Southampton's Moussa Djenepo, right, vies with Chelsea's Marcos Alonso during the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea and Southampton at St. Mary's Stadium in Southampton, England, Feb20, 2021. (PHOTO / AP)
SOUTHAMPTON - Chelsea were held to a 1-1 draw away to struggling Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday after Takumi Minamino scored for the hosts with their only attack of the first half and Mason Mount levelled with a penalty after the break.
Chelsea remain in fourth place, a point ahead of West Ham United, who play on Sunday, and three points clear of Liverpool who host Everton later on Saturday. Southampton are 13th.
The Saints had lost six league games in a row before the visit of the Londoners - who were looking for their fifth straight win under new coach Thomas Tuchel - and they spent long periods of the game trying to get hold of the ball.
But for all of Chelsea’s possession, the visitors laboured to create chances, something Tuchel once again highlighted as the main challenge for his side.
“We were very, very good in the first 80 metres of the pitch but in the last 20 I was not happy,” the German told BT Sport. “We were not decisive enough, we were not aggressive enough.”
The Blues were punished for not turning their dominance into chances when in the 33rd minute Minamino ran on to a defence-splitting Nathan Redmond pass and coolly finished after wrong-footing keeper Edouard Mendy and Cesar Azpilicueta with a feint.
Chelsea remain in fourth place, a point ahead of West Ham United, who play on Sunday, and three points clear of Liverpool who host Everton later on Saturday. Southampton are 13th
The Japan midfielder became the first opposition player to score against Chelsea since Tuchel arrived last month. The only goal they had previously conceded in that time was an own goal.
The German brought on Callum Hudson-Odoi for Tammy Abraham at the break and Chelsea briefly looked a bit sharper up front.
The equaliser came when Mount was felled in the box by Danny Ings and he got up to convert the spot kick in the 54th minute.
Southampton defender Jannik Vestergaard hit the crossbar in the 71st with a header on another rare home attack.
“With a little more luck in the end we can nearly win the game with the header of Jannik,” Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl said. “But I think the draw is for us like a win today.”
Tuchel took the unusual step of replacing Hudson-Odoi little more than 20 minutes after he came on as a substitute, giving Hakim Ziyech a chance after his recovery from injury.
Tuchel said he made the switch because he was not happy with Hudson-Odoi’s attitude.
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