Thomas Tuchel’s unbeaten reign as Chelsea boss continued against Southampton but his men had to settle for a 1-1 draw and a point against Southampton.
The out-of-form hosts were dominated at St Mary’s with Chelsea claiming 72% possession, but Tuchel’s men were not as incisive as they would have liked.
It was less than three weeks since Saints crumbled 9-0 at Manchester United, but they were far more resilient on Saturday lunchtime.
They even took the lead through Takumi Minamino’s classy finish – their only shot on target. Chelsea though levelled in the second half through Mason Mount’s penalty.
Edouard Mendy came back into the starting XI in goal after Monday’s 2-0 home win over Newcastle.
Kurt Zouma and Reece James also started the Premier League clash on the south coast, with Tammy Abraham retaining his place up front.
Mohammed Salisu made his full debut for Southampton.
Southampton took the lead against the run of play, Minamino providing a brilliant, cool finish to stun Chelsea. Nathan Redmond’s through-ball showed the profligate Chelsea how to produce a telling final pass, and Liverpool loanee Minamino took his goal in style.
Takumi Minamino with an ice cool finish! ❄️
Despite all the Chelsea possession, Southampton take the lead at St Mary's! 😇 pic.twitter.com/0ms95CCTpj
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) February 20, 2021
Southampton carried their 1-0 lead into the half-time interval, having nullified a tetchy Chelsea with regimented alignment.
Chelsea were lucky that N’Golo Kante avoided any card at all for a nasty-looking challenge when he stepped on Moussa Djenepo.
Abraham was withdrawn by Chelsea at half-time, with Callum Hudson-Odoi coming off the bench.
England striker Abraham was seen icing his ankle in the stands, in what could have proved a recurrence of the issue he had picked up in the 2-0 win over Newcastle on Monday.
Chelsea were quickly level at 1-1 after the break however, with Mount (54) converting the penalty he had won.
Mount slotted home in cool style to put the Blues back on level terms, after Danny Ings had felled the England midfielder in the Saints box.
Hudson-Odoi’s neat ball inside to Mount had put Saints under pressure, and Ings’ loose challenge gifted the Blues their equaliser.
Southampton were almost back in front 15 minutes later, but Jannik Vestergaard’s looping header from a corner cannoned off the top of the crossbar.
With five minutes to go Chelsea had Tuchel stamping his feet and throwing his arms around on the sidelines.
Mount evaded a couple of challenges and picked out James at the far post, but the England man side-footed over the bar from eight yards out.
Mount then fired a shot over the bar from the edge of the box as Chelsea pushed for the winning goal.