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Friday, March 22

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Live Commentary: Chelsea 0-0 Southampton

By , Senior Reporter | 2mo
Relive Sports Mole's live coverage as Southampton hold Chelsea to a goalless draw in Wednesday's Premier League fixture at Stamford Bridge.

Southampton have produced a spirited performance to hold Chelsea to a goalless draw in Wednesday's Premier League fixture at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea had been looking to re-open their five-point advantage over fifth-placed Arsenal, but the Blues struggled against a well-organised Saints defence.

Eden Hazard had a chance in either half, but Southampton were full value for their point and first clean sheet in the top flight in 11 attempts.

Find out how all of the action unfolded in West London courtesy of Sports Mole's minute-by-minute updates below.

Hello and welcome to Sports Mole's live coverage of the match in the Premier League between Chelsea and Southampton. Both teams are in need of improvement at opposite ends of the table, and the pressure is on to achieve a result at Stamford Bridge.
Without further ado, let's see who features in each starting lineup, beginning with the home side...
CHELSEA XI: Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho, Barkley; Willian, Morata, Hazard

CHELSEA SUBSTITUTES: Caballero, Zappacosta, Christensen, Emerson, Ampadu, Fabregas, Loftus-Cheek

SOUTHAMPTON XI: Gunn; Yoshida, Vestergaard, Bednarek; Soares, Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Valery; Armstrong, Redmond, Ings

SOUTHAMPTON SUBSTITUTES: McCarthy, Stephens, Ramsey, Slattery, Elyounoussi, Long, Austin

Let's start with Chelsea and as expected, there is no Olivier Giroud who sustained an ankle injury during the game against Crystal Palace at the weekend. It means that Alvaro Morata starts for the Blues for the first time since their final group-stage fixture in the Europa League on December 13.
Mateo Kovacic had been expected to come back into the team as a replacement for Ross Barkley, but the Englishman remains in the team with Kovacic missing out on a place in the squad. The Croatian is presumably carrying a knock.
The backline has remained the same, with Sarri avoiding the temptation to rest a couple of his defenders. Those alterations may come against Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup at the weekend.
As you can see from the bench, Chelsea are really struggling for options in the final third. Loftus-Cheek features among the replacements after a back problem, but it is unclear whether he is 100%. The same can be said of Cesc Fabregas. Pedro and Callum Hudson-Odoi remain sidelined with hamstring injuries.
As for Southampton, Ralph Hasenhuttl has opted to give a first Premier League start of the season to Angus Gunn, who has taken the place of Alex McCarthy between the sticks. The former Manchester City man has previously impressed in the EFL Cup.
Hasenhuttl has made wholesale changes and it also includes a change in formation. The Saints look like they are going with three at the back tonight, and it means a return for Maya Yoshida. Cedric Soares also comes back into the fold at right wing-back with Yan Valery being deployed on the opposite flank.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is suspended so Oriol Romeu and James Ward-Prowse will feature in the centre of the park. Stuart Armstrong, Nathan Redmond and Danny Ings have also been restored to make up the front three.
Mohamed Elyounoussi, Shane Long and Charlie Austin are all attacking options on the bench. There is also a place in the squad for Callum Slattery, who has come through the academy system, while Kayne Ramsey is back on the bench after being handed a start against Manchester City at the weekend.
Fourth-placed Chelsea head into this contest with the opportunity to move to within one point of Manchester City, who play host to Liverpool on Thursday night.

Southampton only remain out of the relegation zone on goal difference, but victory at Stamford Bridge could take the Saints as high as 15th position.

This man has contributed 10 goals and nine assists in the Premier League this season. Southampton have been warned...


Chelsea suffered defeat to Leicester City in their last home outing, and a further setback here would represent the first time that they have lost back-to-back games in the top flight since the closing months of 2011.
The Blues are also looking to achieve back-to-back clean sheets in the league for the first time this season. Surely they have to record two shutouts in a row at some stage?
This is the first time that Chelsea have began a calendar year at Stamford Bridge for six years! On that occasion, they lost to Queens Park Rangers.
Hazard loves playing against the Saints. Not only did he play a starring role in the reverse fixture earlier this season, he has contributed four goals and three assists in his last six outings.
Morata is back in the team tonight, but it has been almost two months since the Spaniard scored in the Premier League. A double was netted against Crystal Palace at the beginning of November.
Let's turn our attention to Southampton now who are looking to avoid a third successive defeats. Hasenhuttl has watched his players lose out to West Ham United and Manchester City over the Christmas period.
Hasenhuttl will also be keen to improved his side's defensive record on the road. As many as 21 goals have been conceded in away fixtures this season, which is the second-worst total in the division.
However, that may be easier said than done. Southampton have not kept a clean sheet in their last 10 league matches!
A number of the club's youngsters have been blooded since the start of the season and it has led to as many as 25 players being used in the Premier League this season. All but one of those - Tyreke Johnson - has started a match. That will increase to 26 with the inclusion of Angus Gunn, and a debut for Slattery will take the total to 27...
Sounds like we can expect a bold performance from the visitors this evening...


PREDICTION! Chelsea have failed to score more than two goals in a Premier League match for two months, and that may continue on Wednesday evening due to their mounting injury list. However, the Blues have also won a number of tight contests and we are backing Sarri's men to do the same in this game.
HEAD TO HEAD! Tonight's meeting will represent the 104th competitive encounter between the two clubs, with Chelsea winning 45 times in comparison to 30 victories for Southampton.
The Saints went through a period between 2013 and 2015 where they only suffered three defeats in eight outings against the West Londoners, but that has changed in recent years. Chelsea have prevailed in each of the last seven matches in all competitions with 17 goals being scored during those fixtures.
There are five other fixtures taking place this evening, and you are able to follow the contest between Newcastle United and Manchester United by clicking here.
It's time for the two teams to start making their way out in West London. It's a chilly evening in the capital, and both sets of supporters will want their attendance rewarding with a strong showing from their respective sides.
A reminder of the two starting lineups...

CHELSEA XI: Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho, Barkley; Willian, Morata, Hazard

SOUTHAMPTON XI: Gunn; Yoshida, Vestergaard, Bednarek; Soares, Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Valery; Armstrong, Redmond, Ings

KICKOFF:  Chelsea get us underway at Stamford Bridge.
It has been all Chelsea during the opening stages. Southampton have barely had a touch of the ball. However, for all of their possession, the Blues have not come close to creating a chance.
More of the same from the home side but still no opportunities. Hazard almost picked out the run of Willian in the final third, but the pass was marginally over-hit.
Chelsea are playing some attractive stuff - probably in an attempt to draw Southampton out - but so far, Southampton are prepared to sit deep and let their hosts have the ball.
The home side win a free kick on the edge of the area, but Alonso's effort is deflected off target. Nothing comes from the resulting corner.
Southampton finally have some possession and a diagonal ball almost leads to a chance. However, Arrizabalaga is out quickly to head the ball away.
SHOT!  Back come Chelsea and a floated pass over the top of the Southampton defence finds Morata, but the Spaniard's first-time header from the edge of the box is tame and goes straight at Gunn.
SHOT!  Southampton have started to make an impact in this match. A cross from the left finds Ings, but the forward sends a header over the crossbar from around 12 yards out.
That said, Southampton are leaving more space at the back due to the greater ambition that they are showing. Chelsea just broke rapidly down the left but a cross towards Morata and Willian was over-hit.
This has quickly developed into a fairly open game. Hasenhuttl suggested that his team would push forward and that is exactly what they are doing.
The last two minutes have been fairly quiet with both teams choosing to keep hold of the ball. There is still space available to go forward, but there is a tactical battle going on when either side are in possession.
We are still awaiting a goal in any of the six Premier League fixtures this evening. Maybe it is going to be one of those nights...
Better from Chelsea who take the direct approach down the right. Willian eventually receives the ball and cuts inside, but his goalbound effort is well blocked by a defender.
Chelsea have started to control possession again but when they take the measured approach, they are not really hurting Southampton. The Saints front three are equally not offering much at the other end.
See the previous post. Parts of tonight's game have felt like a training session, especially for Chelsea. Maybe this is Sarri's way of protecting his players against further injuries.
YELLOW CARD!  Bednarek goes into the book for a late challenge on Morata on the halfway line. Good decision from the referee.
Bednarek does the same to Hazard just a couple of minutes later. That was risky. Chelsea are still dominating the ball.
CHANCE!  Finally, a clear-cut chance. A long ball picks out the run of Hazard who controls the pass beautifully. The Belgian should score from 10 yards out, but Gunn stays big to make a fine save.
Willian is clattered by Yoshida and it has led to some treatment for the Brazilian. The playmaker doesn't look happy at all and is walking gingerly having got back to his feet. I think Loftus-Cheek is being readied...
SUBSTITUTION! Yet another injury to an attacker. The change takes place with Loftus-Cheek being introduced.
Loftus-Cheek is lining up on the right flank, leaving Barkley to remain as a left-sided central midfielder. It will be interesting to see if the substitute stays out wide. Chelsea cannot afford to become too narrow.
SHOT!  Best move of the move. Chelsea string together several passes from right to left and Morata is provided with the chance to get a first-time shot away from around 12 yards out. However, Soares gets across to deflect the ball wide.
There has been a greater spring in Chelsea's step since Loftus-Cheek's introduction. Expect Southampton to go ultra defensive in these closing stages or else all of their hard work and discipline has been for nothing.
Southampton have gone one better, managing to regain possession and launch an attack. However, Valery's cross is comfortably cleared.
There will be two minutes of added-on time.
HALF TIME:  Chelsea 0-0 Southampton
The half-time whistle goes at Stamford Bridge and we remain goalless. It has not been the greatest 45 minutes of football with only Hazard's effort coming close to breaking the deadlock.
I mentioned earlier that there had been no goals in any of the other matches. Well, things have changed considerably. Click here to take a look at our live scores section.
KICKOFF:  We are back underway.
SUBSTITUTION! Southampton have decided to make a change at the break with Long being introduced for Ings.
SHOT!  Southampton have gone straight onto the attack and have already managed to force Arrizabalaga into action. I'm not sure that Armstrong's 20-yard curler was going to find the far bottom corner, but the Spanish stopper still tipped the ball away for a corner.
You have to say that Southampton are having the better of the early stages of the second half. The Saints win a free kick in a threatening area, but Chelsea survive with a foul being given on the edge of the box.
The home supporters are trying to lift their side. Sarri will hope that these 11 players can work together to put his side into the lead because there are very few alternatives on the bench.
Chelsea are seeing more of the ball but they still look short of ideas. A draw would be a great result for the visitors, but maybe there is an opportunity to achieve more.
You wouldn't go as far as saying that this game is simply drifting along, but neither side look that lively on the ball. Chelsea need to go up a couple of gears.
Chelsea spark into life but they can only win a free kick around 25 yards out. This is in Luiz range, especially with Willian off the pitch. However, it is fired straight into the wall.
SHOT!  Is this a sign of things to come? Hazard picks up the ball on the left, cuts inside and sees a well-struck effort towards the near corner diverted behind by Gunn.
We are through an hour in West London. Chelsea are still having their moments, but this has not been a good performance from the home side. Southampton continue to hold their own.
SHOT!  Southampton get forward and the ball is only half-cleared to the edge of the area where Romeu is waiting. The former Chelsea man shoots first time but Arrizabalaga makes an easy save.
The Saints now win a free kick on the edge of the area. Ward-Prowse takes responsibility for it, but the shot goes into the wall.
Sarri has sent Fabregas out to warm-up. The playmaker normally comes on for Jorginho but given Chelsea's lack of options, don't be surprised to see Barkley taken off.
SHOT!  Jorginho gets into a position to get an effort away from around 25 yards out, but his rising shot is straight at Gunn.
SUBSTITUTION! Chelsea's second change sees Fabregas replace Barkley.
I'm not so confident that we are going to get any goals in this match. Chelsea just can't get going in the final third. They may need something special from Hazard or a set piece to break down this Southampton defence.
DISALLOWED GOAL!  As i say that, Chelsea have the ball in the back of the net after Morata receives a Fabregas pass and sends the ball past Gunn, but the assistant's flag goes up. It's extremely tight.
Chelsea are attempting to play a lot faster but so far, Southampton are dealing with everything that comes their way.
YELLOW CARD!  Rudiger picks up a yellow card for Chelsea after barging into the back of Long.
The frustration in this Chelsea side is building. Luiz fails to get on the end of a set piece and the Brazilian is quick to show his anger.
CHANCE!  Morata should do a lot better here. The Spaniard is found on the left-hand side of the penalty area but despite having just Gunn to beat, a tame shot is fired straight at the goalkeeper.
YELLOW CARD!  Romeu is booked for a cynical shirt-tug. The referee wastes little time in dishing out his yellow card.
Southampton certainly aren't settling for a point. The visitors break forward down the right through Valery, but the youngster's cross is over-hit and Soares cannot do anything with it on the opposite flank.
This game is starting to peter out ever so slightly. Chelsea just aren't doing enough when they have the ball.
Soares has picked up what appears to a knock to his knee. He is able to hobble off but it is unclear whether Hasenhuttl will be forced into a change.
Loftus-Cheek takes it upon himself to try to weave his way into the penalty area, but Yoshida makes a super tackle to deny the England international. Just the three minutes to go.
SUBSTITUTION! Another alteration for Southampton sees Austin replace Armstrong.
There will be four minutes of added-on time.
SHOT!  Such is Chelsea's desperation that Alonso attempts a shot from 35 yards out. You guessed it. It doesn't come close to beating Gunn.
SHOT!  Alonso is closer this time and finds the target, but Gunn makes a comfortable save. That could be that.
FULL TIME:  Chelsea 0-0 Southampton
The full-time whistle goes at Stamford Bridge and Chelsea and Southampton have played out a goalless draw. The home side never really progressed out of second gear and in the end, Southampton were fully deserving of their point.
That will be all from Sports Mole for this game. Thank you for joining us this evening and we hope to see you again soon. Goodbye for now.



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last updated article - 2019-01-05 12:59:21:
html db last update - 2019-03-08 16:40:27 :

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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool31237170185276
2Manchester CityMan City30242479215874
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs30201957322561
4Arsenal30186663392460
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd30177658401858
6Chelsea30176750331757
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves30128103836244
8Watford30127114244-243
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham31126134146-542
10Leicester CityLeicester31125144043-341
11Everton31117134342140
12Bournemouth31115154356-1338
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle3198143140-935
14Crystal Palace3096153641-533
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2996143242-1033
16Southampton3079143450-1630
17Burnley3186173559-2430
18Cardiff CityCardiff3084182757-3028
19Fulham3145222970-4117
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield3135231857-3914
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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool31237170185276
2Manchester CityMan City30242479215874
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs30201957322561
4Arsenal30186663392460
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd30177658401858
6Chelsea30176750331757
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves30128103836244
8Watford30127114244-243
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham31126134146-542
10Leicester CityLeicester31125144043-341
11Everton31117134342140
12Bournemouth31115154356-1338
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle3198143140-935
14Crystal Palace3096153641-533
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2996143242-1033
16Southampton3079143450-1630
17Burnley3186173559-2430
18Cardiff CityCardiff3084182757-3028
19Fulham3145222970-4117
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield3135231857-3914
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