Chelsea eased past Southampton at St. Mary's on Sunday in the Premier League, with Frank Lampard's men running out 4-1 winners.
The hosts made a lightning quick start, with Nathan Redmond firing just over inside the opening minute. But it was the away side who took the lead through Tammy Abraham after 17 minutes, with the forward chipping the onrushing Angus Gunn. Lampard's side doubled their lead seven minutes later, as Mason Mount cooly slotted home from inside the area.
Opportunities continued to present themselves, as both teams made countless errors in defence. Southampton got themselves back into the game through Danny Ings, who latched onto a Yan Valery cross after half an hour. However, the Blues' two goal cushion was restored when N'Golo Kante's deflected strike flew past Gunn moments before half-time.
The home side tried to press forward as they searched for a route back into the game, but Chelsea's defence was untroubled. Ings had the only notable chance to score, but his header went wide. In comparison, the Blues had a number of chances to extend their lead and eventually netted a fourth through Michy Batshuayi in the dying embers.
Here's the breakdown of the game.
Key Talking Point
Ralph Hasenhüttl's men came into the game having won just the solitary point at home this season. Their last fixture at St. Mary's saw them slump to a disappointing 3-1 defeat to Bournemouth, while they also lost their last game on the road. As a result, the boss would have been hoping for a reaction from his team.
The Saints were quick out of the blocks, but lost their speed and intensity after they fell behind. Instead, errors crept into their game and they were unable to retain possession. The defence lacked communication, leadership and resilience, which majorly disrupted the flow of the team.
All four goals were highly preventable and the Saints will struggle to claim points this season if Hasenhuttl isn't able to solve this growing issue in defence.
Starting XI: Gunn (4); Valery (6), Bednarek (4), Yoshida (5), Bertrand (5); Romeu (6), Hojbjerg (6), Ward-Prowse (5); Redmond (6), Ings (7*), Long (6).
Substitutes: Obafemi (5), Danso, Boufal (5), Adams (5).
STAR PLAYER - After Southampton fell two goals behind, they needed someone to step up and get them back into the match. While Valery's run was equally important, it was the positioning of Ings that helped him finish the chance. The striker showed great awareness to peal away from the Chelsea defence to give him the space he needed to squeeze the ball into the net.
Ings also had another glorious opportunity before half time to pull a goal back for the Saints, but his effort was saved by Kepa. While people will argue that he should have scored, it was excellent movement once again to get himself in behind. He was constantly trying to impose himself and it was his impressive work-rate that drew a number of errors from Chelsea's defenders.
Hasenhuttl will be hoping he can maintain fitness as he will know that the player has the ability to change a game.
Ings has been excellent and Romeu likewise. Long created a nuisance. Not many other things to write home about. Gunn poor. Valery abject defensively. Redmond been unusually selfish so far. I’d be tempted to get Boufal on to have a run at an uncertain Chelsea defence #saintsfc— Saint Alastair (@Saint_Alastair) October 6, 2019
Key Talking Point
Lampard has made a point of selecting youth this term, and rightly so, with the likes of Fikayo Tomori, Mount and Abraham all proving their worth. However, Sunday's clash with Southampton saw the manager give Callum Hudson-Odoi his first start in the league since April.
The winger was impressive and more importantly showed a wonderful understanding with Abraham and Mount. Starting out wide, Hudson-Odoi made a number of intelligent runs infield to become almost a second striker. This left the Saints unsure over how to deal with him, while it also allowed Marcos Alonso to get forward. 12 goals in their last three away league games reaffirms the potency of this young but ruthless Chelsea attack.
However, the defence is still a cause for concern for the manager, with chances being gifted to Southampton. Prior to this match, they had conceded twice in their last two matches despite winning, but Lampard has already learned that they cannot always outscore the opposition.
Starting XI: Arrizabalaga (5); Azpilicueta (6), Zouma (5), Tomori (5), Alonso (7); Kante (7), Jorginho (6); Willian (8*), Mount (7), Hudson-Odoi (7); Abraham (7).
Substitutes: Kovacic (6), Pulisic (6), Batshuayi (7).
STAR PLAYER - Chelsea's forwards all impressed in this latest victory, but it was Willian who was the standout performer.
Following on from his delightful strike in midweek against Lille, the Brazilian put in another strong showing to help his side claim all three points. His passing was crisp and precise, with him and Abraham linking up to devastating effect.
The winger even chipped in with an assist as well, sending Mount through for the second goal. It was another strong display from Willian, but Lampard will have been most impressed by the work-rate and desire he showed throughout.
Southampton travel to face Wolves after the international break, before returning to St. Mary's where they welcome Leicester.
Chelsea host Newcastle after the international break, before travelling to take on Ajax in the Champions League.