Chelsea players celebrate N’Golo Kante’s first-half goal Sunday en route to a 4-1 win at Southampton. (Darren Walsh/Getty)
After a slow start to the 2019-20 season, Chelsea appears to be finding its form. The young Blues won their fourth straight game in a span of just 11 days on Sunday at Southampton, easily dispatching the Saints 4-1 on first-half goals from youngsters Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount and veteran N’golo Kante.
Second-half substitute Michy Batshuayi scored the final goal on a brilliant set-up by fellow sub Christian Pulisic, who made his first Premier League appearance since August.
The latest triumph for Chelsea is also its second in as many Prem games, moving Frank Lampard’s team into seventh place in the table, one point behind Arsenal. (The Gunners topped Bournemouth Sunday to remain in sixth.) The Blues also beat French side Lille last week in the Champions League and Grimsby Town in the Carabao Cup the week before. Prior to its current hot streak, Chelsea had won just four of 15 matches across all competitions.
Abraham opened Sunday’s scoring just 17 minutes into the contest at St. Mary’s Stadium by racing onto a long pass and lofting a shot over goalkeeper Angus Gunn. Defender Maya Yoshida raced back to clear the ball before it hit the net, but goal-line technology determined that it had crossed the line:
The 20-year-old Mount then doubled the visitors’ advantage in short order, finishing a slick passing sequence with aplomb after the Saints got caught in possession by Willian in their own end.
After starting the play, Willian got the ball back and fed Mount, who sent a right-footed blast past Gunn:
The hosts pulled one back through Danny Ings on the half-hour mark. But Kante restored Chelsea’s the two-goal lead five minutes before halftime:
With the three points all but assured, Chelsea eased off a bit in the second half. But they still managed to add another after Lampard went to his bench and brought on Batshuayi, Pulisic and Mateo Kovacic.
Pulisic had gone three straight Prem games without getting off the bench. The 21-year-old American didn’t even dress for last week’s Champions League trip to France. But he made his cameo count on Sunday, playing a slick pass to his former Borussia Dortmund teammate that the Belgian striker converted to add the exclamation point.
It was Pulisic’s fourth helper this season, and his first primary assist in Premier League play:
That was the sort of day it was for Chelsea, which is clearly rounding into form after some early struggles under first-year boss Lampard. The timing couldn’t be better, either. After heading into the September international break on the back of a disappointing 2-2 tie with newly promoted Sheffield United, the Blues will take their winning feeling into the October fixture window.
That certainly can’t hurt the Blues’ confidence levels when they reconvene to face Newcastle at Stamford Bridge in two weeks.
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