Marcos Alonso’s 100th appearance for Chelsea saw him score an excellently placed free-kick just before half time to give his side a 1-0 win over Southampton.
Antonio Conte would have been looking to build on last Tuesday’s impressive 3-1 win over Huddersfield Town and apply pressure on Manchester United who lie in second place.
Alonso breaks the Deadlock
From the early stages Chelsea looked threatening, testing the Southampton back line with big chances coming later in the first half from both N’Golo Kante and Gary Cahill.
This was never going to be easy for Antonio Conte’s men, as they were facing a side who have recently shown they can challenge big teams with a 1-1 draw against Arsenal and Mauricio Pellegrino’s side will be looking to improve from the 4-1 loss to Leicester City last Wednesday.
As the first half drew to a close a clumsy challenge ensured a Chelsea free-kick 35 yards out on in stoppage time, which Alonso took and managed to curl it out of Fraser Forster’s reach with the ball nestling into the bottom corner.
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With the goal coming just before half time it would have sunk Southampton players spirits after managing to contain Chelsea for most of the first half.
The second half proved to be a bit more promising with Manolo Gabbadiani failing to make an impact, coming off for Charlie Austin on the 60 minute mark, who has scored four goals in his last four appearances.
It was not long before Austin had a taste of goal with a speculative shot in the 61 minute which was saved by the hands of Thibaut Courtois.
Despite this chance the driving seat was very much back in Chelsea’s favour again with Eden Hazard being the main force in sending the Blues forward, and taking a shot which was blocked by Maya Yoshida on the 67 minute.
It was only a few minutes later when Alonso who also seemed to be in a goal hungry mood drilled a shot at Forster, who did well to punch it away from danger.
With a 1-0 lead Chelsea were playing attacking football for most of the second half and with another close chance coming on the 77th minute with Cesc Fabregas shot spraying across the face of goal but no player in blue could finish.
Although Chelsea had the one goal lead, Pellegrino’s tactics in the second half meant Southampton were playing an attacking 5-3-2 and Sofiane Bouffal was bought on for Pierre-Emile-Hojbjerg to give the match more flare.
However, despite Southampton’s attacking threats, Chelsea managed to keep their lead till the final whistle, and hold an impressive win over Southampton. The win means Chelsea will now go up to 38 points, level with Manchester United.