Southampton were brushed aside at home on Sunday as Chelsea continued their excellent start under their new boss
Chelsea continued their unbeaten start to the Premier League season on Sunday afternoon as they ran out comfortable, 3-0 winners at St. Mary’s. The Blues, managed by Italian Maurizio Sarri, managed three goals for the fourth time this season as the West London side continue to adapt to Sarri’s high-intensity, attacking system.
Hazard continues incredible form
Eden Hazard may still be giving the club headaches regarding his uncertain future as the Real Madrid links rumble on, but it was the Belgian maestro’s class and quality that again saw Chelsea dominate the opposition.
Hazard deftly finished the first past Saints goalkeeper Alex McCarthy after good work from Ross Barkley, later teeing up struggling striker Alvaro Morata for the third in stoppage time. Hazard has now contributed to 11 goals in his last 11 appearances for the Blues, with his staggering start to the season showing no signs of slowing down.
Jorginho the metronome
If it was Hazard that did the damage, it was summer signing Jorginho who brought calm and control to the Chelsea midfield, allowing Sarri’s side to maintain control throughout.
Jorginho has both impressed and perplexed pundits this season and his incredible passing statistics have been lauded and questioned in equal measure, with some presenting his record-breaking 180 passes in Chelsea’s 0-0 draw with West Ham as emblematic of the ponderous nature of the Italian’s use of the ball.
“Barkley could be the answer”
Chelsea away supporter Scott Miles was at St. Mary’s and was full of praise for not just Hazard, but midfielder Ross Barkley: “I just think he’s got something our midfield is lacking in terms of goals and assists, we’ve not really seen that from [Mateo] Kovacic yet.”
Miles also expressed doubt over whether Hazard could reach the 20-30 goals mark some have predicted of him, admitting his required intervention in last week’s Europa League clash could lead to a “burnout” later in the season.
Overall though, Miles was cautiously optimistic about the Blues’ title chances this season, suggesting that “Kepa is a great signing and this was by far his best game in a Chelsea shirt, he’s contributing to the new style of play so well.”
“You have to almost discount the squad’s experience of winning now, the style of play is so different so we’ll have to see if they can grind out results later on in the year… with Mourinho and Conte we had games like the 1-0 win at QPR that all but sealed the title. So we’ll have to see.”
One certainty, Miles believes, is that Champions League football is a must next season, adding that the potential loss of key players like Kante and Hazard “would require a total rebuild.”
More misery for the Saints
Southampton, meanwhile, were thoroughly outclassed. Chances spurned by Danny Ings and Ryan Bertrand could be costly on another day, though this was perhaps another fixture that emphasised the widening divide between the ‘top six’ and the rest of the Premier League.