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HomeLatest NewsChelsea 0-1 Southampton: James Ward-Prowse free-kick deepens gloom for Graham Potter

Chelsea 0-1 Southampton: James Ward-Prowse free-kick deepens gloom for Graham Potter

James Ward-Prowse, Southampton, Chelsea
Only David Beckham has scored more direct free-kick goals in the Premier League than James Ward-Prowse

Chelsea’s poor form under manager Graham Potter continued as a trademark free-kick from James Ward-Prowse earned the Premier League’s bottom club Southampton a surprise victory at Stamford Bridge.

Ward-Prowse scored the game’s only goal in first-half stoppage time, sending a curling effort over the Chelsea wall and into the corner from the edge of the penalty area.

The result means Chelsea have now won just two games in their last 14 in all competitions.

Managerless Southampton will hope it can kick-start their attempts to escape the relegation zone.

The visitors started magnificently in west London and twice went close to scoring before Ward-Prowse’s strike, with Kamaldeen Sulemana shooting straight at Kepa Arrizabalaga before Kalidou Koulibaly blocked Stuart Armstrong’s follow-up.

The half-time introduction of Raheem Sterling breathed new life into the Blues’ toothless forward line, but Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ crucial block denied the England international an equaliser midway through the second period.

Romain Perraud followed suit minutes later with a tremendous goal-line clearance to prevent a Sterling header from ending up in the net, as Potter’s team failed to score for the sixth time in 2023.

There was a lengthy stoppage towards the end of the second half because of an injury to Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta, who was caught in the face by Southampton substitute Sekou Mara.

The 33-year-old needed oxygen treatment on the pitch before being carried off on a stretcher, although he was conscious as he left the field.

Blues draw yet another blank

Having had their deficiencies in front of goal laid bare in Wednesday’s 1-0 Champions League defeat at Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea will again be wondering how they failed to find the net against a side who had managed just one clean sheet in the Premier League all season before Saturday.

Potter handed January signing David Fofana his full debut in an attempt to inject some imagination into the Blues’ faltering front line, but the 20-year-old Ivorian failed to make an impact before being hooked at half-time.

Indeed, the home side struggled to carve out any meaningful opportunities until midway through the second half, and when they did they were thwarted by some sensational last-ditch defending from the visitors.

Sterling in particular will be scratching his head in disbelief, as Maitland-Niles, Perraud and Romeo Lavia all denied the former Liverpool and Manchester City man from point-blank range.

Late on, Southampton goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu was also equal to Conor Gallagher’s effort as the Blues’ push for an equaliser proved in vain.

The serious-looking injury to Azpilicueta compounded a miserable afternoon for Potter, who was booed by home supporters after the full-time whistle.

Before kick-off, there had been a minute’s applause in memory of former Chelsea winger Christian Atsu, who was found dead almost two weeks on from the earthquake in Turkey.

More to follow.

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Chelsea

  1. Squad number1Player nameArrizabalaga

  2. Squad number28Player nameAzpilicueta

  3. Squad number26Player nameKoulibaly

  4. Squad number4Player nameBadiashile

  5. Squad number21Player nameChilwell

  6. Squad number8Player nameKovacic

  7. Squad number5Player nameFernández

  8. Squad number31Player nameMadueke

  9. Squad number11Player nameJoão Félix

  10. Squad number19Player nameMount

  11. Squad number27Player nameFofana

  1. Squad number14Player nameChalobah

  2. Squad number15Player nameMudryk

  3. Squad number17Player nameSterling

  4. Squad number23Player nameGallagher

  5. Squad number29Player nameHavertz

  6. Squad number33Player nameFofana

Southampton

  1. Squad number31Player nameBazunu

  2. Squad number3Player nameMaitland-Niles

  3. Squad number35Player nameBednarek

  4. Squad number37Player nameBella-Kotchap

  5. Squad number15Player namePerraud

  6. Squad number17Player nameS Armstrong

  7. Squad number8Player nameWard-Prowse

  8. Squad number45Player nameLavia

  9. Squad number24Player nameElyounoussi

  10. Squad number20Player nameSulemana

  11. Squad number12Player nameOnuachu

  1. Squad number4Player nameLyanco

  2. Squad number9Player nameA Armstrong

  3. Squad number18Player nameMara

  4. Squad number26Player nameAlcaraz

  5. Squad number27Player nameDiallo

  6. Squad number32Player nameWalcott

Line-ups

Chelsea

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1ArrizabalagaBooked at 87mins
  • 28AzpilicuetaSubstituted forChalobahat 84′minutes
  • 26KoulibalyBooked at 4minsSubstituted forFofanaat 45′minutes
  • 4Badiashile
  • 21ChilwellSubstituted forGallagherat 84′minutes
  • 8KovacicBooked at 90mins
  • 5Fernández
  • 31MaduekeSubstituted forMudrykat 64′minutes
  • 11João Félix
  • 19MountSubstituted forHavertzat 64′minutes
  • 27FofanaSubstituted forSterlingat 45′minutes

Substitutes

  • 13Bettinelli
  • 14Chalobah
  • 15Mudryk
  • 17Sterling
  • 20Zakaria
  • 23Gallagher
  • 29Havertz
  • 33Fofana
  • 67Hall

Southampton

Formation 4-4-2

  • 31Bazunu
  • 3Maitland-NilesSubstituted forLyancoat 90+5′minutes
  • 35Bednarek
  • 37Bella-KotchapBooked at 16mins
  • 15PerraudBooked at 90mins
  • 17S ArmstrongBooked at 45minsSubstituted forWalcottat 59′minutes
  • 8Ward-ProwseBooked at 90mins
  • 45LaviaBooked at 87minsSubstituted forDialloat 87′minutes
  • 24ElyounoussiSubstituted forAlcarazat 87′minutes
  • 20SulemanaSubstituted forA Armstrongat 59′minutes
  • 12OnuachuSubstituted forMaraat 59′minutesBooked at 75mins

Substitutes

  • 2Walker-Peters
  • 4Lyanco
  • 9A Armstrong
  • 13Caballero
  • 18Mara
  • 19Djenepo
  • 26Alcaraz
  • 27Diallo
  • 32Walcott

Referee:
David Coote

Attendance:
40,152

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