‘Slow’ Saints Struggle as Chelsea Starlets Shine Again

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Chelsea put four goals past Southampton as the Saints defenders struggled to cope with Chelsea’s lively youngsters.

The Saints looked lively early on by pressing Chelsea high up the pitch, as Nathan Redmond’s effort from 30 yards flew just over the bar in the opening minutes. Chelsea then gave Southampton a warning sign after 11 minutes when Callum Hudson-Odoi broke away to create a chance for in-form forward Tammy Abraham. The pair then linked up again only a few minutes later, as Hudson-Odoi’s perfectly weighted pass found Abraham, who lobbed the ball high over the on-rushing Angus Gunn into the net.  Mayo Yoshida’s heroic clearance proved futile as the goal was given via goal-line technology.

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Chelsea made it 2-0 shortly after, this time through youngster Mason Mount who converted from close-range after a neat interchange with Willian, Jorginho and Abraham in a crowded Saints box. One should have been two for Mount moments later, as he dragged a gilt-edged chance wide from six yards out. Southampton duly responded, as full-back Yan Valery weaved through the Chelsea box to square for Danny Ings, who bundled the ball over the line to pull one back.

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Southampton’s comeback hopes were short-lived however as Marcos Alonso drove down Chelsea’s left before setting up N’golo Kante, whose deflected effort restored the visitors’ two-goal advantage after 40 minutes. Danny Ings nearly reduced the deficit once again just before half-time after rounding keeper Kepa, but he was denied by a goal-line clearance from Jorginho.

Despite Southampton looking a lot more rigid defensively at the start of the second half, Hudson-Odoi, starting for the first time in the league this season, had a good effort saved by the foot of Angus Gunn.  As the game went on, Southampton became increasingly lethargic with their defence breached again in the closing stages as Michy Batshuayi struck after combining with fellow substitute Christian Pulisic, making it 4-1 to the visitors.

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Manager Ralph Hassenhuttl summed up the Saints’ performance when he told Match of the Day: “We started well but to be honest we are far away from our best…We were too slow in our minds, too slow on the ball. They showed us every weakness we had and we have a lot of them at the moment.”

Next up for Southampton is a tough trip to Wolves after the international break, who stunned Manchester City 2-0 at the Etihad.

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