[Player Ratings] Chelsea 3-1 Southampton: Cahill & Terry Drag Blues To Win
Chelsea had their centre-halves to thank after goals from Gary Cahill and John Terry saw them come from behind to beat Southampton. Here are player ratings.
Chelsea had their centre-halves to thank after goals from Gary Cahill and John Terry saw them come from behind to beat Southampton.
The visitors took a shock lead at Stamford Bridge when a poor Michael Essien backpass allowed Jay Rodriguez to fire the Saints ahead after just 13 seconds.
But the Blues improved in the second half equalising through Cahill who nodded in from close range and then taking the lead through a Terry header in the 62nd minute. And there was still time for Demba Ba to get in on the action, stabbing in from close range with just seconds to play.
Southampton threatened to spoil Jose Mourinho’s unbeaten home record, taking the lead within the first minute. Essien was given a rare start but raised question marks over his inclusion when his attempted back pass was intercepted by Rodriguez. The recently capped England forward took full advantage, firing low beyond Petr Cech.
With the Bridge stunned, Chelsea set about finding an equaliser but the Saints looked comfortable for most of the second half. Fernando Torres was unlucky not to restore parity moments before the half time whistle but Saints keeper Artur Boruc saved brilliantly.
Mourinho rang the changes at the break, with Essien’s afternoon going from bad to worse following his error. The Nigerian was booked for diving before making way for Ba while Frank Lampard replaced Oscar just before the break.
And the changes had an immediate effect within 10 minutes of the restart. Branislav Ivanovic’s header from an Eden Hazard corner was going wide but Cahill reacted first to equalise after Ba’s poke hit the post.
The comeback was complete just after the hour mark as the Blues again took advantage of a set-piece. Mata’s corner came back to as Saints partially cleared but Terry was at hand to head home from the Spaniard’s re-delivery.
Chelsea were in control from then on and ended on a high when Ba latched onto a Ramires cross with seconds of normal time remaining to give the score-line a glossy finish.
The win moves Mourinho’s men up to second place in the Premier League and four points behind league leaders Arsenal.
Cech- 6- was for the most part a spectator in this game and can’t be blamed for the opening goal.
Azpilicueta- 7- not on his favoured right side but that didn’t stop him putting in an impressive display. Charged forward with intent and looked sound defensively.
Terry- 8- a stand out performer throughout this game. The Blues skipper marked his 400th Premier League appearance with the goal that put his side in front. MOM
Cahill- 8- formed a solid defensive partnership with Terry and played a vital role throughout. In the right place at the right time to equalise.
Ivanovic- 6- never put a foot out of line but neither did he do anything spectacular.
Ramires- 8- was often the man driving Chelsea forward when others looked dejected. Brilliant performance in the middle capped off with an assist.
Essien- 5- a bad day at the office for one of Mourinho’s favourites. The Nigerian has been an exceptional player for the Blues, but a lack of games and lack of form has meant his return to Stamford Bridge after a year in Madrid has led to more time warming the bench than playing. At fault for Southampton’s goal, booked for diving and subbed at half-time.
Oscar- 6- a decent showing from the Brazilian before being forced off through injury. Hopefully nothing too serious as the play-maker has been outstanding so far this term.
Mata- 7- missed out in midweek but the Spaniard returned to play a big role in Chelsea’s comeback win. Crossed for Terry to score his header.
Hazard- 6- the equaliser came from his corner but the winger went missing for large parts of the game. Played his part, albeit a brief part.
Torres- 6- unlucky not to score moments before half time, with Boruc superbly denying the striker. Flitted in and out of the game.
Lampard- 7- a forced substitution with Oscar limping off but the midfield veteran arguably changed the game in Chelsea’s favour. Brought more purpose to the Blues attack and got them playing quickly through midfield.
Ba- 7- looked hungry when he came on for Essien at half time and deserved his goal at the death; a real poachers finish. Let’s hope this is a return to the form that saw Roman Abramovich sanction his move almost two years ago.
Mikel- 5- introduced for Torres on 86 to help see out the game. Not long enough to make an impact.
How pleased are you with the Blues’ victory?…What does coming from behind say about Chelsea’s character?…Who impressed you the most?…Should Mourinho take the plaudits for changing it at half-time?…Can they catch league leaders Arsenal?…please leave your comments below…
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