Tammy Abraham scored his eighth league goal of the season as in-form Chelsea swept aside Southampton at St Mary’s to climb to fifth in the Premier League.
Chelsea dominated from the outset and took the lead when Abraham’s looping finish from Callum Hudson-Odoi’s pass was adjudged to have crossed the line before Maya Yoshida’s intervention.
Mason Mount doubled the Blues’ lead from close range, before Danny Ings poked home Yan Valery’s cut-back to reduce the arrears.
The visitors restored their two-goal advantage five minutes before half-time, N’Golo Kante’s strike from the edge of the area taking a wicked deflection off Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg on its way past Angus Gunn.
Two second-half substitutes combined to set up Chelsea’s fourth, Michy Batshuayi slotting home Christian Pulisic’s through-ball to put the seal on a comfortable victory for Frank Lampard’s side.
The result leaves struggling Southampton in 16th place – just one point above the relegation zone.
Plain sailing for in-form Blues
After a stuttering start to the campaign, there are signs that this youthful Chelsea side are beginning to build up a head of steam under Lampard.
This was the Blues’ fourth successive win in all competitions – a result which lifts them level on points with fourth-placed Leicester City and only two behind champions Manchester City, who lost 2-0 at home to Wolves.
Youngsters Abraham and Mount have taken the top flight by storm after spending last season on loan at Aston Villa and Derby County respectively, and the duo were heavily involved here as the visitors raced into an early lead.
Hudson-Odoi sent a long ball over the top of the Southampton defence and Abraham was first to it, his looping finish over Gunn crossing the line before Yoshida could clear the ball to safety.
Chelsea capitalised on a poor piece of Southampton defending to double their lead seven minutes later, Mount latching on to Willian’s precise pass before slamming home his fourth league goal of the campaign.
There appeared to be no way back for the Saints at that stage as Chelsea continued to lay siege to the home goal, but Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side pulled a goal back out of nothing when Valery wriggled his way past several Blues defenders before setting up Ings, who was left with an easy finish.
There was an element of fortune about Chelsea’s third – Kante’s speculative drive deflecting off Hojbjerg and wrong-footing Gunn – but the dominant visitors could have won by a higher margin.
Hudson-Odoi was thwarted by Gunn four minutes after the restart, while Abraham and Willian both had goal-bound efforts blocked from the edge of the area.
Batshuayi eventually completed the scoring in the final minute of normal time, running on to Pulisic’s pass and slotting the ball through Gunn’s legs.
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