|Chelsea 0 v 0 Southampton|
Barclays Premier League
Wednesday, 2nd January 2019 Kick-off 19:45
Saints At Chelsea The Verdict
Wednesday, 2nd Jan 2019 23:03
A point gained and a place dropped, but it was still a good nights work for a resolute Saints team at Stamford Bridge.
I said in the preview that if Saints were to get a point or more in a game against the Big Six then they would need to start defending with strength, Ralph Hasenhuttl revamped his defence including as I had predicted in the preview giving a Premier League debut to Angus Gunn and all put in a steadfast performance that meant that we deserved a point although perhaps not all three.
Vestergaard Bednarek and Yoshida dug in and Valery on the right had a great game as did Cedric in an unfamiliar role on the Left, but it was Gunn who stole the show.
The keeper on his Premier League debut looked confident and assured, he looked happy to be out there and not nervous and everything he did belayed his age and experience at this level.
But we needed a little bit more than just solid defending and it also meant the midfield had to track back and stay as a unit with Romeu, JWP Redmond and Armstrong biting at the Chelsea midfield and then trying to go on the break, Ings was replaced by Long at half time, not a reflection on his game just that we needed more work rate and Long provided that, we defended from the back to the front and after a month the fitness work is starting to pay off and we looked as fresh at the end as at any time during the game.
All in all a great team effort and a performance that gives us confidence that the team can start to pull away from relegation, but this was not to be the night for that, Burnley's win at Huddersfield leaping them above us.
But for us this was incidental, this was an unexpected point and one that makes our rivals sit up and take notice, ironically it was a draw at Stamford Bridge 7 years ago that in Nigel Adkins last game that started our rise up the Premier League, perhaps this will also be a catalyst.
Our future is in our own hands, three teams are only two points above us and we go into the second half of the season with more confidence than any of them and overall a stronger squad.
Ralph Hasenhuttl has taken 7 points from his 6 games in charge and has had a solid start given the chaos he inherited from Mark Hughes, but things have changed and will continue to improve, we have seen the worst and have still come out the other end in better shape than we were in a month ago.
Picking a man of the match is hard, this was a team effort, but for me Angus Gunn stood out, you could see why we paid £12 million for him and it wasn't to sit on the bench,.
Photo: Action Images
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