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Friday 12 October 2018

Southampton 0 - 3 Chelsea

Ross Barkley shone, as Chelsea won 3-0 away at Southampton to continue their unbeaten start to the season and cap off a fine week, for the 24-year-old.

The Englishman, who was recalled to the national squad in midweek, set up Eden Hazard for the opener, before scoring his first Blues goal, in the second-half, when he tapped in an Olivier Giroud cross.

Chelsea manager, Mauricio Sarri, believes Barkley will play a “key role for club and country” over the next few years and that “his best is yet to come.”

Alvaro Morata, came off the bench to complete the scoring in the 93rd minute, following a sequence of 31 passes. He finished the move with a deft touch over Saints keeper, Alex McCarthy.

The defeat sees Southampton stay in 16th position, having lost three league games on the bounce without scoring a single goal, but the hosts had their chances.

Both Danny Ings and captain, Ryan Bertrand, missed from close range, while Nathan Redmond saw his fierce effort tipped onto the bar by visiting keeper, Kepa Arrizabalaga.

“If Danny (Ings) scores that chance then it’s a different game”, said Southampton manager, Mark Hughes. “We were fearful of the quality Chelsea possessed and couldn’t affect them in anyway.”

The visitors started strongly and could have been ahead after just seven minutes, when Brazilian winger, Willian saw his shot deflected onto the bar from just a few yards out.

Southampton’s best chance of the game came when Danny Ings missed from the six-yard box, after a brilliant cross from Ryan Bertrand.

Four minutes after that miss, Hazard gave Chelsea the lead, with Barkley tackling Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, on the edge of the box and quickly passing into  the Belgian, for an easy finish.

After the break, Saints captain Ryan Bertrand, who won the Champions League with Chelsea in 2012, put a volley over the bar from just yards again.

Barkley tapped in Chelsea’s second, 12 minutes into the second-half, after Willian’s free-kick was met by an overhead kick by Giroud that became the perfect assist.

Hughes felt Chelsea defender, David Luiz, had intentionally blocked Hojbjerg in the lead up to the goal. “We do our homework, maybe referees need to as well. It’s a free kick. They block the end man and they’ve done it before, with success, away at Newcastle.”

With 11 minutes left, Nathan Redmond’s thunderous 25-yard strike was tipped onto the bar by the fingertips of visiting keeper, Kepa.

Morata scored his third of the season, when man of the match, Hazard played the Spaniard through to delicately chip over the onrushing McCarthy.

The win means Chelsea are now unbeaten in 11, winning nine of those games. Yet Sarri, who becomes the sixth manager to remain unbeaten, after their first eight Premier League games, played down Chelsea’s title chances. “We are still behind Liverpool and Manchester City and we have to close the gap.“ said the Argentinian.

Southampton have only picked up seven points versus the ‘Big Six’ in 26 Premier League games, without winning one of those games.

Teams

SOUTHAMPTON: McCarthy, Cedric, Bednarek, Yoshida, Hoedt, Bertrand, Lemina, Hojbjerg, Redmond, Gabbiadiani, Ings. (3-4-3)

Subs: Long (78), Romeu (46)

CHELSEA: Arrizabalaga, Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso, Jorginho, Kante, Barkley, Willian, Hazard, Giroud. (4-1-2-3)

Subs Morata (68), Pedro (75), Kovacic (81)