Southampton 2-1 Chelsea: Player Ratings
Jay Rodriguez gave the Saints a warranted lead on 23 minutes after a great one-two with Steven Davis before John Terry headed home unmarked from a corner to equalise.
However, the home side monopolised possession and just two minutes after Chelsea levelled, a tremendous free-kick from Rickie Lambert restored Southampton’s advantage.
The result gives Mauricio Pochettino’s side a major boost in their battle against relegation, lifting them to 12th in the Premier League and four points clear of the drop zone.
Chelsea – who joined a list of teams including Manchester City and Liverpool who have lost at St Mary’s this season – dropped to fourth, with Arsenal just two points behind them in the race to secure Champions League football for next season.
Read on below for our player ratings from the potentially pivotal clash.
Artur Boruc – 6 – Was calm and composed in the first period, and the fault of Terry’s goal lay firmly at the door of his defenders. Was replaced by Kelvin Davis at half-time after seemingly picking up a knock.
Nathaniel Clyne – 8 – If this was his audition for a move to Chelsea amid transfer speculation over the last week, he passed it emphatically. He was a constant threat down the right and the performance from this bundle of energy helped put the Blues on the back foot.
Maya Yoshida – 7 – Was very comfortable in possession and a calming presence at the back, which is a crucial element of Pochettino’s style of play. Chelsea appealed for a penalty when he seemed to block the run of Victor Moses in the second half, and it was a decision which could have gone either way.
Jos Hooiveld – 6 – On the whole, this was a good performance by the Dutch centre-back, particularly in the closing stages as Chelsea attempted to put pressure on the hosts. However, his display was spoiled by his role in Terry’s equaliser, after he let the Chelsea skipper get away from him before slipping, leaving the former England international unmarked.
Luke Shaw – 7 – The left-back is just 17 but put in yet another extremely mature display against the side he grew up supporting. The Englishman loves getting forward but is also more than capable defensively, although he was tested at times by the lively Moses.
Morgan Schneiderlin – 7 – The Frenchman continues to impress in Southampton’s midfield, and you get the feeling he is vital to the club’s future success. He keeps the ball ticking over and is a vital cog in the machine Pochettino is building, helping to start attacks from deep and often finding himself in a forward position.
Steven Davis – 8 – This was arguably the Northern Irishman’s best performance in a Southampton shirt as he used his passing ability to great effect. He was able to switch his team from defence to attack with relative ease, and his great one-two with Rodriguez for the opener set the Saints on their way.
Jack Cork – 6 – The midfielder Chelsea let go as a youngster showed them exactly what they are missing to an extent, although he was slightly overshadowed by his partners in the centre of the park. He nonetheless did a very important job for Pochettino’s side.
Jason Puncheon – 6 – The winger is having a more than decent season for the Saints, but this was an uncharacteristically quiet display from him. As with all of his team-mates, though, he showed a great desire to work hard throughout before being replaced by James Ward-Prowse in the second half.
Rickie Lambert – 8 – What often goes unnoticed about Lambert is his work-rate, and he showed it in abundance here by proving a constant threat, always willing to drift into the channels. His fantastic trademark free-kick restored Southampton’s lead and left Petr Cech with no chance. It was his 14th league goal of the season, making Lambert the top-scoring Englishman in the Premier League.
Jay Rodriguez – 9 – Man of the Match. If Rodriguez has lived in Lambert’s shadow at times this season, this was the game he stepped out of it. He is another who works extremely hard, and he started very brightly to put Chelsea on the back foot. Rodriguez produced a number of good moments during the game and could have scored more than just the one he managed, which came after great movement and a cool finish following a terrific one-two with Davis.
Kelvin Davis (for Boruc, 46) – 7 – Came on at half-time and was rarely called upon, but produced a fantastic save to tip Victor Moses’ effort onto the bar after the Nigerian hit a powerful shot into the ground.
James Ward-Prowse (for Puncheon, 62) – 6 – The youngster had a great chance to end Chelsea’s chances by finding an unmarked Davis, who would have had an open goal, but couldn’t quite get the direction of his pass right.
Danny Fox (for Davis, 85) – n/a – Came on for Davis in the closing stages as Pochettino looked to see the game out.
Petr Cech – 6 – Could do nothing about either goal, and produced a number of good saves to avoid an embarrassing scoreline for Chelsea. The menacing Rodriguez was denied on more than one occasion by Cech.
Cesar Azpilicueta – 6 – The right-back is still growing into his role at Chelsea, and had a very difficult job to stop the threats of Shaw, Puncheon and Rodriguez. However, he improved as the game went on, despite the fact he was overshadowed by opposition right-back Clyne.
Branislav Ivanovic – 5 – The Serbian looked uncomfortable at centre-back and was at fault for first goal after he was found guilty of ball-watching. After Rodriguez played it to Davis, Ivanovic failed to follow the run of the striker and left him with a gilt-edged chance one-on-one with Cech when Davis slipped it back to him, which the menacing forward duly slotted home.
John Terry – 6 – Looked rusty early on as Rodriguez threatened to run him ragged but was the one player who held Chelsea together. A terrific header by Terry brought the Blues an underserved equaliser, although shocking marking from Southampton more than played its part.
Ryan Bertrand – 6 – The English left-back was given a chance with Ashley Cole rested, and proved to be an attacking threat. However, Clyne put him under a lot of pressure defensively, as did Lambert when he drifted into the channel, and Bertrand’s inexperience showed at times.
Frank Lampard – 6 – The Chelsea legend was not able to get forward as often as he would have liked, but played a crucial deeper role. Lampard never really got a sniff of scoring once – apart from a free-kick in the closing stages – never mind the two strikes he would have needed to equal Bobby Tambling’s club goalscoring record.
Oscar – 5 – Was a peripheral presence in the game and struggled to make an impact. He has been largely unable to translate his Champions League performances to the Premier League, and was brought off with less than 15 minutes remaining.
John Obi Mikel – 6 – Southampton bossed the game in midfield, with Schneiderlin and Davis in particular pulling the strings. Mikel was unable to stem the tide or launch attacks in the same way the Saints duo did.
Victor Moses – 7 – Produced some bright play down the right, putting Shaw under pressure. The Nigerian’s first-half cross led to the corner from which Terry scored, but he gradually drifted out of the game as Shaw grew in confidence.
Marko Marin – 6 – Had a lively start, and his pinpoint corner set up Terry’s goal. However, his lack of game-time this season eventually showed as he failed to make much of an impact after Southampton went back in front, and was brought off after 60 minutes.
Fernando Torres – 6 – Wearing a mask, Torres resembled something of a super hero, but his powers seem to have escaped him over the last three years. He had a goal disallowed after 25 minutes due to offside, and jumped out of the wall for Lambert’s free-kick. Had he stayed where he was and jumped he may have been able to block it. This was far from the worst performance Torres has made for Chelsea, but he still looks a shadow of his former self.
Eden Hazard (for Marin, 60) – 7 – His introduction helped spark Chelsea into life somewhat and finally put Southampton on the back foot. Rafael Benitez perhaps left him on the bench to save him for Monday’s FA Cup tie against Manchester United, but that decision backfired.
Ramires (for Mikel, 71) – 6 – Another who surely would have started under normal circumstances. Chelsea missed his energy in midfield.
Yossi Benayoun (for Oscar, 76) – 6 – A change which was met with disapproval by Chelsea fans as Demba Ba remained on the bench despite the fact his side needed a goal.