Chelsea suffered their second defeat in the Premier League after giving up an early lead to fall 2-1 against Southampton at St Marys Stadium on Tuesday.
Raheem Sterling put Chelsea ahead in the 23rd minute with his third goal in two games, but Southampton equalized within five minutes with a superb shot from 18-year-old Romeo Lafia. In injury time in the first half, the hosts took the lead and didn’t concede a compliment from Adam Armstrong.
The result means Chelsea slipped to eighth and below Southampton in the Premier League table after suffering their second defeat in five matches at the start of the season.
However, Chelsea started the game superbly and could have advanced even earlier. Sterling failed to make the most of two openers in the Southampton box, first firing a cushioned shot on target and then blocking it after opting to go alone rather than make the most of his side’s numerical advantage at the break.
On the third time out of question, however, the summer signing from Manchester City did nothing wrong. After Southampton was left exposed by Chelsea’s clever movement down the left, Mason Mount passed the ball across the penalty area and, despite a momentary challenge by Roman Perot, Sterling managed to turn around and find the back net.
Despite Chelsea’s early advantage, their lead won’t last long. Leaving free on the edge of the penalty area after a half-empty corner kick, Lafia scored his first big goal somehow with an unstoppable shot past Edward Mendy. The goal marked the first time a player born in 2004 had scored in the Premier League.
Shortly before the end of the first half, the hosts were in the lead. Chelsea’s defense left something to be desired as Perrod’s low shot into the penalty area left Armstrong unchecked as his left-footed shot deflected slightly from Chelsea defender Kalidou Koulibaly to help her past Mendy and into the top corner of the net.
It was Southampton who twice came close to consolidating their lead in the second half. A recent defensive effort by Chelsea, Marc Cucurella and Thiago Silva, required them to maintain the difference by just one goal.
Having started with four at the back, Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel made a three-substitution and moved back with five players midway through the second half, bringing in Christian Pulisic – as right-back – as well as Ben Chilwell and Armando Bruga.
But the changes have done little to improve the ailing Chelsea’s performance as they were beaten meaning they are already playing to catch up with the teams at the top of the table.