Southampton 2-1 Chelsea – Awaiting the Return of the Messiah

The Easter Story So Far

The fervent disciples eagerly await the return of their Messiah. There have already been reported sightings and some predict more appearances during the next forty remaining days of the season. Others dispute he is the Messiah and rather the Devil incarnate and the enemy of football.

Team Selection/Priorities

The season is entering a cataclysmic week with four games in eight days spanning three competitions. Rafa decided to rest a few players today to enable a relatively fresh team to be selected for Manchester United on Monday. I’m happy with this decision. I want the team to be attempting to win trophies, not settling for just a top four finish. Ask an Arsenal fan “What are your best memories of the last eight years?”

Got bored of waiting for the answer?

If we can win the FA Cup or Europa League or even both it’ll be another memorable campaign. Monday against United is make or break. If we lose we’re out of the FA Cup. Today against Southampton wasn’t all or nothing. Losing doesn’t mean we can’t finish third or fourth and the shit from the Lane and the Arse have repeatedly shown fragility which means we’ll still have plenty of opportunities to seal a Champions League place.

So in stepped Marin, Bertrand, Terry (yes, now part of the second string (unbelievable but true!)) and up front a bloke wearing a face mask so difficult to tell who it was. According to his spokesman he’s wearing the mask because he wants to remain anonymous.

First Half

My usual pub had a bit of difficulty tuning in to the match so here are the only highlights I can provide.

Repositioning satellite to 19 degrees east.

Repositioning satellite to 13 degrees east.

Repositioning satellite to 5 degrees west.

Second Half

Having decided to cut my losses I arrived at another pub just before the second half. We were losing 2-1. The message of my unavailability had clearly got through to the team and it was a decent gesture to save themselves for the second 45 minutes.

Overall I thought we played OK, Hazard looked excellent after his late arrival and we had opportunities, particularly Moses who might have scored had he not wanted extra touches.

The arrival of substitute Benayoun was the clearest signal yet that this game wasn’t the priority.


Fresh team against Man Utd, semi fresh for the Russians, two wins and my memory of our visit to Southampton 2013 will be limited to the 1-5 away Cup win.

Press Reports

The Observer, Dominic Fifield: “Chelsea’s campaign is supposed to have entered a defining period, a frantic phase that stretches to less than three weeks but is crammed with fixtures that will determine just what can be salvaged from a confused mess of a season. And yet, Rafael Benítez’s insistence that he is “still confident we can finish in the top four and win one or two trophies”, felt ludicrously optimistic. The sequence has begun with a splutter.”

The Sunday Telegraph, Jeremy Wilson: “Chelsea have always maintained that the managerial situation will be reviewed at the end of the season when Benítez is out of contract but there has also been a very clear sense that change could come sooner if the club’s place in the Champions League comes under threat.”

The Independent on Sunday, Simon Peach: “Rickie Lambert celebrated his new Southampton contract in some style today, smashing home an exquisite free-kick to secure all three points from a hard-fought encounter with Chelsea.”

The Official Chelsea FC Website: “A lacklustre display away from home saw Chelsea deservedly beaten at Southampton on Saturday.”


23′ Rodriguez 1-0
33′ Terry 1-1
35′ Lambert 2-1

There are 13 comments

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  1. Samweller

    We must fire Benitez before it is too late. If we dont finish in top 4, Jose won’t work for Roman. Benitez is as wrong for Chelsea as AVB was. Get rid of him, ROMAN!!!!

  2. Nick

    Didn’t see the game. But I have a soft spot for the Saints, my first Chelsea game was at the Dell in the mid 80s. Family connections mean I’m always on the lookout for their results, so I wasn’t that upset (or surprised) when we lost. I think Mark got the tone right, there are another 24 points to play for, a Champions League place is still well within our grasp. Sacrificing three points ain’t all bad if it means we beat United on Monday, not that I’m confident we will. But the players seem to be well up for it, let’s just hope Rafa gets the starting eleven right.

  3. Austin Solari

    I watched a feed with Serbian commentary via good old Wiziwig and I can assure you, the repositioning of your pubs satellite was probably more entertaining, Mark!! Once again, we were bloody awful. Saints harried us and beat us to nearly every ball. I was inclined to think that Petr was a tad at fault with Mr Lamberts goal.
    There was also the plainly clear cries of ‘You don’t know what you’re doing’ when he bought on that massively talented player Benayoun for Oscar.
    Not a good day at the office ……….. let’s hope they have more passion on Monday

  4. limetreebower

    Didn’t see the game but I can’t say I’m particularly surprised by the result either. I suspect that embarrassing scrabble for fourth place will come down to whether the Arse and the Spuds also continue to drop points in unexpected places.

    It would be nice if we could dredge up one of those all-cylinder-firing performances for Monday, though. Realistically, neither that game nor Thursday’s actually matters that much, but it would cheer everyone up no end if we could somehow send the Mancs packing.

  5. Blue_MikeL

    I have watched the game from A to Z. First half shambolic can’t single even one player, everyone was bad. Second half marginally better, but still not enough to score and I can’t say that Southampton defended for life.

  6. bluebayou

    Football is straightforward. Depending on who is in possession, you are either trying to make the pitch bigger or smaller, figuratively speaking.

    I believe both manager and players grasp this principle. It’s now just a question of identifying when you make the pitch big and when small.

    My impression from yesterday is that they’ve got a bit of a way to go with this.

    Probably was the wrong combination of players in certain areas, but they should still have been capable of a little more tempo and precision.

    Far too many points have been dropped against teams in the lower reaches of the division. So yesterday was not an isolated incident.

    Thanks for the report Mark. Not sure if your relaxed view mirrors the general fan base or not. There is a very noticeable division in opinion. I’m probably somewhere in the middle. Cheesed off but trying not to let it get to me.

  7. bluebayou

    And we’ll done with the revamp of the site Nick. Appreciate the work you put in. Hopefully work and stuff will let me get more time to post on here in a few weeks or so.

  8. dustylancer

    Short haiku:

    Ba scored, dwarf denied
    Batman’s sidekick – Robin right
    Rafa snubs Fergie

  9. limetreebower

    What a warrior Mata is.

    He doesn’t get that sort of respect (though of course he gets plenty of admiration for his other qualities) because he doesn’t growl or snarl or act tough and he looks like a rather friendly insurance adjuster, but goodness me, how he’s kept playing at that level given the number of minutes he must have put in I’ll never know.

    Not a vintage show today but it would have been crazy to expect one. Just a really heartwarming team effort and a satisfying win. Special credit to the defence, including of course Bertrand, who were outstandingly calm and controlled. Van P missed a couple he’d normally have scored but they deserved the clean sheet.

  10. Ramone


    The Man U win can’t erase the memory of that one.

    We looked like we wouldn’t get out of third gear right from the start, which sadly proved to be the case.

    There’s been a lot of talk on this blog about playing with 10 when Torres is in the team. I propose that we add Marko Marin to the list of invisible men. I’ve heard that he is good in possession, but that makes bugger all difference as he never seems to receive the ball. Out of possession i don’t think he’s looking too great either. Granted, Hazard made him look bad when he came on but I wouldn’t risk starting Marin again this year.
    Moses was also below par. On Saturday he seemed to have lost his ACoN pizzaz to the point where he could no longer cross and was indecisive in possession to the point where all shots were blocked.

    Add to that a inability to distribute – stand up Mr. Cech – coupled with an all round sloppiness and we were a sorry sight.

    It’s a sad state of affairs when the blokes who are desperate for a chance can’t get motivated and influence a game. But seeing as they can’t how about we start with our best team and take them off when we are winning ?

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