Bengaluru, April 15: Olivier Giroud - it was that man to the rescue again. This time though, the Frenchman did it for Chelsea as they registered a stunning 3-2 comeback win against Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday (April 14). The Blues were two goals behind up to the 70th minute of the match. But super sub Giroud proved to be the decisive factor in the match. His two goals in quick succession separated by Eden Hazard's equaliser made the fight-back possible for the Blues.
After going through a slump, Chelsea somehow found their feet at the St Mary's Stadium. MyKhel's Soumik Datta breaks down the match in 5 points:
Chelsea’s disastrous form came to the fore in the first 60 minutes of the match. Dusan Tadic gave Southampton the lead in the 21st minute of the match, scoring off a cross provided by Ryan Bertrand. In the 60th minute of the match, Jan Bednarek scored another goal for the Saints off the take by James Ward-Prowse. Southampton, fighting a relegation battle, were cruising to three points until that point.
From his days at Arsenal, Giroud has been saving his team from sure defeat. It appears that Giroud has come to Chelsea to do the same again. The Frenchman came on the field in place of Alvaro Morata after the second goal of the Saints. The match turned on its head after Giroud took the pitch. His brilliant header from the cross of Marcos Alonso charged the whole team up. Eden Hazard scored the equaliser with a clinical finish from inside the box and then in the 84th minute of the match, Giroud’s unleashed a left-footer into the bottom-right, making the most of the melee in the box to seal the three points for Antonio Conte's side.
"Are you watching Didier?" 💪😉— FIFA World Cup 🏆 (@FIFAWorldCup) April 14, 2018
🇫🇷@_OlivierGiroud_ hits a double for @ChelseaFC to earn a spectacular comeback win.
🔝Should he lead the line for @equipedefrance at the #WorldCup? pic.twitter.com/JYnnrXLC0x
There was one man on the field for Chelsea who was constantly trying to create something in the attacking third. Alvaro Morata was almost invisible in the first half for the Blues. But Eden Hazard was the danger man for Southampton. Winning free-kicks and dribbling into dangerous areas, the Belgian was instrumental in making the comeback possible with his never-say-die attitude. It's only fitting that Hazard scored the equalising goal for Chelsea, powering a shot from inside the box off the assist by Willian.
The game is not over until the final whistle is blown. Chelsea should learn this lesson from the Southampton fight-back for the rest of the season. They were 10 points behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur leading up to Saturday. But the three points from St Mary's and Spurs' 1-3 loss to Manchester City keeps Antonio Conte's side very much alive in the top-four race. But the Blues have to win all of their remaining matches and hope that Spurs too drop some points in their remaining five games.
Southampton are on the verge of being relegated to the Championship this season. They are placed 18th on the Premier League table with 28 points in 33 matches. Swansea City are five points ahead of them with five matches to go this season. A win against the Blues would have helped the Saints cut down the gap with Swansea. However, they threw away their lead at home just like they did against Arsenal a week ago. Southampton have a tougher fixture ahead too against champions-elect Manchester City. At this moment, relegation appears inevitable for the Saints.