Southampton 2-1 Chelsea: Thomas Tuchel’s side lose AGAIN on the road

Firstly, Southampton took the points. And then they rubbed salt in Chelsea’s wounds by taking the mickey too.

As their players soaked up the adulation on a deserved full-time lap of honour and a jubilant Ralph Hasenhuttl whipped up the crowd, they did so as ABBA’s Money Money Money was being pumped through the stadium speakers.

It would not have been just a happy coincidence.

This was Southampton – not afraid to poke fun at themselves, as they did following Bournemouth’s 9-0 loss at Liverpool by referencing their own two defeats against Leicester and Manchester United by the same scoreline – cheekily enjoying their moment, beating the Premier League’s big spenders and extending the stop-start, frustrating beginning to the new season for Thomas Tuchel and his side.

Adam Armstrong's late first-half effort gave Southampton a rare victory over Chelsea at St Mary's on Tuesday evening

Adam Armstrong’s late first-half effort gave Southampton a rare victory over Chelsea at St Mary’s on Tuesday evening

The best part of £200m worth of signings have already been confirmed by Chelsea and there will be more to come before Thursday’s deadline. This was a timely reminder of their need for even more quality.

One of the only positives they can take away, is that they still have 48 hours to add whatever quality they can, wherever they can.

After an encouraging first half and for all their possession in the second, when they really needed to go forward they were unable to carve out the opportunities to make it count.

Their defending and resilience though was an even bigger concern for Tuchel after captain Cesar Azpilicueta gifted Southampton their first goal and then the hosts passed through Chelsea and had far too much space for their second.

Romeo Lavia put in another assured display in the middle of the park for Saints, capping his performance with the equaliser

Romeo Lavia put in another assured display in the middle of the park for Saints, capping his performance with the equaliser

‘Both goals are cheap goals and they should not happen,’ Tuchel fumed. ‘They should not happen if you expect to win a Premier League match in the evening in an away stadium.’

Southampton have spent by their recent standards, though only roughly a quarter of Chelsea’s outlay so far, underlining the disparity between the two clubs.

There are times when Southampton’s faith in youth will look like a huge gamble. And there are times when it will look like a masterstroke of a philosophy. This was the latter.

Their youthful, relentless energy made them hard for Chelsea to stifle at certain times and hard to find a way past or shrug off at others.

The scorer of their equaliser, gifted, teenage midfielder Romeo Lavia encapsulated that, marking another mature performance with his first ever senior goal before succumbing to an injury on the hour which Ralph Hasenhuttl fears might keep him sidelined for a while. 

Chelsea struggled to live with the intense running of Southampton and lost grip of the game after Saints equalised

Chelsea struggled to live with the intense running of Southampton and lost grip of the game after Saints equalised

Meanwhile, France-born Germany youngster, centre-back Armel Bella-Kotchap, was Southampton’s standout performer in defence but far from the only one.

Both prospects arrived in the summer as part of Southampton’s youth recruitment drive as they look to build around promising talent.

It was not hard to see why Lavia and Bella-Kotchap fit the bill for the direction Southampton are going in.

Hasenhuttl said: ‘I said it from the first day that we have the feeling that we have a team that is young but there is a lot of empty space on the hard disk and they can learn.

‘We have won one time away at Chelsea since I was here, that was four years ago but at home not for a while and it was time to take something.’

Armstrong caused Chelsea's back four plenty of problems throughout and Thomas Tuchel's side struggled on the night

Armstrong caused Chelsea’s back four plenty of problems throughout and Thomas Tuchel’s side struggled on the night

The opening was a sign of things to come, particularly from Southampton.

It was a high-energy start on a St Mary’s pitch that had been ravaged by a disease which would normally have cured were it not for the heat.

But, as the game began to settle down, the visitors started to have their own encouraging moments.

Raheem Sterling shot straight at Gavin Bazunu after being put through by Mason Mount, Mohammed Salisu produced two key interventions before Bella-Kotchap produced an applause-earning piece of expert defending that belied his 20 years.

Faced with Sterling running at him supported by teammates to his left, Bella-Kotchap delayed and delayed, refusing to commit and make up the England man’s mind, before producing a perfectly timed interception to dispossess. That was though, just a temporary reprieve for Southampton.

Raheem Sterling gave Chelsea a deserved lead but thereafter they lost grip on the game on a difficult night in Southampton

Raheem Sterling gave Chelsea a deserved lead but thereafter they lost grip on the game on a difficult night in Southampton

Seconds later, Chelsea flooded forward again, Kai Havertz and Mount combined to tee up Sterling who spun and fired in at the second attempt.

But Chelsea handed Southampton a route back into the game and it was not a great sequence of events for recalled captain Azpilicueta.

Firstly, he needlessly conceded a corner with a poor back-pass and then compounded that by swiping the resulting corner straight to Lavia who buried the ball past Mendy, becoming the first 2004-born player to score in the Premier League.

Questions could be raised about Edouard Mendy for Southampton's equalising goal after he got a palm to Lavia's effort

Questions could be raised about Edouard Mendy for Southampton’s equalising goal after he got a palm to Lavia’s effort

The way the young Belgian set himself before thumping the ball in so emphatically you would not have known that was his first ever senior goal.

Just as two minutes of first-half added time were announced, Adam Armstrong then opened his account for the season.

It was a patient Southampton move that he finished off as Ibrahima Diallo and James Ward-Prowse worked the ball wide to Perraud.

As all of Chelsea’s defenders rushed back to guard their goal, a composed Armstrong held his position to receive the cut back, took one touch to control and a second to fire the ball into the top corner.

Despite their need for an equaliser Southampton were the more likely scorers after the break, going close through Mohamed Elyounoussi before Salisu saw his header back-heeled off the line by Thiago Silva.

Having not scored a clinching third, though Southampton spent the closing stages largely defending.

But Bella-Kotchap, Salisu and Co relished that and held on before the roof came off St Mary’s at full time.

After a difficult summer in which questions were raised over Ralph Hasenhuttl his side have enjoyed a solid start to the season

After a difficult summer in which questions were raised over Ralph Hasenhuttl his side have enjoyed a solid start to the season

Armel Bella-Kotchap put in a stunning display of defensive assuredness to keep out Chelsea's array of attacking talent

Armel Bella-Kotchap put in a stunning display of defensive assuredness to keep out Chelsea’s array of attacking talent

Bella-Kotchap congratulates team-mate Romeo Lavia after he equalised for Southampton during the opening period

Bella-Kotchap congratulates team-mate Romeo Lavia after he equalised for Southampton during the opening period 

Thomas Tuchel was left scratching his head after his Chelsea team once again let a solid start to a game slip later on

Thomas Tuchel was left scratching his head after his Chelsea team once again let a solid start to a game slip later on

MATCH FACTS AND RATINGS 

SOUTHAMPTON (4-2-3-1): Bazunu 7.5; Walker-Peters 8, Bella-Kotchap 9, Salisu 8, Perraud 8 (Djenepo 73, 6.5); Diallo 7.5, Lavia 8 (Aribo 59, 7); Elyounoussi 7, Ward-Prowse 7.5, A Armstrong 7.5 (Lyanco 86); Adams 7.

Scorers: Lavia 28, Armstrong 45+1

Manager: Ralph Hasenhuttl 8.5

CHELSEA (4-2-2-2): Mendy 6; Azpilicueta 5 (Broja 66, 6), Silva 6.5, Koulibaly 6.5, Cucurella 7; Jorginho 5.5 (Chilwell 67, 6), Loftus-Cheek 6.5 (Kovacic 46, 6); Ziyech 6, Mount 6; Havertz 6 (Pulisic 66, 6), Sterling 6.5.

Booked: Pulisic

Scorer: Sterling 23

Manager: Thomas Tuchel 6

Referee: Michael Oliver 6

Attendance: 31,072

Relive Sportsmail’s live blog for the Premier League clash between Southampton and Chelsea below, including updates from Crystal Palace vs Brentford and Fulham vs Brighton.  

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