Chelsea 3-3 Southampton: Werner brilliance not enough as Blues’ defensive woes (and Kepa) prove costly once more
Chelsea’s thrilling 3-3 stalemate with Southampton this afternoon proved an altogether mixed bag for Frank Lampard’s stars.
Southampton leave it late
The Blues welcomed Ralph Hasenhüttl’s men to Stamford Bridge a short time ago, for their first outing since the international break.
Chelsea headed into proceedings on the back of a largely hit-and-miss opening to the campaign.
The Londoners had managed wins in just 2 of their last 5 across all competitions before today, a run which included a 3-3 stalemate with relegation candidates West Brom, and a League Cup exit at the hands of Tottenham.
Their most recent outing, though, did see Lampard’s outfit down Crystal Palace by 4 goals to nil.
As such, Chelsea no doubt fancied their chances of adding a 2nd-straight confidence building win versus the admittedly plucky Saints this afternoon.
When the 90 minutes were said and done, however, this did not prove the case…
The hosts took the lead in the clash with a quarter of an hour on the clock, through a moment of Timo Werner magic.
The German international burst clear towards the Southampton box courtesy of a wonderful dummy, before displaying remarkable patience to dance beyond the visitors’ backline, and slot home into the far corner.
Timo Werner scores his first Premier League goal for Chelsea
— B/R Football (@brfootball) October 17, 2020
And Werner was back at it again just before the half-hour mark. On this occasion it was a clever looping Jorginho pass which sent the former Leipzig man clear, with Werner having gone on to loft the ball over the advancing Alex McCarthy, and nod home into an empty net.
Southampton, however, soon fought back, and in impressive fashion.
First, on the stroke of half-time, after Kai Havertz needlessly surrendered possession in his own half, Che Adams slipped in Danny Ings, to round Kepa for a simple finish.
The away side’s 2nd, meanwhile, was also completely avoidable from a Chelsea perspective.
On this occasion, it was the much-maligned Kepa largely at fault.
After Kurt Zouma laid a slightly under-hit pass back to the Spaniard, Kepa, under pressure from Che Adams, somehow conspired to completely miss the ball, resulting in a wild scuffle which eventually allowed Adams to drive an effort into the roof of the hosts’ net.
A lapse in concentration on Southampton’s part just two minutes later, however, allowed Chelsea to take the lead once more.
Werner was once again key for the Blues, bursting down the right flank, before setting up fellow countryman Kai Havertz for the simplest of finishes from 6 yards.
6 – Kai Havertz is the sixth different German player to score a Premier League goal for Chelsea (also Ballack, Marin, Schürrle, Rüdiger and Werner) – no side has more in the competition (Arsenal and Man City also 6). Sechsy. #CHESOU
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 17, 2020
But, just when it appeared as though Chelsea had the 3 points in the bag, the never-say-die Saints struck once more.
On this occasion, a lofted set-piece delivery into the home side’s box was only headed as far as Theo Walcott, who’s cross-shot effort across goal was nodded home by the stooping Jannik Vestergaard.
The final minutes played out with Southampton well on top, but unable to find a winner, as both sides were forced to settle for a point.
Blues’ defensive deficiencies highlighted once more
Evidently, based on both the scoreline and statistics, Chelsea’s fans will once again be left scratching their heads this evening, as yet another inquest is launched into the club’s early season struggles.
Considering the money splashed out by Roman Abramovich and co. this summer, the form of the Londoners, even when taking into account the lack of time to properly gel, has just not been good enough.
One man who can of course hold his head high on the back of his individual performance this afternoon is Timo Werner.
The explosive attacker finally provided the Blues faithful with a glimpse of what he is capable of when firing on all cylinders, with his 2 goals and assist just reward for a brave, intent-filled showing.
Where it all came unstuck for Chelsea once again versus Southampton, though, was at the back.
Granted, neither Edouard Mendy or Thiago Silva were available for selection to Frank Lampard.
However, back-5 aside, the Blues, as has been a common theme for some time now, simply didn’t defend as a unit.
There is a fundamental problem with Lampard’s current setup, and though the leadership of the aforementioned Silva could go some way towards aiding such shortcomings, he cannot do so alone.
This is not to say that the one man to have been completely and utterly at fault for Southampton’s 2nd should escape blame… Far from it.
Kepa Arrizabalaga, handed his latest opportunity to redeem himself in Chelsea colours today, once again, failed to step up when his side needed him most.
The Spaniard simply cannot be relied upon to perform at the level required of a Premier League goalkeeper anymore, with veteran Willy Caballero now undoubtedly a more reliable backup option to presumed first-choice Mendy.
It has almost become difficult to watch Kepa, clearly bereft of any kind of confidence, take to the pitch, with a January move elsewhere surely now a priority for club and player alike.
Every shot on target v Kepa in his last 10 Premier League games:
Goal Goal Goal Goal Goal Save Save Goal Goal Goal Save Goal Goal Goal Save Goal Goal Save Goal Save Save Goal Goal Save Save Goal Goal pic.twitter.com/SSbdTA9OUo
— bet365 (@bet365) October 17, 2020
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