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January 1, 2014
• St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton, Hampshire
Referee: M. Atkinson
• Attendance: 31271
Fernando Torres 60'
So, Chelsea begin 2014 in style and could this be the year when they finally retain the Premier League title? Jose Mourinho's side face a trip to Derby in the FA Cup next while Southampton host Burnley. Thanks for joining me, Max Bentley, on this live commentary. Until next time, goodbye!
FT: Southampton 0-3 Chelsea. Jose Mourinho's side give a convincing showing of their title credentials with a devastating second-half display. Oscar was the difference from the bench as he assisted strikes for Fernando Torres and Willian before getting on the scoresheet himself.
90' + 4'
NEARLY A CONSOLATION FOR SOUTHAMPTON! The hosts have hardly threatened in the last 20 minutes but they go within inches of scoring late on as Ramirez collects Lallana's pass before curling an effort inches past the top corner.
90' + 2'
Pass. Pass. Pass. The referee may as well blow the final whistle now as Chelsea effortlessly enjoy possession. Southampton will need to pick themselves up for their upcoming FA Cup tie against Burnley.
Fernando Torres deserves a lot of credit for his performance today and he will be delighted to have scored his first league away goal in twelve months. Will we see a new 'El Nino' in the New Year?
Cries of 'boring, boring Chelsea' ring out as they pass the ball around excellently in midfield, frustrating their opponents. They have been anything but defensive today.
Yellow Card Nathaniel Clyne
Nathaniel Clyne picks up a late booking for Southampton. It looks set to be a disappointing start to 2014 for Mauricio Pochettino's side but they can have no complaints about the result today. Chelsea have showed their superiority in this second half.
With the points secured, Jose Mourinho makes a final change with Michael Essien replacing Eden Hazard. It's been another impressive performance from the Belgian.
Assist Eden Hazard
OSCAR MAKES IT 3-0! With Southampton playing a high line, Hazard clips a wonderful pass over the top which Oscar runs onto. The Brazilian advances into the box before firing a left-footed shot beyond Davis. What an impact he has made from the bench!
John Terry has scored on his previous two matches against Chelsea and he looks to secure a clean sheet here as he once again produces a magnificent header to clear a cross from the left.
Southampton appear to have lost their self-belief here as Chelsea frustrate their opponents by passing the ball around in midfield brilliantly. Southampton have missed the presence of Victor Wanyama in the middle today.
Chants of 'Mourinho, Mourinho' ring out from the travelling supporters as Oscar and Hazard continue to carve Southampton open down the left. The Brazilian sends a teasing low cross into the box but Ramires cannot poke the ball towards goal.
As it stands, Southampton have won only one of their last nine matches.
Southampton are looking a little leggy here as Chelsea come forward in search of a third goal. Jose Mourinho's side are looking very much like title contenders here.
WILLIAN MAKES IT 2-0! The substitutes combine excellently as Oscar dances in from the left before feeding his international colleague on the edge of the box. Willian takes one touch before sending a fierce strike beyond the despairing dive of Davis. Jose Mourinho is smiling on the touchline. That should wrap up the win for Chelsea.
Chelsea have found clean sheets harder to come by in Mourinho's second spell but they defend brilliantly again to clear a corner from the left. With Arsenal still being held at home to Cardiff, this would be a huge result for Chelsea.
You have to credit Jose Mourinho for those substitutions as Oscar has made a real impact since his introduction. It was a fortuitious goal to put Chelsea ahead but they have looked threatening all game. It certainly hasn't been the 'park the bus' tactics that we saw at Old Trafford and the Emirates.
WHAT A CHANCE FOR LAMBERT! The prolific Southampton forward almost makes an instant impact as he takes advantage of Terry's hesitancy to meet Clyne's cross but his header is too central and Cech claims.
Yellow Card Dejan Lovren
Dejan Lovren is looking frustrated for Southampton and he goes into the referee's notebook after bundling Hazard to the turf.
Mauricio Pochettino makes an instant substitution as Rickie Lambert comes on to replace Jack Cork.
Goal Fernando Torres
TORRES MAKES IT 1-0! It's a bizarre goal for Chelsea as Oscar's cross deflects off the toe of Chambers before rebounding off the post. The ball comes out to Torres a few yards out and he shows brilliant reflexes to divert it into the net. He didn't know much about it but he will not care - his goal drought away from Stamford Bridge is over.
Those substitutions seem to have woken Chelsea up in the second half and it is the visitors who are in the ascendency here. With Manchester City winning earlier and Liverpool ahead, Jose Mourinho knows that he can ill-afford to drop two points.
Yellow Card Oscar
THAT IS SHOCKING FROM OSCAR! The Brazilian playmaker latches onto a through ball beyond the Southampton defence before rounding Davis and throwing himself over the goalkeeper's trailing arm. The referee spots his simulation and books the Chelsea midfielder for simulation. All he had to do was tap the ball into the net.
Jose Mourinho makes the changes and Mata and Schurrle are the players withdrawn as Oscar and Willian enter the fray. Will it prove to be a tactical masterstroke from the Chelsea boss?
Yellow Card Jack Cork
Torres has looked lively for Chelsea today and he nearly capitalises upon hesitancy in the Southampton defence, only to see Fonte produce a crucial last-ditch clearance.
Chelsea have not been able to replicate their blistering start to the first half and Jose Mourinho has clearly seen enough as he tells Oscar and Willian to strip off on the touchline.
CHANCE FOR SOUTHAMPTON! Petr Cech flaps at a corner from the right and Fonte looks to hook the ball home, only to see his effort well blocked on the line before Lovren's attempt is well cleared. The Chelsea back four have defended excellently in this match.
Yellow Card G. Ramírez
It's taken only 43 seconds of the second half for the referee to brandish a yellow card as Ramirez is cautioned for a late challenge on Cole.
The two sides re-emerge from the tunnel for the second half and there is a change for Southampton as Nathaniel Clyne replaces Luke Shaw. I can only assume that the 18-year-old has picked up an injury.
STAT ATTACK: No Chelsea striker has scored an away goal in the Premier League for 12 months.
HT: Southampton 0-0 Chelsea. It's goalless at the break but not for the want of trying as both sides have looked threatening in attack. Jose Mourinho's side made a blistering start to the match but Mauricio Pochettino's men have responded excellently, with Adam Lallana twice being denied by two superb blocks. I'd be surprised if there were no goals in this one.
45' + 2'
Incidentally, Southampton left-back Luke Shaw was turned down by Chelsea when he was eight years old for being too small. The 18-year-old has helped the Saints to keep Chelsea at bay so far and has been very impressive in the first half of the season.
It's Southampton who are ending the half strongly here but it seems that we will be heading into the break goalless. It's been a thoroughly entertaining first 45 minutes at St. Mary's.
Southampton are refusing to sit back and defend however and Ramirez collects the ball outside the box before seeing his drilled effort well blocked by Terry. Chelsea then counterattack down the other end and Lovren times a tackle superbly to deny Ramires.
GOOD CHANCE FOR CHELSEA! The visitors have had a lot of joy down the right and Mata's cross picks out Hazard at the back post. He then tees up Schurrle inside the box but the German's effort is headed away from goal expertly by Fonte.
The rain is pelting down at St.Mary's and Jose Mourinho stands up from the bench with a quizzical look etched on his face. You get the feeling that the first goal here could prove decisive.
BRILLIANT EFFORT FROM RAMIRES! The Brazilian shows fantastic footwork and pace to dance past several Southampton shirts before his fierce effort is tipped over the crossbar by Kelvin Davis. That would have been a special solo effort.
Chelsea have their backs to the wall at the moment as Southampton continue to impose themselves on this match. Young full-back Calum Chambers has been particularly impressive down the right.
Lovren has already scored at Anfield and Old Trafford this season and he goes close to adding Stamford Bridge to that list but he can only divert Ramirez's free kick narrowly wide at the back post.
Southampton are coming back into this game now and Steven Davis flicks a neat pass into Ramirez's path outside the box, only to watch the Uruguayan fire an effort narrowly over the bar.
AZPILICUETA TO THE RESCUE! It's end to end stuff here and Lallana is starting to exert his influence on this match. The England midfielder collects Chambers' low cross inside the box but once again, his fierce shot is blocked brilliantly a blue shirt, this time by Azpilicueta. The Spanish defender has been in the wars this afternoon and receives treatment for a second time.
Kelvin Davis has impressed on a rare start for Southampton and he makes another brilliant decision to rush off his line and prevent Hazard from latching onto Mata's neat pass. That's top goalkeeping.
WHAT A CHANCE FOR RODRIGUEZ! Gaston Ramirez is another who has been linked with a January move but he produces a sublime chipped pass to set up Rodriguez who had broken clear of the Chelsea defence. However, the striker cannot get the ball under control and Cole tracks back to make a crucial interception.
Mata is one player who has been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge in the transfer window and he has the chance to lump the ball into the Southampton box but his delivery is poor. What a contrast in fortunes this season has proved to be for the Spanish playmaker.
TORRES GOES CLOSE! The Spanish striker has made a fantastic start to this match and he uses his pace to accelerate beyond Chambers and Fonte down the left before firing narrowly over from inside the box. That would have been a fine solo effort from the much-criticised forward.
This is a much livelier spell from Southampton and Cahill comes to his Chelsea's rescue as he prevents Rodriguez from latching onto Chamber's cross from the right.
BIG CHANCE FOR SOUTHAMPTON! The hosts almost take the lead with their first shot of the game as Ramirez pokes a ball between Cahill's legs for Lallana. The World Cup hopeful shifts the ball beyond Terry but his low goalbound drive is blocked expertly by Cole. That's much better from the Saints.
Chelsea continue to dominate the early stages here and Mauricio Pochettino can consider himself fortunate that the scoreline is still scoreless. Adam Lallana is yet to get onto the ball and influence proceedings.
DAVIS TO THE RESCUE! Torres pokes a good pass between the centre-backs for Ramires to latch onto but Davis is alert to the danger and produces a magnificent sliding tackle to clear the ball upfield. Ramires was within inches of getting on the end of that one, Davis had to get that right.
Ramires has made a bright start in the middle of the park as Chelsea dominate the early midfield battle. However, it is not all good news for Jose Mourinho's side as Azpilicueta appears to have suffered a muscular injury to his back.
Southampton are yet to settle into this game and they enjoy a spell of possession in defence. I don't think they've touched the ball in the Chelsea half so far.
After a lengthy stoppage, Lovren is finally back on his feet. That break will hopefully have given Southampton time to regroup after that frantic Chelsea start.
It's all Chelsea here and Torres once again escapes down the right before his low cross is deflected behind by Fonte. From Mata's corner, Schurrle sends a rasping low shot just wide of the left post. There is a stoppage in play now as Lovren receives treatment.
TORRES GOES CLOSE! It's a fantastic start from Chelsea here and Ramires sends Torres through on goal. The Spanish striker evades the challenge of Lovren but his low goalbound strike deflects off Fonte who had tracked back brilliantly.
The referee blows his whistle and Chelsea, in their traditional blue jerseys, get the game underway. Torres makes an early burst down the right but Lovren does well to prevent Hazard from turning in his cross.
Despite Chelsea recording a £49.4 million loss in 2013, the Blues have been busy in the early hours of the transfer window, sealing the signing of Burkina Faso youngster Bertrand Traore. Just another one for the future.
When these two sides met exactly one month ago, Chelsea recovered from Jay Rodriguez's 13-second strike to steal all three points courtesy of goals from Gary Gahill, John Terry and Demba Ba. However, in the previous encounter at St. Mary's back in March, Southampton gained all three points in a 2-1 win.
Chelsea substitutes: Essien, Oscar, Ba, Willian, Schwarzer, Eto'o, Kalas.
Chelsea starting line-up: Cech; Cole, Terry, Cahill, Azpilicueta; Ramires, Mikel; Hazard, Mata, Schurrle; Torres.
Southampton substitutes: Clyne, Yoshida, Lambert, Ward-Prowse, Gazzaniga, Hooiveld, Gallagher.
Southampton starting line-up: Davis; Chambers, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw; Schneiderlin, Cork; Lallana, Davis, Rodriguez; Ramirez.
TEAM NEWS: Kelvin Davis returns to safeguard the Saints' woodwork, with Jose Fonte assuming his normal spot at centre-back. Steven Davis gets a start in midfield, with Gaston Ramirez leading the line for the hosts. Ashley Cole slots in at left-back for Chelsea, with Azpilicueta returning to right-back, with Schurrle and Mata starting behind Fernando Torres. A bit of rotation from Mourinho.
I'm Max Bentley, and I will be leading you through proceedings from St. Mary's, where the home side haven't picked up a victory in three matches. Chelsea are beginning to look like more of a title challenger by the match, despite Mourinho occasionally being criticised for negative football. Today will be a tough test for the London-based club, as the Saints like to press and harry their opposition.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of Southampton against Chelsea in the Premier League, as both sides look to start 2014 in the best possible way. The hosts have been stuttering of late, despite Pochettino insisting that his side are still capable of a good league finish, with Mourinho's visitors heading into this game off the back of an excellent 2-1 victory over previous league leaders Liverpool.
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