Saints 2-1 Chelsea
To face Chelsea, Saints were without Lallana (injured) and Ramirez, benched, presumably to leave the likes of Davis to counter the visitors’ own creative players. However, faced with two upcoming cup semi finals, Mata was absent ill (but recovered for the next game, two days later) and Hazard sat out most of the affair in preparation for other matches.
Such is the modern game, most at Stamford Bridge would regard the quest for a top four finish to be more important than cup ties, but the manager’s heart isn’t really in it, and those were his decisions.
In the circumstances, we can’t be too surprised at a fairly sterile opening, until Saints took the lead through a rather good goal finished by Rodriguez after a nice pass by Davis.
Torres had the ball in the net just after, but was penalised for an offence that video evidence could have confirmed, but MotD failed to include it (so must have been obvious?) while our scoreboard is used more for adverts than replays these days.
Chelsea’s eventual equaliser was tame from Southampton’s point of view: Terry unchallenged at a corner after a little push left Hooiveld on the ground. No matter as Ivanovic’s shove on Lambert soon gave the striker an opportunity from a free kick. Rickie’s radar from most of these has been just off this season, but a fortunate deflection in the last game has turned things round, and now a terrific shot restored the lead with Cech well beaten.
Boruc failed to appear for the second half and Saints were indebted to Kelvin Davis who just got back to make a desperate save from Moses – but otherwise Saints did a pretty good job of protecting the ‘keeper despite conceding a lot of possession.
On came Hazard, and Ramires and Benayoun too, but it wasn’t enough to dent Saints’ new found confidence… trouble is we’ve run out of home games against top six teams.
LSSC Man of the Match: Jack Cork, who outshone Lampard in midfield. Rafa’s right: time to move on, Frank.