Chelsea extended their unbeaten start to the Premier League season by comfortably beating Southampton at St Mary’s.
Eden Hazard opened the scoring for the Blues, who temporarily go top of the table, with Liverpool and Manchester City set to kick-off at 16:30 BST.
Ross Barkley added their second, tapping in Olivier Giroud’s acrobatic cross, before substitute Alvaro Morata netted a third, chipping over oncoming home goalkeeper Alex McCarthy.
Defeat for Mark Hughes’ side means they remain in 16th, and their run without a win against the Premier League’s ‘big six’ is extended to 26 games.
Chelsea started strongly, and almost took the lead after seven minutes when Willian’s low shot hit the bar via a deflection off Wesley Hoedt.
But the in-form Hazard was on hand to break the deadlock on the half-hour mark when he slotted past McCarthy from Barkley’s pass.
And while Danny Ings and Ryan Bertrand spurned fine chances for the hosts, Hughes’ side could not put Chelsea under any sustained pressure.
The Blues have now won nine of their 11 games across all competitions this season, with league draws against West Ham and Liverpool the only blights on their record.
Hazard and Barkley shine for Blues
Few believed the Chelsea squad would be able to alter their style of play to match Sarri’s expectations when the Italian was appointed in July.
But in simple terms, they have flourished. And ‘Sarriball’ was on show for all to see in the first 15 minutes at St Mary’s, as the Blues held 86% of possession.
And although Southampton did grow into the game after that opening spell, they could not keep Chelsea quiet for long.
Hazard’s finish was typically clinical, but Barkley should also take plaudits for the opener, as it was the former Everton man who dispossessed Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in midfield before playing a perfectly weighted pass to the Belgian.
That assist was Barkley’s first in the league since April 2017, and 12 minutes into the second half, he notched his first league goal since May 2017 by tapping in Giroud’s cross.
Barkley, who was named in Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad on Thursday, was substituted on 81 minutes after a fine afternoon’s work, but Chelsea didn’t let up and they added a third deep into injury time.
Hazard again was at the heart of it as he slid in Morata, who dinked over McCarthy to score his second in as many games, after netting the winner in Thursday’s Europa League clash with Vidi.
The international break has perhaps come at a bad time for Sarri and his team, given their form, but nonetheless they will carry plenty of confidence into their next Premier League match against Manchester United on Saturday, 20 October.
More to follow.
Source BBC News