Chelsea are six points clear at the summit of the Premier League, despite a 1-1 draw against top-four chasing Southampton at Stamford Bridge.
Diego Costa scored for the Blues after just 11 minutes, as he placed a towering header from a pin-point Branislav Ivanovic cross from the right-flank. This was Costa’s 18th goal of the season, which took him to the top of the Premier League golden boot table.
The Saints then cancelled Chelsea’s lead only eight minutes later from the penalty spot, with Serbian Dusan Tadic scoring his fourth goal of the season. The controversial penalty was given after Saido Mane, who was a constant hassle behind the Chelsea defence, was fouled by Serbian midfielder Nemanja Matic.
Jose Mourinho’s wise words at half-time looked to have worked, as he brought on Ramires, which gave the Blues control; they were on the front foot for most of the second half, piling the pressure on Southampton. The Brazilian gave the injection of pace that their midfield needed, however they came up against in form Fraser Forster.
The Southampton goalkeeper, who was the man of the match, made a catalogue of fine saves to preserve a point in a much better second-half performance from the Blues. He made a vital point-blank save from Loic Remy at the death, and also excellent saves from Oscar, Hazard and Cezar Azpilicueta. Forster’s brilliant form will be alerting Roy Hodgson.
The hosts also had grounds for a penalty appeal of their own, when Ivanovic appeared to be tripped by Tadic, but the referee waved away appeals, as he looked theatrical going down.
With a first title since 2010 in sight, Jose Mourinho will rue not grabbing the three points and putting eight points between Chelsea and Manchester City, going into their last ten games of the season, but on reflection, a draw was probably a fair result, despite Chelsea’s spirited second-half performance.
Southampton leapfrogged Tottenham into sixth, after the result which they really were the better side in the opening period and should have gone in up for the break. #Football