Chelsea Home Lost 0 – 3
It was at home to Chelsea last season that Mark Hughes introduced his three centre back defence and after trying it again in the midweek cup tie, Chelsea were the first to face something similar in the League this time round as well. As a result the side conceded possession very readily but Maurizio Sarri’s men were kept at bay by some disciplined and resolute blocking. True, Willian had a shot deflected onto the top of the bar and Hoedt may have been lucky to get away without conceding a penalty, but in between Saints managed to venture upfield and create the most presentable chance of the opening 29 minutes; Redmond and Bertrand combined for the latter to cross towards the onrushing Ings but Danny shinned the opportunity over the bar from close range. Opinions vary a lot, but I thought the tactics were spot on, it’s just that the players didn’t manage to make the most of what ball they got. Ings failed in that respect, as did the otherwise effective Højbjerg when he lost possession deep inside his own half – and that proved fatal as the ball was moved to forward to Hazard with the inevitable result. Even this setback could have been overcome just after the break had Bertrand’s volley at the end of Højbjerg’s long pass been lower. By now we were more orthodox at the back with Romeu on for Bednarek but you sort of knew another defeat was on its way with whatever formation we tried when the defence were fooled by a training ground free kick routine that had Giroud peeling away to cross into the danger area where Barklay provided the final touch. Arrizabalaga (no wonder they call him ‘Kepa’) did well to touch a distance shot from Redmond onto the bar and he also did well to handle a similar effort from Ings but it was to be a third successive blank Premier League outing that turned out to be a 0-3 defeat when Chelsea showboated around in added time – a multi passing move ended with Morata in on goal for a neat finish.
LSSC Man of the Match: Ryan Bertrand. We’ll forgive him for not doing better with one of the team’s rare opportunities.