to a back four does not seem to suit them and the injuries are mounting.
That is a short-term issue and the impending arrival of Wesley Fofana should help too. But with the attack little better - only Raheem Sterling has found the net in the last three games - and a gap to their rivals already opening up, Tuchel is under some pressure now.
Twenty minutes to go in Southampton's first home game of the season and they were two goals down to Leeds United having also lost 4-1 at Tottenham on the opening weekend. Many felt that Ralph Hasenhuttl was a man on the brink at that point.
But not only did Saints salvage a point that day but they have gone on to take six points from nine in three games against last season's top eight. Their come-from-behind 2-1 win against Chelsea at St Mary's was the most impressive performance yet.
What will satisfy supporters most is that some of the new signings have settled so quickly and look like fantastic acquisitions already. Romeo Lavia went off injured on Tuesday but only after scoring a stunning equaliser to underline his fine start at the club.
If there is anyone who has outshone the 18-year-old Lavia, it is Armel Bella-Kotchap. He is a 20-year-old centre-back signed from Bochum and looks to have serious potential. The pair cost less than £20m in the summer and it is easy to see that value rising and rising.
Southampton's strategy is focused on developing younger talent but the fear was that they might be courting relegation in doing so. After that alarming start, any concerns are receding. Hasenhuttl has a team packed with talent. It is fun again at St Mary's.
|Goals||Lavia, A. Armstrong, Sterling|
|Bonus points||A. Armstrong (3pts), Perraud (2pts), Sterling (1pt)|
Southampton travel to Wolves as their fixtures become more favourable with Brentford, Aston Villa and Everton to follow.
Chelsea host West Ham in a Premier League London derby on Saturday at 3pm.