Chelsea 2 Southampton 1

Last updated : 28 August 2004 By Footymad Previewer

Chelsea kept up the pace to the top of the Premiership with a cynical and totally professional display.

Two goals to one at Stamford Bridge against Southampton means it's now a 100 per cent record - four games, four wins.

But a quality first half by the Blues was followed by a more sullen, defence-orientated performance.

But the Blues started in the worst possible fashion when James Beattie shocked Chelsea with a 14 second right-footer from 25 yards which sailed over Petr Cech.

It was Chelsea's first goal conceded in the Premiership and it stemmed from an awful backpass from Joe Cole directly from the Blues' kick-off.

Chelsea could have equalised within a minute when Frank Lampard arrowed in a left-wing cross which Eidur Gudjohnsen could only head wide from 12 yards.

Didier Drogba's left-footer on five minutes was well saved low by Antti Niemi as Chelsea tried to bounce back quickly.

Southampton were forced into an early substitution with Fabrice Fernandes limping off for Yoann Folly on 24 minutes.

Lampard was also off the pitch receiving treatment for an eye injury for six minutes and during this time the Saints failed to take advantage of their numerical advantage.

Cole redeemed himself with a 26th minute defence-splitting pass to Drogba, but he failed to latch on to it.

A free-kick seconds later saw Lampard daisy-cut a right-footer across the area, which Drogba narrowly missed tucking away.

A last-ditch clearance from Claus Lundekvam on 30 minutes prevented Drogba ,again getting to a well drilled right-wing cross by Paulo Ferreira.

But Chelsea's pressure counted and on 34 minutes a Lampard corner from the right, was inadvertently powered home by Saint's striker Beattie from six yards Tiago's header from a Lampard corner was headed off the line by Anders Svensson a minute later.

From the resultant corner on 40 minutes, Chelsea were awarded a penalty as Lundekvam handled the ball. Kevin Phillips and Rory Delap were booked for dissent before Lampard blasted home a perfect penalty, a curling right-footer, sending Niemi the wrong way and Chelsea into a deserved lead.

The Saints were hanging on to half-time as Drogba forced another brave save from Niemi on 43 minutes.

The second half started as the first ended with Chelsea on top.

On 53 minutes, Chelsea almost nicked number three when a Paulo Ferreira shot was deflected by Gudjohnsen towards goal, but it curled inches wide of Niemi's left upright.

Damien Duff made his first appearance of the season for Cole on 58 minutes and Mateja Kezman came on for Gudjohnsen on 60 minutes.

Saints' new head coach Steve Wigley, in an attempt to get something from the game, substituted his earlier sub Folly for Peter Crouch on 70 minutes.

However, it was Kezman who tormented the Saints defence, setting up Lampard for a powerful downward header which went straight into Niemi's midriff.

Duff's low drive produced a fine low save by Niemi on 78 minutes and this was followed by a wayward shot by Phillips two minutes later.

Seconds from time Wayne Bridge passed to Kezman, who drove in a blistering 20-yarder from which Niemi once again produced a marvellous save.

Chelsea have made their best ever start in the top-flight. Not playing well for 90 minutes is not stopping the Blues from being deserved title challengers.