Theo Walcott marked his first Southampton appearance for almost 15 years by setting up the late equaliser that secured a dramatic 3-3 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
German stars Timo Werner and Kai Havertz scored their first Premier League goals for Chelsea, but there were familiar failings in the home team’s ranks and Frank Lampard’s men were punished.
Chelsea were thrilling going forward at times, with Werner, who also had a goal disallowed, netting twice before setting up Havertz for what looked set to be the winner.
But between Werner’s double and Havertz’s strike it had been the same story for the Blues’ defence, with Danny Ings and Che Adams taking advantage, and Walcott’s shot from the edge of the penalty area in stoppage time was nodded in by Jannik Vestergaard to pinch a point.
What a game. What a point. pic.twitter.com/fpPWlh1V4S
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) October 17, 2020
Werner had given Chelsea a 15th-minute lead when he burst from the left channel, selling a dummy to Jan Bednarek before taking a circuitous route around a gaggle of defenders and firing low beyond Alex McCarthy.
Chelsea were two clear after 28 minutes as Werner raced onto Jorginho’s pass, held off Bednarek and flicked the ball coolly over McCarthy before heading in.
Ings ran through a dozing defence to haul Southampton back into contention in the 43rd minute, and a Chelsea calamity came early in the second half.
The error-prone Kepa Arrizabalaga pulled out of a challenge to meet an under-hit backpass from Kurt Zouma, and that allowed Adams to win the ball and thrash in from close range.
Havertz turned in a short pass from Werner to nudge Chelsea 3-2 in front two minutes later, but there was a sting to come.
A Southampton free-kick was only half-cleared and Walcott – a former teenage star at St Mary’s who has returned on loan from Everton – lashed a strike goalwards, with Vestergaard applying the decisive touch.
What does it mean?
Werner and Havertz became the fifth and sixth Germans to score in the Premier League for Chelsea, following Michael Ballack, Andre Schurrle, Antonio Rudiger and Marko Marin, but questions persist at the back. Kepa is a consistent liability, which was borne out again here, and it reeks of neglect that Chelsea’s central defence is still so patently not up to the job.
Lucky 13 for Werner
Southampton had kept opponents down to an average of 7.25 efforts on goal in their opening four games of the Premier League season, but by half-time here they had faced nine attempts. Werner, who had 11 efforts without reward in his first four league outings for Chelsea, finally got lucky with attempt number 13 and was on punishing form throughout.
Walcott turns on the style
Former Arsenal forward Walcott took a while to get up to speed, but before his vital late role there were signs he was rolling back the years. Good movement and a neat pass into the feet of Adams almost brought about a goal before Vestergaard’s equaliser. He made five key passes in the game, out of a team total of eight.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 17, 2020
Key Opta Facts
– Chelsea have lost just one of their last nine home Premier League games (W7 D1), after losing four of the seven before that (W2 D1).
– Adams scored and assisted in the same game for the first time since October 2018 for Birmingham against Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship.
– Since the start of last season, only Robert Lewandowski, Ciro Immobile and Cristiano Ronaldo have scored more goals in Europe’s top five leagues than Werner (30).
– Southampton have lost only one of their last eight away Premier League games (W4 D3), after losing two in a row directly before that in February.
Chelsea have a Champions League home game against Europa League holders Sevilla coming up on Tuesday. Southampton’s next assignment is a home clash with Premier League leaders Everton.
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