Chelsea 3-3 Southampton
- Goals: Timo Werner (£9.3m) x2, Kai Havertz (£8.4m) | Danny Ings (£8.5m), Che Adams (£5.8m), Jannik Vestergaard (£4.5m)
- Assists: Ben Chilwell (£5.7m), Jorginho (£5.2m), Werner | Adams, Theo Walcott (£5.8m)
- Bonus: Werner x3, Adams x2, Ings x1
The first of two six-goal thrillers we witnessed over the weekend saw Chelsea and Southampton share the spoils at Stamford Bridge.
While not quite as catastrophic as Tottenham Hotspur’s capitulation, Chelsea’s own surrender saw them relinquish 2-0 and 3-2 leads and, like their rivals from north London, concede a stoppage-time equaliser.
Timo Werner (£9.3m) and Kai Havertz (£8.4m) at least opened their Premier League accounts as Chelsea’s new-look attack showed signs of promise, with the former playing a part in all three of the hosts’ goals and banking a 16-point haul.
Che Adams (£5.8m) also belatedly found form, setting up Danny Ings (£8.5m) for Southampton’s first goal before finding the net himself.
NOT BEFORE TIME-O
Looking more Fernando Torres than Diego Costa in the opening month of the campaign, Werner has suffered over two million sales and seen his Fantasy Premier League ownership halve since Gameweek 1.
There was belated reward for those who persisted with him on Saturday and the first real signs of the confident goal-getter we saw in the Bundesliga last season.
He made a mockery of Jan Bednarek (£4.5m) for Chelsea’s opener, dummying the Pole before cutting inside to fire a deflected effort past Alex McCarthy (£4.5m), and his second goal was superbly taken from a Jorginho (£5.2m) ball over the top of the Saints’ defence.
The omens were there from an early stage of this match, with the German seeing a header chalked off for offside and dragging a shot off-target from wide-left of the visitors’ area before he broke the deadlock.
Frank Lampard said of his striker’s display:
Really good individual goals in terms of how he made them for himself. He looked sharp. Our combination play in the first half was really sharp. For Timo to get those goals, it will be great for him in terms of getting his confidence, those first Premier League goals. So I’m really pleased and we’ll see a lot more of that from him.
In hindsight, this was all very obvious: a period of adaptation was needed as he adjusted to a new league and the inevitable improvement would arrive when he got up to full speed, as well as when Chelsea’s first-choice picks around him returned from injury.
The link-up play with his new teammates in the first half especially was hopefully a sign of things to come, although with strikers outperforming him above and below his price-point, much more is needed before anyone can indulge in the “punishing sellers” nonsense.
PULISIC ALL RIGHT
Christian Pulisic (£8.3m) made his first start of the season in Saturday’s game, blanking in an 86-minute showing against the Saints but “assisting the assister” for Chelsea’s third goal.
Too much more couldn’t have been expected of the American given that he had been out for three months through injury but he may not have been helped by his starting position.
Deployed on the right flank rather than his usual left wing, Pulisic showed some nice touches and a decent understanding with his new teammates but little of the penalty box menace that saw him come to prominence in FPL at the back-end of last season.
The consensus seems to be that Pulisic will be moved back over to the left when Hakim Ziyech (£7.9m) is deemed match-fit enough for a start and that indeed happened when the Moroccan was introduced as a second-half substitute.
Werner’s tendency to drift wide and Ben Chilwell‘s (£5.7m) forays up the wing could theoretically cause congestion on the left flank when Pulisic is stationed there but much of the joy he found last season was when he cut inside into central areas, so that may only serve to help him.
Lampard certainly seems keen on sticking with a 4-2-3-1 to accommodate his wealth of attacking options, saying afterwards:
Change needs work on the training ground, we haven’t had much of that so sometimes the work in progress is in games and today there were loads of great things from the 4-2-3-1, particularly in the first half.
In the second half I wouldn’t blame the shape of the team, more that we didn’t deal with the fact that Southampton were really keen to put us under pressure in their own half. We wanted to miss out their press, we didn’t do enough and that meant we turned the ball over in our own half, which irrespective of shape is always a problem.
INTO THE ATT-HAK
Ziyech made his first competitive appearance in a Chelsea shirt at the weekend, being handed an 18-minute cameo by his manager.
A set-piece specialist at Ajax, the Morocco international immediately made himself known at dead-ball situations and took the Blues’ two corners in the final quarter of an hour.
Ziyech is probably where Pulisic and Havertz were a month ago, with a few weeks needed before we can make an educated reading of his Fantasy potential.
The winger said after the game of his understanding with Messrs Pulisic, Werner and Havertz:
I’ve been out for a couple of weeks. But the last couple of weeks we’ve trained a lot and you can feel there is something, it just takes time to let it work.
Chelsea haven’t had a settled back four (or five) since Frank Lampard’s appointment and the fact that even the hitherto “nailed” Cesar Azpilicueta (£5.9m) is now deemed a rotation risk speaks volumes over the uncertainty in the Blues’ backline.
Reece James (£5.0m) always looked a precarious pick from the outset and so it has proved over the last two Gameweeks, with the young right-back an unused substitute in the 4-0 win over Crystal Palace a fortnight ago and then reduced to a five-minute cameo against Southampton on Saturday.
His 14-point haul on the opening weekend illustrates the rewards on offer when he does play, with his potential for bonus points as appealing as his attacking threat.
But a dearth of clean sheets under Lampard (just 10 in 43 matches) and the week-to-week unreliability will be too much for some, especially while Azpilicueta remains a viable alternative at right-back.
Edouard Mendy (£5.0m) might end up being the tonic that the ailing Chelsea defence needs but he was sidelined on Saturday, with Kepa Arrizabalaga (£4.8m) again fragile between the posts and partly at fault for Saints’ second goal.
Lampard said of Mendy’s recovery:
Mendy is at the minute injured and probably will be fit in the next week or two weeks and then that will be the decision for me to make about who plays.
After some early-season wobbles, Southampton are now three games unbeaten in the Premier League.
Both of their clean sheets have arrived against two very limited attacks, however, and in James Rodriguez (£7.9m), Everton – Southampton’s opponents in Gameweek 6 – have a ball-player who can unpick that now infamous high defensive line in the manner than Jorginho did for Chelsea’s second goal.
The Ings/Adams partnership continues to improve at the other end and the aggressive high press again paid dividends in west London, with Havertz and Kepa folding under pressure for the visitors’ first and second goals.
Everton oughtn’t hold any fear for Ings and co, with the Toffees having made more “defensive errors” (six) in Opta’s eyes than any other team this season.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side will head to Goodison Park without loanee Theo Walcott (£5.8m), who is ineligible to face his parent club, but the winger had a decent second debut and claimed the assist for Saints’ late leveller, with his manager saying:
Today it was more than okay, really. It wasn’t easy for him to step in immediately, do what we want to do and how we want to do it. He showed some good running with the ball, was calm in possession.
Chelsea XI (4-2-3-1): Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Zouma, Chilwell; Jorginho, Kante; Pulisic (James 87′), Havertz, Mount (Ziyech 72′); Werner (Abraham 90′).
Southampton XI (4-4-2): McCarthy; Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Vestergaard, Bertrand; Walcott, Romeu (Diallo 87′), Ward-Prowse, Redmond (Tella 77′); Adams (Long 86′), Ings.
LESSONS LEARNED FROM FPL GAMEWEEK 5
- Everton 2-2 Liverpool
- Chelsea 3-3 Southampton
- Manchester City 1-0 Arsenal
- Newcastle United 1-4 Manchester United
- Sheffield United 1-1 Fulham
- Crystal Palace 1-1 Brighton and Hove Albion
- Tottenham Hotspur 3-3 West Ham United
- Leicester City 0-1 Aston Villa
- West Bromwich Albion 0-0 Burnley
- Leeds United 0-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers