Saints 1-1 Chelsea
Clyne had limped out of the Crystal Palace game almost un-noticed but he was unavailable to face table topping Chelsea two days later – a totally unnecessary piece of fixture congestion by the Premier League. Also out was Bertrand because of the terms of his loan agreement, so Ronnie reverted to a flat back four that included Yoshida at right back and Targett on the left.
Our opponents turned out to be as impressive on the pitch as their squad looked on paper, but Saints eventually pulled themselves into the game and even had the effrontery to take a 17th minute lead when the returning Tadić put Mané clear for a finish that was very different to his effort at Selhurst Park, but equally effective. Unfortunately the timing was not so clever, as it left Saints with a long time to hold out, and they didn’t even make it to the break, thanks to an added time equaliser: Fabregas was the architect with a searching ball through to Hazard, and although most of the crowd could see that he intended to cut inside and shoot, there was nothing Yoshida or even Alderweireld could do about it.
Saints ended up with a 39% of the overall possession, but that was mostly in the first half, as the second resembled the last stand at The Alamo, albeit with a more positive outcome. Yoshida was booked and replaced by Gardos shortly afterwards “just in case”, but the back line was in a determined mood whatever the personnel. That included Targett, but his heart must have been in his mouth when he slipped and saw Fabregas tumble over an outstretched leg. Fortunately the officials seemed to conclude that both players were falling, a view that Fabregas disagreed with in a theatrical tantrum, while Sr. Mourinho inevitably had quite a bit to say about it as well.
Having been denied this opportunity to get in a shot at Forster, Chelsea continued to be frustrated in that endeavour by some magnificent blocking by Southampton, despite a rash of late free kicks and the loss of Schneiderlin who took a second booking as one for the team. So no third consecutive win, but a point gained nevertheless.
LSSC Man of the Match: Jose Fonte, with just a hint of an error by Alderweireld for the first goal.