Chelsea 0 Southampton 1
Premier League bottom club Southampton continued Chelsea’s miserable season with a shock victory at Stamford Bridge.
A characteristically stunning free-kick from James Ward-Prowse on the stroke of half-time gave the Saints a deserved lead and some determined defending in the second half helped the visitors secure only their second win in 11 games – nine of which have ended in defeat.
Blues boss Graham Potter made six changes to the side that lost to Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday with Pierre Emerick Aubamayang again left out of the squad.
Managerless Southampton started well and almost took the lead in the second minute when Stuart Armstrong’s low shot was blocked on the line by Kalidou Koulibaly after Kepa blocked Kamaideen Sulemana’s shot.
Giant striker Paul Onuachu then headed just wide as Chelsea struggled to deal with Southampton’s front-foot approach.
Ward-Prowse, who is now one behind equalling David Beckham’s record for the most goals from free-kicks in Premier League history, then stepped up from 25 yards after Cesar Azpilicueta brought down Armstrong and beat Kepa with a sumptuous effort.
Chelsea, who have scored just seven Premier League goals since October, had plenty of the ball in the second half but apart from a Raheem Sterling shot blocked superbly on the line by Romain Perraud, the Saints dealt relatively comfortably with what was thrown at them.
To compound the Blues’ woeful afternoon, Azpilicueta was stretchered off with a nasty-looking head injury that caused a nine-minute break in play when he was kicked by Sekou Mara as he attempted an ambitious bicycle kick.
Chelsea: Kepa, Azpilicueta (Chalobah 84), Koulibaly (Wesley Fofana 45), Badiashile, Chilwell (Gallagher 84), Fernandez, Kovacic, Felix, David Fofana (Sterling 45), Medueke (Mudryk 64) Mount (Havertz 64).