By Williams ‘Bantu’ Irubor
Chelsea restored their lead at the top of the Premier League to seven points with a convincing win over Southampton at Stamford Bridge.
Antonio Conte’s side had seen their advantage cut by Tottenham after the Blues’ loss at Manchester United – but this was an emphatic response to follow on from Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final win against their London rivals Tottenham.
en Hazard and Diego Costa were both back in the starting line-up after Wembley and were key figures, the Belgian putting Chelsea ahead with a low shot after five minutes.
Former Chelsea midfielder Oriol Romeu bundled in an equaliser for Saints before Gary Cahill headed Chelsea back in front right on half-time, a moment that effectively decided the destination of the points.
Costa confirmed Chelsea’s supremacy with a header early in the second half before scoring his second with a low shot late on.
Ryan Bertrand, another former Chelsea man, was on target in the dying seconds – but the victory was secured for Conte’s men and now Spurs must respond at in-form Crystal Palace on Wednesday (20:00 BST kick-off).
Conte manoeuvred his resources to perfection in the victory against Spurs at Wembley – and did it again here as Hazard and Costa made decisive contributions to a vital Chelsea win.
Conte raised eyebrows when he left his two most dangerous attackers out of his starting line-up on Saturday but used them as game-changers to great effect, deploying them as substitutes after an hour and Hazard then scoring the goal that swung the match in favour of his side.