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Blues drop to fourth after St. Mary’s loss
Chelsea dropped back to fourth place in the Premier League after they were beaten 2-1 by Southampton at St. Mary’s on Saturday.
With the Blues losing to the Saints and Tottenham beating Swansea, the combination of results sees the two teams swap places in the league standings as they battle for third behind the two Manchester clubs.
Southampton started strongly, taking the game to their visitors from the outset. Midway through the first half they were rewarded for their pressure when Jay Rodriguez opened the scoring, shooting home from about 10 metres out after some good build-up play.
However, the Saints’ lead lasted just 10 minutes before John Terry – making a rare start under Rafa Benitez’s leadership – scored with a typical header from Marko Marin’s corner kick to make it 1-1.
But if Chelsea through they had got themselves back in the game, they were quickly pegged back again when Ricki Lambert put Southampton back in front at 2-1. The cult hero scored direct from a free kick on 35 minutes after Ryan Bertrand had fouled Steven Davis.
Southampton switched their goalkeepers at the start of the second half, with Artur Boruc making way for Kelvin Davis, and the substitute made an excellent save on 59 minutes, tipping over an effort from Victor Moses.
Chelsea looked to get themselves back in the game by throwing on the likes of Eden Hazard, Yossi Benayoun and Ramires, but the Saints themselves had arguably the better scoring chances in the last quarter of the match.
In the end, Southampton were able to hold out for an important victory that lifts them further away from the relegation zone, while Chelsea slip back to fourth place in the race for the Champions League berths.