A stoppage-time header from Jannik Vestergaard helped Southampton recover from being 2-0 down to finish level in a 3-3 draw against Chelsea.
Chelsea, who went 2-0 up after a brace from summer signing Timo Werner, led for the majority of the game before Theo Walcott’s half-volley set Vestergaard up for a header from close range in the second minute of second half stoppage time.
Ralph Hassenhuttl’s two changes saw Moussa Djenepo missing out after an injury in the Saints’ 2-0 win over West Brom, as well as Stuart Armstrong not being in the squad after having tested positive for COVID-19. Nathan Redmond and debutant Theo Walcott – a deadline day loan signing from Everton – came into the squad to replace them.
Chelsea started brightest, with some fantastic attacking play seeing Alex McCarthy brought into action within the first couple of minutes; Blues’ new signings Ben Chilwell and Kai Havertz having two relatively clear-cut chances to take the lead but for some great saves from the Saints’ keeper.
The game was very open early on, though, with Che Adams coming close after being played through by Walcott, but again it was a goalkeeper to the rescue. Kepa, saving well with his foot, returned to Chelsea’s first team after injury to new ‘keeper Edouard Mendy.
Timo Werner thought his first Premier League goal was in after Ben Chilwell played him through for a lovely finish. However, the flag was rightly up for offside.
Seconds later, though, a similar routine – Chilwell feeding the ball through via the left wing – saw Werner turn well and after beating several defenders and finding space, coolly slotting a right-footed finish home.
10 minutes or so later, with Chelsea’s high press matching that of their opponents, Werner was through again. This time, a lofted ball from Jorginho from deep in the Chelsea half played the German onside and he was in behind the Saints’ defence. Chipping the ball over McCarthy, he runs in behind to head the ball into an open net and give Chelsea a two-goal cushion.
Werner nearly rounded off his hat-trick after Jan Bednarek – having an awful time trying to deal with the young German forward – let Werner run towards goal but luckily Oriol Romeu – a former Chelsea man – was able to quickly deal with the threat.
Chelsea would go on to rue their missed chances as Southampton came back thanks to a rare chance just before half time. Kai Havertz, having a good game up until this point, is dispossessed in his own half by Che Adams who plays a perfect ball through to Danny Ings who is able to knock it to his right, past Kepa Arrizabalaga, and into an empty net.
Saints came out flying after the half time break, forcing Ben Chilwell into the book within minutes and Danny Ings coming close with a shot which left Kepa rooted to the spot, all before their leveller.
Southampton’s chaotic equaliser came just before the hour mark, as Zouma’s simple pass back to Kepa left much to be desired. Kepa rushes out to meet the pass from Zouma, but completely mistimes his run and allows Ings to nearly run through to an empty net. Some on-the-line defending from Andreas Christensen wasn’t enough though – Kepa hadn’t recovered and Adams, from a couple of yards at most, was able to slam home into the roof of the net. Suddenly, from 2-0 down and some awful defending from Southampton, they found themselves with the momentum and wouldn’t have been mocked for thinking they could’ve grabbed a winner in west London.
However, Chelsea regained the lead moments after Adams’ goal. Christian Pulisic, on his return from injury, played through Timo Werner for his hat-trick but the German selflessly played his compatriot Kai Havertz onside for a simple finish.
Chelsea came close to a fourth when debutant Hakim Ziyech’s corner found an unmarked Havertz who headed over.
Ibrahima Diallo was brought on late on for his first appearance for the Saints but it was Bertrand, Walcott and Vestergaard linking up to bring the visitors level. A poor challenge from Zouma led to a free-kick on the left hand side, whipped in by former Chelsea man Ryan Bertrand. It bounced perfectly for Theo Walcott on the half-volley and got a touch off of Vestergaard’s head to bring the game level.
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard said,
We are making individual mistakes in games and it gives other teams chances at all times. It is something we need to get better at.
Meanwhile, Saints boss Ralph Hassenhuttl said,
After the first half, and especially the first 30 minutes, nobody thought that we would take something here, but we found the belief and played the way we wanted to play [after getting the goal to make it 2-1].
We made it too easy for the opponents – the second half was much better.
Chelsea are up to sixth ahead of a Champions League tie with Sevilla in the week, whilst Southampton are gearing up for a tough game against surprise league leaders Everton on Sunday.
FT: Chelsea 3-3 SOUTHAMPTON (Werner 15′, 28′, Havertz 59′) (Ings 43′, Adams 57′, Vestergaard 90’+2′).
Chelsea: Arrizabalaga, Azpilicueta, Zouma, Christensen, Chilwell (booked), Jorginho, Kanté, Pulisic (James 87′), Havertz, Mount (Ziyech 72′), Werner (Abraham 90′). Unused Subs: Caballero, Giroud, Tomori, Hudson-Odoi.
Southampton: McCarthy, Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Vestergaard, Bertrand, Walcott, Ward-Prowse, Romeu (booked) (Diallo 87′), Redmond (Tella 77′), Adams (Long 86′), Ings. Unused Subs: Stephens, Obafemi, Valery, Forster.
Wessex Scene Man of the Match: Timo Werner (Chelsea).
Referee: Peter Bankes.