Chelsea loses to last-place Southampton 1-0 in a new low

LONDON (AP) — Chelsea’s season sunk to a new low after the London club lost at home to last-placed Southampton 1-0 in the English Premier League on Saturday in a game that also saw Cesar Azpilicueta carried off on a stretcher with a head injury.

James Ward-Prowse scored from a free kick on the stroke of halftime to ensure Graham Potter’s team went a fourth consecutive match without a win in the league.

Five of Chelsea’s eight January signings were in the starting lineup and Potter saw them struggle to find any invention against a Saints side set up by interim boss Ruben Selles to frustrate the host's expensive ensemble.

Chelsea has scored just once at home in 2023, and the lack of a recognized striker was apparent yet again.

Southampton took the lead in a familiar fashion. Ward-Prowse’s free kick was the 17th he has scored from in the league, putting him one behind David Beckham on the all-time list. This one arced over Chelsea’s wall and dropped crisply into the bottom corner beyond Kepa Arrizabalaga’s despairing dive.

Chelsea tried to respond after the break, but even the introduction of Kai Havertz and Mykhailo Mudryk failed to produce results while Chelsea was camped in Southampton’s defensive half for the final 30 minutes.

Raheem Sterling was denied at the back post by a flying block from Romain Perraud, then again on the rebound by Romeo Lavia. The pair celebrated as if top-flight safety had already been secured.

There was a 10-minute stoppage in play after Azpilicueta needed lengthy treatment after being hit in the head by an attempted overhead kick by Sékou Mara in the 74th minute.

Azpilicueta was taken off on a stretcher wearing a neck brace and breathing from an oxygen mask.


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