Southampton battle for a point

Chelsea's Frank Lampard
Chelsea's Frank Lampard

CHELSEA suffered another case of the Stamford Bridge stutters as they threw away a two-goal lead to Southampton.

Hours after Pep Guardiola announced he was taking charge of Bayern Munich, the dissent towards Benitez on the final whistle was clear.

The point for Southampton, unexpected given they were thumped 5-1 by Chelsea in the FA Cup just 11 days ago, lifts them three points above the relegation zone and they have the best goal difference in the bottom six.

In addition to starting with Ba and Lampard, Benitez brought Oscar and Gary Cahill into the side that beat Stoke 4-0.

Southampton also featured two changes, with Guly do Prado and Steven Davies coming into a five-man midfield and the Saints initially proved hard for Chelsea to break down. There were some nice touches from the Blues but they lacked any real penetration, with Oscar shooting wide after a neat build-up from Hazard, Ba and Juan Mata.

Almost inevitably, Lampard played a key role and Ba, who had marked his Chelsea debut with two goals in the FA Cup tie, finished.

And when Southampton made a hash of clearing their lines, Chelsea pounced for the second. Ramires rifled a shot off the post but Hazard followed up to drill a left-footed shot past Boruc.

The onus was on the visitors and manager Nigel Adkins threw on Lambert for Rodriguez after 55 minutes. Three minutes later he had scored.

Chelsea suddenly looked a bit nervous at the back. The Blues had chances to wrap up the game but Ba rifled a spectacular volley over the top and Lampard curled a free-kick wide.

And then, with 15 minutes remaining, Southampton equalised. Luke Shaw charged 50 yards down the left and pulled the cross back for Puncheon, who teed the ball up with his first touch and powered a volley past Cech.

Chelsea sent Torres on for Lampard to a chorus of boos. The Spaniard rifled one good chance wide.