BY PAUL LAGAN
Tammy Abraham hit his eighth league goal of the season with the opener in a 4-1 defeat of Southampton at St Mary’s Stadium.
Frank Lampard’s mix of kids and old heads are now fifth in the Premier League as Mason Mount, N’Golo Kante and substitute Michy Batshuayi scored the other goals that leaves the Saints dangling above the relegation zone.
The Blues were clinical when it mattered, while still giving the opposition some crumbs of hope with last-ditch defending and hacks off the goal line.
But while the goals go in, the odd blemish at the back will be ironed over.
Within a minute of kick-off Saint made their intentions clear by pressurising the Blues. This resulted in Nathan Redmond trying his lick from 25 yards. His blistering right-footer inched over Kepa’s’ crossbar.
The blues responded following a period of keep-ball but hitting Callum Hudson-Odoi early. He passed the ball onto Tammy Abraham, who took one touch before letting fly with a low, left-footer, which Angus Gunn did well wi grasp, diving to his left.
Jorginho was the first player in Paul Tierney’s book for a scything challenge on Redmond on 12 minutes.
Abraham chased down a defence-splitter of a ball on 16 minutes from Hudson_Odoi. He and Gunn were in a duel as to who would get to the ball first. The striker managed to latch onto the ball from just outside the penalty area. He hooked it high over Gunn. The ball dropped over the goal line with Maya Yoshida hooking the ball away. Tierney pointed toward his arm which held the goal-line technology bleeper which indicate the ball had crossed the line, much to the joy of Abraham and his team-mates.
Mason Mount, a local lad from Gosport and a committed Portsmouth fan took great delight on 24 minutes when he smashed home Chelsea’s second goal when he latched onto a through-ball – took one touch and rammed home a fierce right-footer past Gunn.
He cruised over to the nearby Saints’ fans, cupped his ears as if to say ‘can’t hear you’ before being besieged by his team-mates.
Mount should have scored number three five minutes later when Abraham set the attacking midfielder up, but he screwed the ball wide of Gunn’s right post.
But Chelsea’s inability to keep a clean sheet saw the Saints grab a lifeline. Yan Valery set off on a mazy run into the Chelsea area, his byline cross was met by Danny Ings who tucked the ball home past Kepa on 30 minutes with consummate ease.
N’Golo Kante smashed home Chelsea’s third with five minutes from time. His goal-bound shot on the edge of the Saints area, took a wicked deflection off the back of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and crashed into the back of the net.
Jorginho then produced a goal line clearance thwarting Ings who easily rounded Kepa.
There were no changes by either side at half time.
Hudson-Odoi had a great chance on 50 minutes to add to the goal tally. having received the ball from a Willian, who went off on a long run. The winger only had Gunn to beat. But his angled shot, while on target, was kicked away by the stopper.
A quick break, 58 minutes, inspired by Hudson-Odoi saw Abraham daisy-cut the ball towards goal. But Gunn was its equal.
Head coach Frank Lampard made a double substitution, bringing on Mateo Kovacic and Christian Pulisic for Mount and Hudson-Odoi on 79 minutes.
Michy Batshuayi soon replaced Abraham as Lampard attempted to game manage the final few minutes.
The Belgium international was on the pitch a matter of minutes when he beat the offside trap and smashed hime a powerful close range left-footer past a dispirited Gunn to complete the emphatic win
Teams: Chelsea, Kepa, Azpilicueta, Zouma, Tomori, Alonso, Jorginho, Kante, Abraham, Mount, Hudson-Odoi, Willian
Subs, Caballero, Christensen, Barkley, Kovacic, Pulisic, Batshuayi, James
Saints: Gunn, Yoshida, Long, Ings, Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Bertrand, Redmond, Hojbjerg, Bednarek, Valery
Subs: McCarthy, Stephens, Adams, Armstrong, Boufal, Obafemi, Danso