Football Features

Southampton 1-4 Chelsea: Five things learned as Alonso proves his worth to Lampard’s cause

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 16:04, 6 October 2019

Chelsea made it three consecutive Premier League away victories after running out comfortable 3-1 win at Southampton.

Frank Lampard’s men raced into a 2-0 lead through goals from hot-shots Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount before Danny Ings halved the deficit for the hosts.

N’Golo Kanté restored their two-goal cushion just before the break and it seemed the game was done and dusted, but tell that to Michy Batshuayi who converted the Blues’ fourth late on.

With the dust settled, here are five things we learned from this encounter…

1. Streak maintained

Going into this game Chelsea had failed to score in seven of their last 12 league matches on the road (four wins, two draws and six defeats).

This would have given Southampton a confidence boost prior to kick-off, but manager Ralph Hasenhüttl and his team know that in some cases the future isn’t always determined by the past. Lampard is steadily turning his relative young chargers into fearless scorers on the road.

We saw how damaging they could be at Wolves recently so it wasn’t long before the Saints went behind. That moment came in the 17th minute when Tammy Abraham registered his eighth Premier League goal of the season. It meant Chelsea have now scored at least once in each of their last 16 away games at Southampton in all competitions (35 now).

2. ‘Big game’ player

It never really worked out for Ings at Liverpool though it would be fair to say he was a tad unlucky. Those days are now behind him and he’s settled well into life at Southampton where the Winchester-born marksman now leads the line.

For a struggling team, which the Saints are, having a consistent scorer will ultimately be the difference between safety and relegation (that is if they shore themselves up at the back).

Ings, though, has relished coming up against the big boys. His effort in the 30th minute, which halved the deficit, meant that six of his last seven Premier League goals have come against ‘big six’ opposition: Chelsea join Spurs and Liverpool as part of this season’s collection of scalps.

3. My kingdom for a clean sheet

As touched upon, Chelsea haven’t been the greatest of travellers in recent times. They went seven matches without scoring a goal across their last 12 league away games before today and the Blues have also picked up the bad habit of failing to keep clean sheets on a regular basis.

Across those aforementioned dozen away games they’ve secured just one shutout (which came in their goalless draw at Leicester City in May). Even more damning is the statistic that only Watford (33) have conceded more Premier League away goals in 2019 than Chelsea (28).

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4. First time for everything

Football is first and foremost a results business, no one is immune from the sack, which Hasenhüttl is fully aware of. It remains to be seen whether he will still be at the helm of Southampton when the 2019/20 campaign draws to a close. He’s one of several Premier League managers currently under threat.

The former RB Leipzig boss started well at St Mary’s by registering two wins in his opening three league outings. However, it hasn’t always been this good, they now sit a point above the relegation zone and for the first time in his tenure Southampton have lost three top division games on the bounce.

5. Chipping in from everywhere

It’s early days but the Lampard regime at Chelsea looks very promising. What has stood out, even with such a small sample size, is how the club legend has forged a slick collective spirit. Every player contributes collectively. Football is a team sport, after all. There’s no dependency on one or two individuals when it comes to creating goals.

Case in point, no fewer than eight players have assisted a goal, with Callum Hudson-Odoi, Marcos Alonso and Christian Pulisic all leading the way on two – alongside captain César Azpilicueta – which should please Lampard for differing reasons.

And that being, the much-maligned Alonso is proving his worth, having now been involved in 26 goals across 100 league games (scoring 15 and creating 11) since the 2016/17 season began.

It turns out he’s still got a role to play. Hudson-Odoi, meanwhile, seems to have never been away despite being recently sidelined with a serious ankle injury and Pulisic shouldn’t be dismissed.