The Premier League season has reached the midway point, and the Blues now find themselves just one point clear of Manchester City atop the table*. After watching Chelsea dominate possession for the bulk of the 90 minutes against Southampton, many fans were left scratching their heads as to how the game ended in a draw.
*About that...thanks, Burnley
Southampton started very well, pressing Chelsea high up the pitch, and forcing some sloppy passes as a result. That sort of pressure was obviously unsustainable though, especially just 48 hours after a match, but Ronald Koeman was clearly hoping for an early goal to force Jose Mourinho's side to take risks.
That strategy paid off when Sadio Mane found himself one on one with Thibaut Courtois, and calmly slotted the ball into the corner when the Belgian rushed out to challenge. Unfortunately, the situation was entirely preventable, as a rare mental error from John Terry created the Chelsea deficit. The skipper was in fine position to deal with the run of Mane, but decided to step up and play the forward offside far too late. Just like that, the Saints had the lead, a position from which they hadn't dropped a point this season.
Luckily for the Blues, there was plenty of time to grab an equalizer, which they subsequently did. Eden Hazard produced a typical moment of magic as Chelsea began to take control of the game, and it was level at the break.
Mourinho made a halftime switch, pulling the ineffective Andre Schurrle off in favor of Willian. Almost immediately, Chelsea looked more dangerous, and Southampton began retreating into a shell. The Blues looked to have done enough to take the lead when Cesc Fabregas was tripped in the box, but instead of a deserved penalty, the Spaniard saw a yellow card for simulation.
Chelsea continued to do fantastic work around the penalty area, but were no better inside of it than they were in the first half. Didier Drogba and Loic Remy were brought on as Mourinho chased a late winner, but even after Morgan Schneiderlin saw red, the Saints managed to hold on for a point.
With that, the more difficult half of Chelsea's schedule is over, and one of the trickiest fixtures remaining will be up next for the Blues. Hopefully it will be a better performance from the squad at White Hart Lane.