Chelsea showed the fight missing from recent matches to come from two goals behind at Southampton to take all three points. After creating few chances early on, the home team looked more threatening, and duly went ahead.
Zappacosta went tight to Bertrand, while Hazard, shortly after switching with Willian to come over to the right, put no pressure on the left sided centre back to play out. Bertrand played inside, where there was no pressure, and The Italian then failed to track Bertrand, forcing Azpilicueta to come across to cover. Bertrand did him for pace on the outside, before cutting back for Tadic, who’s midfield run was untracked. 1-0.
Chelsea had more possession as Southampton sat deeper after taking the lead. It was now more difficult to find players between the lines though, and although Kante and Fabregas found themselves in space deep, they had few options to pass the ball forward. Kante used the space he had to play a ball to the back post from deep, which Zappacosta headed across goal for Morata, but he headed over the bar.
A succession of corners were quickly forced, Willian finding Zappacosta on the edge of the box, his shot deflected over. The second corner was just deflected past Christensen at the far post by the keeper.
Hazard increasingly dropped deeper as the half went on but failed to create. He lost the ball, and Long got on the end of it, running into our half, before cutting inside and shooting wide. Southampton were now fashioning more chances, Long playing ball into Ward Prowse, who found Tadic, his shot forcing Courtois into a save low to his right.
Things looked to be going the way of the home side now, and they should have had a man advantage after a ridiculous challenge by Alonso on Long, planting his studs into the back of his calf. Mike Deane took no action.
The home side sat off again as Chelsea took charge of the ball, but with the saints closing the space between their defence and midfield, it made it difficult to create.
Into the second half, and Chelsea pressed on as they had to now, but an attempted Kante through ball was intercepted, and the ball over the top found Long, Christensen recovered well though, and managed to deflect his shot, this forced Courtois into an acrobatic touch over the bar. The next chance also came from a counter attack, but it was for Chelsea this time. A Southampton corner was cleared, and Hazards was found inside the home sides box, McCarthy made a good save to prevent him.
Chelsea were soon two down though. A debatable foul on the right side led to a free kick. Swung deep to the far post, Bednarek got around the back of Alonso to double the score. Poor defending.
Now with three goals to find in order to take all three points, Conte removed the ineffectual Morata, and wing back Zappacosta, replacing them with Pedro and Giroud. This led to a rare change to a back four. Hazard went up top with Giroud, while Pedro and Willian flanked a four-man midfield now. This seemed to have an instant impact on proceedings. The pressure was all on the Southampton goal now, and Chelsea had more options wide, with less chance of being exposed in these areas on the counter thanks to the presence of full backs now.
This tactical change from Conte proved to be the turning point in the match. Three goals in eight minutes were forthcoming as Chelsea showed the fight that has been lacking from recent performances to take away the three points. The first came as Kante found Alonso wide on the left, and from his cross Giroud got between both centre backs to head home a great centre forwards goal. Constant pressure ensued, and the equaliser also came from a cross from the left, this time provided by Willian, low into Hazard, who despatched into the roof of the net. There only looked like one winner now. Shortly after the leveller the winner came with Southampton on the ropes. Hazard played a ball in, again from the left. Cahill headed into the air, it fell nicely for Giroud who tucked a smart volley into the bottom corner.
It wasn’t over yet, a free header from a corner could have seen the visitors level it up but flew over. There collapse after taking a two goal lead will surely have an effect in their relegation battle.
Chelsea (3-4-3) Giroud 70, 78, Hazard 75
Courtois; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Cahill ©;
Zappacosta, (Pedro 61) Kante, Fabregas, Alonso;
Hazard, (Moses 86) Morata, (Giroud 61) Willian
Southampton (3-4-3) Tadic 21, Bednarek 60
McCarthy; Bednarek (Gabbiadini 90+2), Yoshida, Hoedt; Soares, Romeu, Hojbjerg, Bertrand (c); Ward-Prowse (Austin 79), Long, Tadic (Sims 83).