Chelsea showed why they should be considered as title contenders by turning the tide against the young pretenders from the south coast and keeping hold of second spot.
The Jose Mourinho of old came to the rescue of the home team today making wholesale changes during this game, which saw the Blues claim the spoils of a valuable 3 points.
Chelsea are the top team in the premiership so far this season in coming from behind to win a game.
The Blues gifted Southampton a goal advantage within 14 seconds of the kick off. Poor old Michael Essien, having been handed his first premiership start of the season mis-timed his back pass allowing Rodriguez to sneak behind the Chelsea defense and slot the ball easily past a very peeved Petr Cech.
The Bison had made an Ass of himself. His return to the first team also included a booking and an early bath, not his day as they say. Mind you when the team sheet was announced and his name was paired in midfield with Ramires, I actually thought that made sense. I have been wanting an alternative to Lampard/Mikel and Essien brings the required experience in Frank’s absense. He did show some glimpses of his forward passing game and would give the paring another chance. Although I still think Willian should be next to Ramires as first choice.
Juan Mata also returned to the team. He had a much better airing. It was a pleasure to watch him carve up the opposition’s defense with his vision and distribution to match. He also got the “assist” on Chelsea’s first 2 goals. He did show signs of why he poses a problem to Jose. His lack of pace was highlighted both defensively and on occasion when Chelsea broke forward. This young Saints side are probably the fittest and quickest in the league, but the modern game will require Mata to become nimbler if he is to be play an integral part in Mourinho’s physical plans.
Torres also returned to Premiership action after recent injury. He put in a really good shift and given a couple more games to settle back in , his improvement in form will continue.
Mourinho reassessed at half-time. He had been forced to withdraw Oscar for Lampard on 42 mins thru injury. He bought on Demba Ba to partner Torres in an effort to keep his home record in tact. It worked. The Blues dominated the remainder of the game ending up a deserved winners.
Gary Cahill scored the equalizing goal on 55 minutes. Getting his neck into a position last seen on a body piled up outside Traitors Gate, he managed to direct the ball past the previously untroubled Boruc. Unfortunately it was the Southampton keepers last involvement as he was substituted and sent to Chelsea hospital for an as yet an unknown injury. The X-rays have revealed a very small lump in his skull, but doctors later identified this as his brain.
John Terry scored the “go-ahead” goal a few minutes later capping his 400th EPL appearance in style. The away side rarely threatened after this, as the young guns appeared a little overwhelmed by the manner in which the Blues had responded in the 2nd half.
Demab Ba “officially” put the game beyond Southampton’s reach on 90 minutes with a classic strikers goal, beating the defender to the punch to slide the ball first time past the keeper.
This performance reminded me of the Chelsea teams from Mourinho’s previous tenure, when confronted with adversity, in this case the 4th quickest EPL goal of all time, they refused to feel sorry for themselves and fought as if their lives depended on it.
Things continue to be a work in progress, but winning today will add another dimension to the confidence building within this team.
I think, even though we are away, it may be a cricket score against Sunderland on Wednesday!