[Player Ratings] Southampton 0-3 Chelsea: Blues See In New Year With Comfortable Win
Chelsea’s title stock continued to rise as they cruised to a 3-0 win at Southampton on New Year’s Day. Here are our Chelsea player ratings from the game.
Chelsea’s title stock continued to rise as they cruised to a 3-0 win at Southampton on New Year’s Day.
Second half goals from Fernando Torres and Brazilian duo Oscar and Willian ensured the Blues retained the status quo at the top the Premier League with both Arsenal and Manchester City also winning.
The New Year’s Day trip to St Mary’s posed what many saw as a difficult task for Chelsea in 2014, with the Saints making a name for themselves with a cool brand of passing football.
Neither Branislav Ivanovic or Frank Lampard made the trip to the south coast, with Jose Mourinho confirming after the game that the pair may be out for as long as a month with respective knee and muscle injuries.
Mourinho therefore continued to juggle his squad, bringing in Juan Mata and Andre Schurrle. Ashley Cole deputised for Ivanovic while Ramires was welcomed back into the starting line up.
Torres was also named upfront after a spell on the subs bench and the Spaniard came closest to breaking the deadlock in the first half. His shot from outside the box took a vital deflection off Jose Fonte,diverting it wide.
Ramires impressed in midfield with his surging runs and Schurrle too looked bright, shooting just wide from the edge of the area. Southampton tested Chelsea at times but the second half began to show more and more that this is a home side who have only won once in their last nine games.
Mata and Schurrle were hooked off early in the second half with Oscar and Willian emerging from the bench. The move tipped the balance in Chelsea’s favour as the Oscar’s effort on the hour struck the post only for Torres to react first and head the Blues in front.
Southampton substitute Rickie Lambert almost restored parity but Petr Cech was equal to his header before Oscar once again turned provider, laying on for Willian to strike superbly from the edge of the area.
And as the final 10 minutes ticked away, Oscar completed an outstanding performance with a goal of his own, taking Eden Hazard’s through ball in his stride before beating Saints ‘keeper Kelvin Davis.
The win means Chelsea stay third in the league, just two points off leaders Arsenal and a point behind second placed Manchester City.
Cech- 6- made a good stop from Lambert with the game at 1-0. Solid throughout but rarely tested.
Cole- 6- fine for most of the game but was beaten on a few occasions by Chambers.
Terry- 7- a strong performance from the captain. Kept the likes of Lallana and Rodriguez at bay.
Cahill- 6- nothing spectacular but did what he had to do. Kept a close eye on Lambert when he was introduced and kept him quiet.
Azpilicueta- 7- restored to right back in Ivanovic’s absence and gave an assured display. Defended with no fuss.
Ramires- 7- full of energy and had Southampton on the back foot with his driving runs through the middle.
Mikel- 6- anchored the midfield well, offering a protective screen for the likes of Oscar and Willian to play.
Mata- 5- a quiet afternoon for the Spaniard. May find himself back on the bench after shown up by sub Oscar.
Schurrle- 5- another to struggle but did strike well from distance in the first half.
Hazard- 8- much improved in the second half and helped Chelsea to dominate when linking up with Oscar. Set up the third goal.
Torres- 8 one of the better performances so far this season. Showed great touch and technique and was in the right place at the right time to open the scoring. Looked sharp.
Oscar- 9- a Man of the Match display from the Brazilian. Chelsea were comfortable in the first half but his introduction put the Blues in the driving seat. Creative, enthusiastic; set up two goals and scored the third. A magnificent performance.
Willian- 8- came on for Schurrle at the same time Oscar replaced Mata and brought more incisiveness to Chelsea’s play. A very good finish from long range to make it 2-0.
What did you make of Chelsea’s win on the south coast?…Do you think Chelsea would have won the game had it not been for Oscar?…Just how good do you think Oscar is?…Do you feel he is too inconsistent?…How pleasing was it to see Torres back on the score sheet?…Is this the beginning of a glut of goals for him?…please leave your comments below…