Southampton produced a brilliant Boxing Day performance in west London as they beat Chelsea 2-0 in a thoroughly deserved win at Stamford Bridge.
A goal in each half from Michael Obafemi and Nathan Redmond saw the Saints condemn Chelsea to yet another home defeat, with Ralph Hasenhüttl orchestrating a perfect example of solid defending and counter attacking football.
The home side looked frustrated throughout the course of the day, with players failing to fire and their opponents getting the better of them from start to finish.
Chelsea made three changes to the team that beat Tottenham, with Marcos Alonso, Mateo Kovacic and Mason Mount all out in place of Jorginho, Emerson and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Meanwhile, Southampton dropped Danny Ings, despite six goals in his last seven games. Che Adams came in for the lively striker, while Michael Obafemi replaced Shane Long.
The opening exchanges in west London were scrappy at best. Southampton looked organised and stifled Chelsea’s attack, with Hudson-Odoi and Abraham failing to get into the game. The home side were seeing plenty of the ball, but failing to do anything of any real note with it.
The away side’s back four defended very narrow, with wide men Armstrong and Nathan Redmond dropping back to effectively make a back six when they were without the ball. The intention obviously being to frustrate, rather than create.
In a really poor opening half hour neither created anything. It took a moment of quality to break the deadlock and it was the away side that produced it.
After sitting back for so long, James Ward-Prowse fired a sharp pass into the feet of Michael Obafemi. He span Fikayo Tomori, cut inside Kurt Zouma and then curled an effort into the top-left corner with Kepa no chance in the Chelsea net.
At the end of the 45 Chelsea had looked sluggish, while Southampton had carried out their game plan brilliantly.
19y 173d - Aged 19 years and 173 days, Michael Obafemi is the youngest player to score a Premier League goal away at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea since James Vaughan for Everton in May 2007 (18y 303d). Silenced. #CHESOU pic.twitter.com/VDURXua67o— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 26, 2019
At the interval Lampard reacted and brought on Mason Mount for Zouma, reverting to a back four.
It nearly paid off immediately as Mount danced through midfield and slipped in Abraham but the forward could only find the side netting. Hudson-Odoi then curled an effort just over the bart shorty afterwards.
Lampard’s side looked much better, more direct and more creative. They were still susceptible on the break, however, and as the game entered its final half hour it began to really open up.
Armstrong put in Redmond and the winger had time to take a touch and pick his spot, but failed to connect properly and side-footed it straight into Kepa.
It was just minutes before he corrected his error, finished off an exquisite team move and dinked the ball over Kepa to give his side a two-goal cushion.
As Chelsea pushed for a goal the tempo may have been higher, but they were no closer to testing Alex McCarthy in the Southampton goal. Saints back four looked solid, as they had done all day, and Lampard’s side looked devoid of ideas.
Mount forced a save from McCarthy from a free-kick on the 90th minute, but that was as good as it got for the Blues on another home outing that they’ll hope to forget.
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