Romeo Lavia and Adam Armstrong helped Southampton overtake the lackluster Blues in the Premier League and send Chelsea to a 2-1 defeat.
Teenage midfielder Lavia became the first Premier League player born in 2004 to score at St Mary’s Stadium with a fine shot. Armstrong then beat the Ducks in his 22nd game as the Saints overwhelmed Chelsea.
The away side scored Raheem Sterling’s third goal in two games, but Southampton turned the game around in a challenging night for Thomas Tuchel’s side.
Chelsea could be a team in transition with more big names and big money thanks to bullish new owners Todd Boley and Bedad Egbari.
But the Blues, who are gunning for the top four, shouldn’t be in the business of losing such a clash against a revamped, youthful but certainly gritty Southampton just yet.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s rejuvenated Saints moved ahead of Chelsea into seventh place in the table, a big win for the South Coast men.
Just five games into the new season, the Blues have had to lick the scars of a loss that cost them twice on the road.
Chelsea can be expected to fall further down the early table after Wednesday’s game. Tuchel’s reconstruction work clearly boasts great promise, but has yet to materialize.
A creative Chelsea side desperate for a central striker, rely too much on Sterling’s finishing power.
The Blues are further hoping to complete the acquisition of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Barcelona, while the transfer of centre-back Wesley Fofana from Leicester is expected to be announced soon.
Chelsea settled in quicker and set about expanding their Saints set-up.
Sterling caught a clean through ball and deftly changed direction to create space and create a great opening.
But the former Manchester City star was able to give Gavin Bazunu an easy save and scrape his effort off.
Shortly after, Sterling got around behind again with a sharp move by Chelsea, but Mason Mount was unable to beat the defense into a cutback.
England forward Stirling continued to pose a threat as he broke through the race, but the 27-year-old Stirling chose to go it alone rather than face the unmarked Kai Havertz.
Sterling eventually took the lead over the Blues with a calm finish at the turn after another sharp move from the visitors.
However, just when Chelsea should have built a 1-0 lead, the Saints began to open up Tuchel’s squad.
Rabia blew home over the edge of the area after Edouard Mendy could only put an 18-year-old strike into the net after Cesar Azpilicueta failed to reliably clear the corner.
Chelsea slowed their pace after the Saints equalizer. The calmness of the Londoners was suddenly marked by the absence of the Saints.
After Chelsea conceded possession cheaply in their own half, Armstrong dominated home to give the Saints a 2-1 lead.
The Saints striker’s cool first-half stoppage-time finish allowed the hosts to take control as well as lead.
Jorginho, enraged by the unpunished challenge he received near the end of the first half, faced off against referee Michael Oliver after the half-time whistle.
Azpilicueta had to lead the Italian midfielders with Chelsea in disarray at half-time.
Mateo Kovacic replaced Ruben Loftus-Cheek at half-time.
Southampton remained a more buoyant side, with a threatening header from Mohamed Elyounoussi successfully blocked by Marc Cucurella.
Tuchel changed Chelsea to 3-5-2 and made three substitutions with 20 minutes remaining: Ben Chilwell, Armando Brocha and Christian Pulisic.
Pulisic played at right-back, while Broja passed through center alongside Sterling.
Broja quickly overwhelmed the Saints defense, showing the merits of a natural striker, but another promising Chelsea offense was negated.
Thiago Silva kicked his heel off the line to disallow Southampton a third goal.
However, Chelsea rallied with time running out, forcing Brodja to make a solid save from Baznu when he met Sterling’s cross.
Bruce pushed him to death and Mendy joined in the attack, but to no avail. Southampton deservedly won the event and the Blues were clearly scared of losing.