Live Commentary: Chelsea 3-1 Southampton - as it happened
Read how Chelsea fought from a goal down to brush aside Southampton and climb to second in the Premier League.
By Pascal Lemesre, Football League Editor Filed: Sunday, December 1, 2013 at 15:10 UK
Last Updated: Monday, December 2, 2013 at 13:32 UK
Both Chelsea and Southampton knew that come 6pm Sunday second place in the Premier League could be theirs.
Despite going ahead after 13 seconds, Southampton were blown away by Chelsea in the second half as Jose Mourinho kept up his record of never losing a home league match while in charge of the Blues.
Read how it all unfolded at Stamford Bridge in our minute-by-minute updates below.
3.11pmAfternoon all! A bumper Sunday of Premier League action is rounded off by two 4.10pm kickoffs at Manchester City and Chelsea. Our focus here will be on the Blues against the Saints but I also recommend that you open this link in a new tab to follow our coverage of Man City vs. Swansea. All done? Goody good.
3.13pmBefore we fully focus on matters at Stamford Bridge, let's just take a look at what has already happened in the top flight today...
3.14pmIn the midday kickoff, Spurs and Man Utd played out a seesaw 2-2 draw that saw Wayne Rooney twice peg back the hosts.
3.16pmUp in Yorkshire it's currently 1-1 between Hull and Liverpool at the 55-minute mark. Jake Livermore put the hosts ahead before Steven Gerrard's free kick restored parity. You can follow our live text coverage of the remainder by clicking here.
3.18pmRight, our attentions turn to the Bridge then and team news is now in from both dressing rooms...
3.22pmSOUTHAMPTON SUBS: Gazzaniga, Yoshida, Lambert, S. Davis, Cork, Chambers, Hooiveld
3.23pmBoth managers tinker with their last league lineups then. Blues boss Jose Mourinho makes three changes as Michael Essien, Juan Mata and Fernando Torres replace John Obi Mikel, Frank Lampard and Samuel Eto'o from the comfortable win at West Ham last Saturday.
3.25pmPochettino, meanwhile, brings in two new faces. Rickie Lambert and Jos Hooiveld are the two who drop to the bench as Pablo Osvaldo and Dejan Lovren come in.
3.28pmChelsea fans will no doubt be delighted to see reigning two-time player of the year Juan Mata back in the starting lineup. The creative Spaniard has found starts limited under the returning Mourinho and will be looking to make an impression on his boss today. The playmaking trio of Mata, Oscar and Eden Hazard has the potential to be frighteningly good!
3.32pmI wonder what Southampton fans will make of Lambert being dropped. He scored in both games against the Blues last season.
3.35pmSpeaking of last season, the two league fixtures had seven goals between them. In January this year the Saints staged a second-half comeback at the Bridge to earn a 2-2 draw before they beat the Blues on the South Coast 2-1.
3.38pmREFEREE WATCH! The man in black today is Michael Oliver, who is yet to show a red card this season.
3.41pmCongratulations to Chelsea centre-back John Terry as he makes his 400th Premier League appearance for the club today! The 32-year-old scored Chelsea's only goal when they last faced Southampton, will he score today?
3.44pmClick here to see how the table looks ahead of the match. Liverpool dropping points at Hull as it stands too.
3.48pmUPDATE! It looks like the Reds are going down in Hull as Martin Skrtel scores an own goal to put the Tigers 3-1 up!
3.52pmIf you scroll down on this page and check out our home table you will see that Chelsea have won five and drawn one at home this season. Only Man City (W6, D0, L0) have a better home league record. Will Southampton be the first to inflict defeat on the Blues at the Bridge?
3.55pmLiverpool have been well beaten 3-1 by Hull. That keeps Arsenal seven points clear at the top but Chelsea will cut that to either six or four with a draw or win today. Click here for our match report from events at the KC.
4pmPREDICTION TIME! Just 10 minutes until we get underway in West London so it's time to make my prediction for the match ahead: As impressive as Southampton have been against the big guns this season, it's hard to look past Chelsea today and I'm going to say 2-0 to the Blues.
4.04pmI think that the most important battle on the pitch today will be between Chelsea's creative trio of Mata, Oscar and Hazard up against the combative Southampton duo of Victor Wanyama and Morgan Schneiderlin.
4.06pmOh, and I'll be looking out for England Under-21 midfielder James Ward-Prowse who, from what I've seen this season, has perhaps the best delivery since Beckham!
4.09pmOK, everyone ready? We're about to kick off at Stamford Bridge...
1 minGoodness me, 13 seconds that took!! Michael Essien is making his first Premier League start since May 2012 and he's just gifted Southampton the lead by volleying back towards Petr Cech where Jay Rodriguez simply said 'thank you very much' by running through and tucking home.
2 minA remarkable stat from @OptaJoe on Twitter: "0.13 - For the third time this season, a player has scored after 13 seconds of a PL game (Begovic, Navas, Rodriguez). Unlikely."
4 minChelsea look to respond as they win a corner that is swung in to Cahill, whose flicked header floats a yard wide of the far post.
5 minSouthampton fans are loving this and chanting at Mourinho: "You're not special, you're not special, you're not special anymore!"
4.18pmBREAKING NEWS from Chelsea's West London neighbours as they sack Martin Jol, with Rene Meulensteen taking charge of the Cottagers.
12 minSince the early goal Southampton have continued to look assured, with Chelsea hardly threatening. Remember Mourinho's incredible home league record with Chelsea? He's never lost here at the Bridge. Could that run end at the 67th attempt today?
17 minSouthampton hold a very high line as Mata whips over a free kick from the right that is half-cleared before Cahill is flagged offside.
20 minSHOT! Perhaps Chelsea's best player this season, Oscar, has been barely been in the game until now. He's given plenty of space outside the area and whacks at goal but hits it too centrally so Boruc beats it out easily.
23 minExcellent flick-on from Hazard frees Oscar down the left. The Brazilian cuts inside before picking out Torres who can't quite turn to shoot in the area. Chelsea now looking more and more dangerous but Southampton could be a real threat on the break.
25 minI said beforehand how dangerous Ward-Prowse can be from set pieces and he's just tried his luck with a free kick that curled a yard or so wide. Good effort but Cech was there to watch it wide.
33 minYELLOW! Essien hasn't had a great game so far on his first Premier League start for 567 days and it gets worse as he's booked for diving in his own half!
35 minRodriguez is hauled over by Cahill when it looked like he may have sprinted through on goal but Oliver keeps his cards in pocket. Ward-Prowse curls over the free kick but Fonte had strayed offside at the back post.
38 minOscar is down receiving treatment but looks like he'll be OK to continue after an innocuous fall.
40 minSo as things stand Southampton are going third in the Premier League. If City draw or lose to Swansea they'll be second!
40 minNew England international and Saints captain Lallana shuffles on the edge of the box to create space for a shot but drags it tamely wide.
41 minCHANCE! Excellent stuff from Torres on the right win to dig out a cross that finds Oscar unmarked in the middle. The Brazilian's header is a decent one but just a bit too central and Boruc holds low.
42 minCHELSEA SUB: Despite having Chelsea's two best chances, Oscar isn't fit to continue as Frank Lampard enters the game before half time. Must have been a serious problem if he couldn't soldier for a few more minutes and have the problem examined during the interval.
43 minWith Oscar off the pitch, Mata will now be able to truly operate at his best in 'the hole'.
44 minSAVE! Boruc had a nightmare at Arsenal last week but he's just shown why he's so highly rated on the South Coast with a sublime left-handed save to keep out Torres's header from a Mata cross.
44 minMoments later Mata had a chance of his own on the edge of the box but sliced his shot high, wide and the opposite of handsome.
45+1 minBecause of the injury delays this half we are going to have FOUR minutes more of football before the break.
45+2 minIt is half time up in Manchester though and this is the story of the first half:
5.02pmThere we go then. My 2-0 pre-game prediction went up in smoke inside 15 seconds when Essien carelessly presented Rodriguez with a simple one-on-one opportunity which he took with ease.
5.03pmSince then, Chelsea have had the better chances with Oscar twice going close before Torres's header was brilliantly clawed out by Boruc. Southampton haven't really tested Cech since the goal but they're ever so good without the ball and continue to look dangerous on the counter-attack.
5.05pmOscar is Chelsea's top scorer in the league this season but he's had to go off because of an injury already. Lampard is on in his place.
5.10pmControversial tweeter Joey Barton was impressed by the Saints in that first half: "Southampton on that 1st half performance, look the real deal. Well organised. Look to play and counter at every opportunity. #goodtosee"
5.13pmRight, second half will be underway shortly. Can Southampton keep out what are sure to be a raging Chelsea in the second period?
5.15pmCHELSEA SUB: Mourinho makes his second change by bringing off the unimpressive Essien and throwing on Demba Ba up front.
46 minWe're back underway at the Bridge and Torres has had an early shot deflected out for a corner by Wanyama. Mata took it but nothing came of it.
62 minChelsea's turnaround is complete as Mata's initial corner is cleared out to Lampard who swings it back out to the Spaniard. His second centre is right on Terry's head and the veteran defender, on his 400th Premier League appearance, perfectly flicks over Gazzaniga into the far corner.
63 minSOUTHAMPTON SUB: Pochettino makes an instant change with Ward-Prowse off and Steven Davis on.
65 minYELLOW! Schneiderlin is cautioned for grappling with Torres to ensure that the Spaniard couldn't break away.
65 minChance for a Chelsea third as Mata clips a free kick that Lampard was shaping to shoot to the back post for Cahill, who heads back across goal for Torres but he can't bring it under control to shoot.
67 minSOUTHAMPTON SUB: A bold change from Pochettino as he makes his third and final sub, bringing on Lambert for Schneiderlin. Lallana will drop a little deeper now.
71 minSouthampton were so good up until Chelsea's equaliser but they've shown nothing since and the only goal that looks possible at the moment is a Chelsea third. They threaten again as Mata gets in down the left but can't pick out the unmarked Torres and Ramires at the back post as Gazzaniga anticipates and catches.
72 minYELLOW! The Saints are getting frustrated out there and Rodriguez is the next to be cautioned.
72 minCHANCE! Poor finish from Ba as he drags wide with his left foot with just Gazzaniga to beat after some hesitancy from Fonte.
74 minHere's Cahill celebrating the goal which drew Chelsea level:
5.45pmUPDATE: City are scoring so many goals at home this season and they're now 3-0 up on Swansea thanks to Samir Nasri's second at the Etihad.
79 minChelsea are so confident at the moment and the crowd are really enjoying Mata on form. He has to check back before laying out to Ivanovic on the right. The Serbian's deep cross is met by Torres but he can only loop a header over the far post.
80 minSouthampton threaten for the first time in ages as Lambert finds himself left of centre but still curls over a fine cross that beats everyone in the middle before running through to Cech. I can't think of one decent thing that Osvaldo has done today. The Italian has been very quiet.
83 minPoor from Hazard after he was well picked out by Mata. If the Belgian had got his head up he would have seen Ba unmarked at the back post but instead he saw his shot blocked.
84 minCHELSEA SUB: Mourinho makes his final change by bringing on the steady figure of John Obi Mikel for Torres, who has worked hard but had little reward up front.
86 minYELLOW! Osvaldo's nothing afternoon continues as he gets booked for a rash lunge on Mata.
88 minA great shot of the pure delight on JT's face after putting Chelsea in front:
6.08pmMourinho's men improve their home record to six wins, one draw and no losses thanks to a bulldozing second half that Southampton simply couldn't handle.
6.09pmGive credit to the Saints for their first-half performance but as the old cliche goes, it is a game of two halves.
6.11pmThanks for joining us on Sports Mole this afternoon. I'll leave you with the latest Premier League table after the 13th round of fixtures. Arsenal top, four ahead of Chelsea and six clear of City. Good evening!