Eden Hazard opened the scoring and, although Oriol Romeu equalised, Gary Cahill and Diego Costa saw Chelsea to victory over Southampton.
Chelsea extended their lead over Tottenham at the top of the Premier League to seven points as Diego Costa ended his recent goal drought with a double to cap a 4-2 win over Southampton.
Antonio Conte voiced dissatisfaction over his team being back in action three days on from the 4-2 FA Cup semi-final win over Spurs and Claude Puel’s Saints were sure to ask plenty of questions of them despite falling behind early to Eden Hazard’s 17th goal of the season.
Puel had compared midfielder Oriol Romeu to PFA Player of the Year N’Golo Kante in the build-up to the match and the former Chelsea player claimed a rare goal when he equalised in the 25th minute.
A gripping match remained in the balance until Gary Cahill – back having missed out on Saturday due to illness – headed home in first-half stoppage time and Costa’s own aerial prowess came to the fore eight minutes into the second half.
The Spain striker’s 50th in the Premier League goal was his first in eight matches and he duly made it 20 across all competitions this season with a late second of the night. A neat Ryan Bertrand header deep into stoppage time was scant consolation for Saints.
On Wednesday, Tottenham travel to face a Crystal Palace side whose win at Stamford Bridge earlier this month did much to reopen a title race that Conte will hope results such as this wrap up swiftly.
Jack Stephens volleyed tamely at Thibaut Courtois following a cleverly worked Southampton free-kick, after which Conte’s men showed their ruthlessness by breaking up field for a fifth-minute opener.
Cesc Fabregas – starting ahead of compatriot Pedro – slid a pass towards the area to leave Southampton defender Maya Yoshida isolated up against Costa, who cut the ball back for Hazard to fire unerringly across Fraser Forster and into the bottom left corner.
Southampton regrouped effectively and a familiar face at Stamford Bridge grabbed their reward.
James Ward-Prowse’s left-wing corner skimmed off Cesar Azpilicueta to drop for Manolo Gabbiadini beyond the far post, sewing panic in the Chelsea backline and the Italy international’s deflected pass was prodded home by Romeu.
The hosts were evidently rattled, Sofiane Boufal and Bertrand’s raids down their right a particular concern, before Kante unfurled a lesser-spotted side of his game – a twinkle-toed run into the Southampton box to shoot across goal.
Puel’s side failed to fully clear the danger, Costa had a penalty claim rejected as he went down with Steven Davis at close quarters and Nemanja Matic forced Forster to save as he tried to repeat his Wembley heroics.
Boufal fired into the side-netting as a gripping end-to-end feel remained until Kante’s raking ball back into the Southampton box was won by Marcos Alonso and headed in by Cahill in the face of Costa’s overhead-kick attempt.
Southampton were out first for the second half and clearly intent on making amends for the setback, but a physical mismatch allowed Costa to put daylight between the sides.
Fabregas floated the ball towards the far post after his initial corner was blocked and Chelsea’s top scorer manhandled and outmuscled Bertrand before steering past Forster.
Southampton playmaker Dusan Tadic forced Courtois to save sharply before the hour and Conte, typically buoyant when Costa netted, was kicking at his technical area when Yoshida and Gabbiadini again went close from a poorly defended corner.
Set-piece woes were again to the fore as Davis had a drive deflected wide and Conte will want such kinks ironed out before the weekend trip to Everton.
Nevertheless, Chelsea took another significant step to glory that was almost fittingly capped by man-of-the-moment Kante, who forced Forster to save late on.
Set-piece woes were again to the fore as Davis had a drive deflected wide and Conte sent on John Terry to a rapturous reception in an attempt to restore on-field calm.
Costa exchanged passes with Hazard and substitute Pedro to net a swaggering fourth as Chelsea moved towards glory in style – although weekend opponents Everton will have seen reasons for encouragement in the sloppy defending that allowed Bertrand, like Romeu a former Blues player, to reduce the arrears from Cedric Soares’ cross.
I know what you did be thinking after going through this post... I'm in the same plight as you are... I mean, How can just one person be this blessed physically?
The lady whose photos you’d find below, is a Young and Beautiful Nigerian Model, with the name – “Uche Mba”.. and damn, she’s an embodiment of the word “ahan”.. coupled with the colour of her skin, trim abs and her petite body structure.
Uche shared new photos on her Instagram page where she boasts of over 339,000 followers! She hails from the South-eastern part of Nigeria and she is an international model that has featured for top brands in the United States of America.
She recently lost a big modeling job in New York due to her body size which she has been struggling to reduce in recent times.
The former PSG striker landed awkwardly against Anderlecht on Thursday and could now have played his final game for the Red Devils
Manchester United have been dealt a huge injury blow in their pursuit of Champions League football with the news that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury.
The former Barcelona striker suffered the injury in the final seconds of normal time during United’s Europa League clash against Anderlecht as he landed awkwardly after jumping for a header.
The Swede received lengthy treatment after the final whistle and was able to limp away without the need of a stretcher as he was replaced by Anthony Martial.
That led to team-mate Luke Shaw admitting that he felt the striker’s injury was not as bad as first thought, but Goal understands that is not the case.
Ibrahimovic’s absence could hit Jose Mourinho’s side hard as they look to finish in the top four of the Premier League and win the Europa League in the final weeks of the season.
Having arrived from Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer last summer, Ibrahimovic has scored 28 goals in all competitions, including a double in the League Cup final win over Southampton.
Marcus Rashford – who starred in the recent wins over Chelsea and Anderlecht – will likely now fill the void for the remainder of the season, with United still to play Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham as well as Celta Vigo in the Europa League semi-finals.
Ibrahimovic may well have now played his last game in a Red Devils shirt, with his one-year contract set to run out at the end of June.
Reports have varied on whether he will take up the option of a second-year, though the potential of a long-term injury could yet have a bearing on where he plays his football next term.
The severity of Ibrahimovic’s injury is yet to be fully assessed, though reports in Italy suggest he could be facing up to nine months out if he has damaged his anterior cruciate ligament.
Should that be the case, it is possible United could assist him in with his rehabilitation, though any contract would be on different terms than those originally on the table had he been fully fit.