Southampton came from behind to earn their second win of the fledgling Premier League season and rise above a Chelsea side lacking cohesion and a edge at St Mary’s.
Raheem Sterling is the Blues’ top scorer and got Thomas Tuchel’s side off to a promising start with his third goal in two games with a smooth 23rd-minute sweep and finish.
But another ex-Manchester City player equalized moments later when Romeo Lavia fired a superb shot over Edouard Mendy after Chelsea failed to clear a corner properly.
From there, Southampton were the better side, scoring the winner before the break when Romain Perraud selected Adam Armstrong and his shot was deflected into the net by Kalidou Koulibaly.
Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side climb up to seventh place with a deserved win, level with Chelsea on seven points but ahead of them in goals scored.
The Saints’ summer signings are proving to be a hit
Southampton are so often a breeding ground for young players seeking a breakthrough in the top flight and seem to have recruited another gem in Lavia, who spent two years at City after leaving Anderlecht before joining the Saints this summer changed.
Another clever acquisition, midfielder and 20-year-old German defender Armel Bella-Kotchap laid the groundwork for an impressive performance at Southampton that gave them their first win against Chelsea in three years and their first win at St Mary’s since March 2013 .
Chelsea had been the better side early on, capitalizing through Sterling, but Cesar Azpilicueta put the ball behind through a slight mix-up to a corner that was only cleared until Lavia – the 18-year-old Belgian took a touch off the rifle Smash past Mendy from the edge of the area.
The hosts were outplayed for possession in the first half but looked much more efficient with the ball after Lavia’s equalizer and a quick move saw Armstrong put them ahead in stoppage time after Perraud’s cutback.
Hasenhüttl will be concerned that Lavia – the first player born in 2004 to score a goal in the Premier League – had to be substituted shortly before the hour after being promoted, because the youngster is already proving to be an integral part of his team.
“It won’t be the last to come and show up,” Hasenhuttl said of Southampton’s recruitment of young, promising players.
He added: “I’ve said it from day one that we feel like we have a young team, but there’s a lot of empty disk space and they can learn.
“They enjoy working hard, they enjoy running a lot and when the moment comes they enjoy scoring goals.”
Bella-Kotchap, who made a great comeback against Sterling early in the game, and Mohammed Salisu were impressive at the heart of Southampton’s defense and did little to encourage Chelsea to find a way back.
At the other end, Marc Cucurella prevented Southampton from extending their lead with an instinctive block from Mohamed Elyounoussi’s header and Thiago Silva then cleared a Salisu shot down the line as the hosts continued their encouraging start to the season.
Dull blues ‘out of whack’
Tuchel spoke of having a depleted squad ahead of this game but also admitted he will be happy to have “no more distractions” once the window closes on Thursday.
A combination of suspensions, injuries and players either leaving or still arriving means the Germany boss has fallen short in certain areas and he started with Hakim Ziyech, someone heavily linked with a move from Stamford Bridge was brought.
The visitors started brilliantly and when Sterling showed composure to put them ahead it looked like Chelsea were rolling to a second straight win.
But Tuchel says his side only played “20-25 minutes” and when the door was open for Southampton the visitors struggled to create clear chances.
They lacked fluidity and urgency in attack and got Armando Broja – a player on loan to Southampton last season – to try and bring an emphasis up.
The 20-year-old forward had a header from Saints goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu and Kai Havertz also nodded when he was placed well, but Tuchel said his side were too easily “unbalanced” by their opponents.
With the expected signing of Leicester defender Wesley Fofana pushing the Blues’ summer spending to over £200m before the deadline, the German boss will be under pressure to get things up and running sooner rather than later.
- 37Bella Kotchap
- 22salisuBooked at 53 minutes
- fifteenPerraudReplaced byday after dayat 73′protocol
- 45StreetReplaced byThey areat 60′protocol
- 8thWard ProwseBooked at 64 minutes
- 9An ArmstrongReplaced bylyancoat 86′protocol
- 7They are
- 17S Armstrong
- 19day after day
- 28AzpilicuetaReplaced byCountingat 66′protocol
- 6Thiago Silva
- 12Loftus CheekReplaced byKovacicat 45′protocol
- 5jorginhoReplaced bychilwellat 67′protocol
- 29HavertzReplaced byPulisianat 66′protocol80 minutes booked
Game ends, Southampton 2, Chelsea 1.
Second half ends, Southampton 2, Chelsea 1.
Marc Cucurella (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by James Ward Prowse (Southampton).
attempt blocked. Mason Mount (Chelsea) right footed shot from the center of the box is blocked.
attempt blocked. Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Corner of Chelsea. Goal conceded by Kyle Walker-Peters.
Foul by Ben Chilwell (Chelsea).
Che Adams (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Moussa Djenepo (Southampton).
Foul by Christian Pulisic (Chelsea).
Moussa Djenepo (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Hakim Ziyech (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Lyanco (Southampton).
Substitution, Southampton. Lynco replaces Adam Armstrong.
Corner of Chelsea. Goal by Gavin Bazunu.
attempt saved. Armando Broja (Chelsea) header from the center of the box is saved in the top center of the goal. Assisted by Raheem Sterling with a cross.
Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Christian Pulisic (Chelsea).
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