Chelsea missed the opportunity to reduce the gap with second-placed Manchester United as they played out a 1-1 draw against Southampton. Despite having over 70% of possession, the Blues struggled to create any clearcut opportunities against the Saints. The Blues remain unbeaten under Thomas Tuchel, having won 4 and drawn 2 since his arrival.
Tuchel ringed in the changes again for Chelsea by replacing Jorginho and Christensen with Zouma and Kante. The Blues made a confident start to the game and dominated possession in the early minutes. Alonso missed a great chance to give Chelsea the lead, as the unmarked left-wing-back volleyed wide from James’s cross.
Chelsea continued to dominate the game, but struggled to create any clearcut opportunities to trouble the Southampton goalkeeper. However, it was Southampton who scored the opening goal of the game against the run of play. Taki Minamino produced a composed finish by dummying Mendy and Azpilicueta to give the hosts a surprise lead.
The visitors were level in the opening minutes of the second half as Mount converted a penalty after Danny Ings brought down the midfielder. The Blues continued their possession-based approach with a higher tempo in search of a winner. Southampton on the other hand were content to sit back and hit Chelsea on the counter.
The hosts almost took the lead for the second time in the game through Vestergaard, who saw his header cannon off the bar with Mendy rooted to his spot. Tuchel replaced Kovacic and Hudson-Odoi, who came on as a half-time substitute, with Jorginho and Ziyech to push Chelsea forward for a winning goal.
Reece James missed the best chance to win it for Chelsea in the 81st minute, as the right-back skied his effort well over the bar from 8 yards out. Both teams played out the remaining minutes without creating any opportunities to share the points.
Tuchel on Hudson-Odoi substitution
Callum Hudson-Odoi, who was brought on at half-time was hauled off 30 minutes into second-half to be replaced by Ziyech. Speaking to reporters after the game, Thomas Tuchel said “In a game that it is hard to create chances you need to rely on counter pressing to maybe force errors and get an easy chance. For that you need to be totally on and sharp.”
“I didn’t feel this from Callum today. He missed chances to counter press, missed easy balls. I didn’t think he felt the game. Maybe it was unfair but I didn’t get the feeling today that I normally get from him.”
“It was a hard decision but nothing that will stick for long. Tomorrow it will be forgotten and we will prepare for Atletico.”