Southamtpon ended a club record of six successive Premier League defeats after a crafty first half goal from loan signing Takumi Minamino earned them a 1-1 with top four prospects Chelsea.
An injury-hit Southampton side were forced into a makeshift back four. Jan Bednerak stepped in for the injured Kyle-Walker Peters at right-back, whilst Mohammed Salisu occupied his usual spot alongside Jannik Vestergaard at centre-back. Hassenhuttl opted for Takumi Minamino and Moussa Djenepo as his wide midfielders whilst Nathan Redmond partnered Danny Ings up front instead of the out-of-favour Che Adams.
The Saints faced a tough challenge up against an in-form Chelsea side who started with a dangerous front three of Timo Werner, Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount.
Saints ahead at half-time despite Chelsea dominance
The story of the first 30 minutes was as everyone would have expected when looking at these two sides form. Chelsea dominated the ball and looked dangerous, whilst the Saints failed to register a single shot.
The first warning sign came after only 5 minutes as Chelsea managed to play through Southampton’s press. Reece James found himself with plenty of space on the right of the Saints’ penalty area and he clipped a delightful ball into the path of fellow wing-back Marcos Alonso. The Spanish international hit the ball first time on the volley but it fizzed just wide of Alex McCarthy’s goal.
However, the Saints defence, motivated not to extend their losing run to seven games, held firm and frustrated Chelsea to the point in which their only other meaningful attempt of the half was a weak long-range effort from centre-back Antonio Rudiger.
Instead, it was the hosts who took the lead with their first real attack of the game. Nathan Redmond found space just inside the Chelsea half and played an inch-perfect ball into the path of Takumi Minamino. The Saints loanee found himself through on goal and showed brilliant composure to delay his shot which sent both Cesar Azpilicueta and Edouard Mendy to the ground before finding the net with the outside of his boot from close range.
Mount penalty earns Chelsea draw
Chelsea started the first half with a real sense of urgency to their play which the Saints found hard to deal with.
10 minutes into the half Thomas Tuchel’s side levelled the score. Following a corner, Mason Mount showed good close control in the Saints box to skip away from Mohammed Salisu before drawing a foul from the covering Danny Ings. It was a stonewall penalty, Southampton’s star-man could not help but lunge in to try and win the ball but he failed to make any contact with anything but the ankle of Mason Mount. Chelsea’s talented number 10 picked himself up off the St Mary’s canvas before slotting a confident side-footed penalty into the bottom right-hand corner.
The only other real notable effort in the game came 2o minutes from time as Jannik Vestergaard found himself in the Chelsea penalty area following a corner. The Saints defender guided a header towards the top corner of the Chelsea goal but was unlucky to see his effort cannon off the crossbar.
Moussa Djenepo justifies selection
In a game of relatively few chances it was the performances of two individuals which stood out; Wessex scene Man of the Match Mason Mount and the lively Moussa Djenepo for the Saints. The latter put everything he had into this game. Saints fans are well aware of his technical ability on the ball and Djenepo once again showed off moments which left Chelsea defenders chasing his shadow. However, in Saturday’s game it was the defensive shift he put in which would have really impressed his boss Ralph Hasenhuttl. The winger got back on numerous occasions to help out Jan Bednarek at right-back and put in strong challenges to help stop dangerous Chelsea attacks. The Chelsea players gave him a few kicks and nudges for his efforts but the Malian international never looked beaten and kept fighting to help the Saints to an invaluable point.
The draw leaves Southampton in 13th place in the league whilst their opponents Chelsea remain in 4th. Up next for the Saints is a midweek trip to Elland Road to face a Leeds side which can be very dangerous on their day.
FT: SOUTHAMPTON 1-1 Chelsea (Minamino 34′) (Mount 54′ pen)
Southampton: McCarthy (booked), Bednarek, Vestergaard, Salisu, Bertrand, Djenepo, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Minamino (Tella 76′), Redmond (N’Lundulu 90+4), Ings (Adams 85′). Unused Subs: Stephens, Ramsay, Jankewitz, Forster, Ferry, Chauke.
Chelsea: Mendy, James, Azpilicueta, Zouma, Rudiger, Alonso (booked), Kovacic (Jorginho 76′), Kante, Werner, Abraham (Hudson-Odoi 45′ (Ziyech 76′)), Mount. Unused subs: Kepa, Christensen, Giroud, Chilwell, Gilmour, Emerson.
Wessex Scene Man of the Match: Mason Mount (Chelsea)
Referee: Anthony Taylor