Olivier Giroud leads three-goal Chelsea comeback to deflate Southampton

With seven games left in its Premier League season, and perhaps in this Premier League life, Southampton knew that survival would require something special. It would require some quality that it had been lacking all season.

What Southampton definitely did not need – and what it instead got – was two collapses against the Big Six, and a gap between itself and 17th place that looks as concrete as it has all season.

One week after relinquishing an early lead at Arsenal, the Saints blew a two-goal lead at home against Chelsea. For the second consecutive weekend, they lost 3-2. And this time around, the defeat felt particularly deflating.

Because Southampton finally got the quality a relegation escape would require. Dusan Tadic finished off an excellent back-to-front move to put the hosts up 1-0 at halftime.

On the hour mark, Jan Bednarek latched onto a trademark James Ward-Prowse free kick to double the lead.

And with 25 minutes remaining on Saturday, the live Premier League table looked like this:

TEAM                     GP   PTS
15. Swansea          32     32
16. Huddersfield    33     32
17. Southampton   33     31
18. Crystal Palace  33     31

With 10 minutes remaining, with St. Mary’s stunned, and the first two of those crucial seven games all but finished, the table looked like this:

TEAM                     GP   PTS
15. Swansea           32     32
16. Huddersfield     33     32
17. Crystal Palace   33     31
18. Southampton   33     28

Olivier Giroud, having replaced Alvaro Morata, brought Chelsea back into the game in the 70th minute with a wonderful header.

Eden Hazard leveled the match five minutes later when Southampton defenders lost him in the box.

Three minutes after that, Giroud won it in customary supersub style.

Southampton has now dropped 19 points from winning positions in the Premier League this season, and a whopping 10 against the Big Six. Those numbers, in a sluggish, haphazard season, look set to send the Saints back down to the Championship.

Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud, center, celebrates scoring his side’s third goal of the game during their English Premier League soccer match against Southampton at St Mary’s Stadium, Southampton, England, Saturday, April 14, 2018. (Adam Davy/PA via AP)

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Henry Bushnell covers global soccer, and occasionally other ball games, for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Email him at henrydbushnell@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @HenryBushnell.

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