Southampton v Chelsea: Premier League – as it happened

That’s that then. Be sure to join Niall McVeigh for all the latest news from all the other games right here. But from me, cheerio!

PEEP! PEEP!! PEEEEEP!! Somehow Southampton survive.

90+5 min: Mané takes it into the corner, but can’t keep it there. Chelsea break and win their own free-kick on the left edge of the Saints’ box …

90+4 min: Long is bundled over by Ivanovic in the middle of the Chelsea half. Now then …

90+2 min: Forster gathers as Fonte smashes a clearance against Wanyama and watches nervously as the ball pings back towards his own goal.

90+2 min: Fabregas flashes a fizzing cross in front of goal but no one can get a touch.

90+1 min: A minimum of four minutes of added time for Southampton to survive.

90 min: Costa off, Remy on.

89 min: Fabregas looks to break as another Saints corner drops loose. Schneiderlin cynically brings him down on halfway and is walking off the pitch before the referee can get the red card out his pocket.

86 min: … the ball drops loose to Alderweireld, who flicks cleverly over his head than less cleverly hoofs the thing off towards the Isle of Wight.

85 min: Southampton win a corner. St Mary’s celebrates uproariously …

84 min: Elsewhere (and turn away now if you don’t want to know today’s scores) Manchester City are already 2-0 up against Burnley. As it stands Chelsea’s lead this evening will be down to a solitary point.

83 min: Forster gathers Luis’s deflected cross. Then does a crossword. And learns the banjo. And cooks a small batch of muffins. Then clears downfield.

81 min: … more hugely determined defending from Southampton denies Chelsea not once, not twice, but thrice.

80 min: Drogba wins a corner off Gardos …

79 min: Chelsea have just come off the boil a touch in the past five minutes or so.

77 min: What a let off for Southampton! Ward-Prowse blindly rolls the ball back towards Forster but he hasn’t seen Costa loitering behind the back four. The striker is clean through … but has he turns his studs give up the ghost and he slips to the turf. Forster collects and Ward-Prowse unclenches.

76 min: Fonte’s knees come to the rescue again as Drogba looks to find Costa in the box.

74 min: Drogba replaces Mikel for Chelsea.

73 min: Hazard is pretty much unplayable at the moment, though Chelsea haven’t actually created a chance yet this half. They’ve still had just the one shot on target and that was the goal.

71 min: Schneiderlin dives in on Hazard one too many times and this time Taylor produces the yellow card.

70 min: Southampton finally get their collective foot on the ball for a minute or two. St Mary’s exhales.

68 min: Stat!

Most yellow cards for diving this season: Chelsea 4 Man City 2 Sunderland 2 Six teams on 1 #cfc

67 min: Another wonderful spell of possession from Chelsea ends when Luis floats a slightly aimless cross into the box.

65 min: A Chelsea goal is coming here with the inevitability of sunrise.

64 min: Another fine block as Costa and Fabregas dink the ball about in Barcelona-2011-esque fashion before the former looks to strike.

63 min: It’s all Chelsea at the moment, and it has pretty much been that way since the break.

62 min: Another Southampton change: Yoshida off, Gardos on.

60 min: A sensational chipped pass from Fabregas finds Hazard in space in the box. He chests down then flashes a shot just wide of the post on the turn. That would’ve been glorious.

58 min: James Ward-Prowse replaces Tadic for Southampton.

57 min: Yoshida goes into the book for a trip on Hazard. Referee Anthony Taylor’s grip on this game is loosening by the minute.

56 min: Southampton win a free-kick in midfield and behind the referee’s back Fabregas lashes the ball away in frustration.

55 min: Targett slips into Fabregas and trips the Chelsea man. The referee … books Fabregas for simulation. Should’ve been a penalty.

54 min: Two fine blocks as Willian looks twice to thunk the ball at goal.

53 min: Tadic delivers the ball into the box once more, but again he can find only a Chelsea shirt.

52 min: A rare Southampton foray forward. Targett finds Tadic down the left, but his cross is just behind Mané.

51 min: … Fabregas fizzes it into the box but a Southampton head is there to meet it and Forster then gathers.

49 min: Wanyama is a touch late on Fabregas. Free-kick, 40 yards from goal and a decent position to Put It In The Mixer …

48 min: Targett gets his toe to the ball ahead of Willian in the Saints box. Then gets clumped by Ivanovic for his troubles.

47 min: Luis and Hazard combine down the left for the umpteenth time, but this time there’s no space for the Belgian inside.

Peep! Off we go again. Willian has replaced Schurrle for the visitors.

An email: “May I please be counted among the 1,057 pedants busily writing in to point out to Anthony Barr that what you actually used was a simile, not a metaphor,” writes Daniel Barnett. “A pub lunch and misleading grammatical guidance. Won’t someone think of the children?”

Peep! Peep! And that’s that. It was, it says here, A Good Time To Score.

There will be a minimum of two minutes added time, but Hazard needs just 16 seconds. He races onto Fabregas’s dink into the left channel, cuts back inside Yoshida, then cuts back inside Alderweireld before brilliantly sweeping his shot past Forster. The defenders won’t be too happy with themselves but that was superb from the Belgian.

44 min: Yoshida barges his way into the box and feeds Pelle, who can only scoop a shot well over the bar on the turn.

42 min: “Having a pub lunch with my kids and just used your 34min update as an example of metaphor with simultaneous pun,” writes Anthony Barr. “Thanks for the educational material. Obviously I only broke off from familial bantz to check MBM at their request...”

41 min: Hazard is now playing “up top” with Costa drifting out to the right. We’ve had five free-kicks for minor nudges and nibbles in the past 60 seconds.

40 min: It’s all got a bit fractured and stop-start at the moment – scrappy as Scooby Doo’s nephew.

38 min: Targett rumbles through a couple of challenges and looks to unleash a shot with his right, but Chelsea’s central defenders are out to block the chance at source.

36 min: Schneiderlin hoiks a clever ball behind the Chelsea back four. Pelle picks it up and recycles, and Mané wins a free-kick. The Chelsea Frustration-o-meter cranks up another notch.

34 min: Fabregas and Hazard combine majestically to put Luis in behind Yoshida once more. His cross, like a lost tourist looking forlornly for a chain coffee shop, can’t find Costa.

32 min: Southampton win a free-kick to the right of the Chelsea area, down near the byline. But Tadic larrups the thing out of play at the back post.

31 min: Matic goes into the book for a clumsy challenge on Pelle in midfield.

30 min: Saints can’t clear their lines after the set-piece, though, and there’s some scrambling, desperate defending to keep Chelsea at bay.

29 min: … whipped in by Fabregas and nodded away by, um, Diego Costa.

28 min: Crump! Ivanovic wins a free-kick as Tadic clonks him from behind. A dangerous position this …

27 min: Pass, pass, pass from Chelsea before Matic switches long to Hazard, who has popped up on the right now. Southampton stay organised and have bodies behind the ball.

25 min: Fabregas skitters to the byline and Fonte does well to deflect his cross over Schurrle and away to safety. Hazard is having more joy on this left-hand side against Yoshida than Schurrle is against Southampton’s teenage debutant Targett on the other flank.

23 min: “There’s only one Ronald Koeman!” sing the Saints fans. Koeman waves in appreciation, despite the fact that the fans are overlooking his son Ronald Jr.

22 min: Hazard looks to conjure some space in the box, but Tadic is back there to snuff out the danger.

20 min: Southampton scramble in defence this time as Costa zips a low pass towards the penalty spot. Chelsea on the front foot once more.

19 min: Schneiderlin spanks a dipping shot over the bar from distance.

18 min: That goal had been coming to some extent, given that Southampton had been on the front foot for a few minutes beforehand. But I can’t remember the last time we saw the Chelsea defence so utterly undone.

Well, well, well. Terry is caught yards behind the rest of the back four and Mané springs the trap. Pelle nods down, Tadic dinks through and the former Red Bull Salzburg forward springs through before popping a calm, clever finish past Courtois.

16 min: Matic is robbed in midfield and all of a sudden Tadic is bearing down on the Chelsea back line. He looks to slip a pass through to Mané but Cahill just gets his toe to the ball to intercept.

14 min: … close! It’s flicked on then back across goal and Terry does brilliantly to deny Fonte with a sliding challenge. The follow-up corner is cleared with rather less fuss.

13 min: Southampton get into the final third for pretty much the first time and win a couple of throw-ins down by the corner flag. And then a corner …

12 min: Hazard clips the ball into the onrushing Schurrle, who does well to get there but far less well when dinking the ball over Fraser Forster, who has got himself into a slightly dodgy position. Goal kick.

10 min: “My mates and I always shouted ‘NUTS!’ rather than the aforementioned ‘MEGS!’ Is that just because I’m from down saaaf?” wonders my colleague Michael Butler. Yes. Yes it is. That and plain old Being Wrong.

9 min: … smashed clear by Pelle but Chelsea gather on halfway and begin to build again.

8 min: … headed clear but Fabregas works his way back in from the left with two lovely little pieces of skill taking out two defenders. Another corner. Scrambled clear. Another …

7 min: Fonte gives the ball away to Hazard 50 yards from goal and the Belgian breaks onto the Saints back four. He feeds Costa who delays a touch too long on the edge of the box. Corner …

6 min: Luis megs Yoshida (hopefully while shouting “MEGS!”) but he can’t find Hazard in the inside left channel. Chelsea pressing now, though.

5 min: By the by, if you’re looking for team news from the 3pm kick -offs in the Premier League it can all be found right here.

4 min: Mané looks to put Tadic away down the Southampton left but Cahill is quickly across to snuff out the danger.

2 min: Neat passing stuff from Southampton. In other news: bear heads into woods with roll of Andrex and the day’s paper.

1 min: Contrary to my team news earlier, Southampton look to have set up with a flat back four, with Yoshida at right-back and Targett (who I keep almost misnaming as Taggert, as in Gerry) on the left.

Peep! Off we go then. Southampton get things under way.

Glorious south-coast sunshine greets the players as they emerge. It’s chilly but we’re snow-free.

Click-clack, click-clack … the teams are in the tunnel. Well, I say tunnel. At St Mary’s it’s sort of a large foyer/vestibule area.

So a 2.05pm kick off. Why? Because modern football.

The full-time whistle has blown at White Hart Lane where Spurs have held Manchester United to a 0-0 draw. I have no idea whether this means United are Out Of The Title Race or Still In The Title Race.

Southampton (poss 3-5-2): Forster; Alderweireld, Fonte, Yoshida; Tadic, Davis, Schneiderlin, Wanyama, Targett; Mane, Pelle. Subs: Davis, Gardos, Long, Ward-Prowse, Isgrove, Reed, McCarthy.

Chelsea: (4-2-3-1): Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Luis; Matic, Mikel; Schurrle, Fabregas, Hazard; Costa. Subs: Cech, Zouma, Ramires, Drogba, Remy, Willian, Azpillicueta.

So which version of Southampton is going to turn up this afternoon? The Saints spent the autumn terrorising the Premier League like a spooky pirate in an episode of Scooby Doo, only to have their mask pulled off just before Christmas whereupon it turned out they were just Billy Kipper, the old fisherman, nothing scary about ‘em. Then that mask fell off, the spooky pirate was back and it has turned out once again that they are indeed a strangely powerful Premier League force capable of putting the heeby-jeebies into their rivals.

Thus far the division’s big boys have proved (to stretch the analogy well beyond breaking point) the inadvertently-Scooby-loosened-net to Saints’ Shaggy-botherers (not that one). Liverpool away, lost. Spurs away, lost. Man City at home, lost. Arsenal away, lost. Man Utd at home, lost. Um, Burnley away, lost. They have bounced back with consecutive wins against an out-of-sorts Everton and a just-about-to-sack-their-manager Palace but Chelsea will test whether their pre-festive slump has truly been turned around.

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