Chelsea turned in a pedestrian first-half performance at St. Mary's and looked like they might be headed for a slight tumble down the table, but a couple of big substitutions sparked the Blues to life in the second half. Southampton were encouraging during the first 45 minutes, but fell apart late as Chelsea stormed to a much deserved 3-0 win.
Fernando Torres got a start up top ahead of Samuel Eto'o and Demba Ba, and for the first few minutes, he didn't exactly look like making the most of it. He had three solid chances in the first three minutes of the game, but failed to score with all three of them.
As has become customary over the last couple of months as Southampton have slid from top four to mid-table, Jose Mourinho set up his team to sit back and let Southampton control possession. Both on and off the ball, Chelsea waited for Southampton to pull themselves out of position before getting aggressive, resulting in Southampton mostly controlling the game, but looking vulnerable on the counter. This resulted in a virtual stalemate, with neither team creating clear chances in the first half.
Some early second-half substitutions caused the game to change. Luke Shaw was removed at halftime due to apparent fitness concerns, with Nathaniel Clyne replacing him. Early in the half, Mourinho made two big changes, bringing on Oscar and Willian for Juan Mata and Andre Schürrle, who had been mostly ineffective.
Oscar thought he'd drawn a penalty and a red card on Kelvin Davis in the 55th minute when he went down in the box off a challenge from the Southampton goalkeeper, but referee Martin Atkinson saw the incident differently and booked him for diving. The young Brazilian didn't have to wait much longer to make a positive impact on the game for his team, however. He set up the opening goal in the 60th minute, hitting a cross that took a deflection and ricochet off the far post. Torres was in a perfect position and pounced, heading the ball into an empty net.
Mauricio Pochettino responded by bringing striker Rickie Lambert on for midfielder Jack Cork, opening up some space for Chelsea. The Blues went on to capitalize in the 71st minute, with Willian picking up a pass from Oscar, then smashing a brilliant shot past Davis from 15 yards to double Chelsea's lead.
Oscar added the goal he previously should have scored shortly after coming on to his two assists in the 82nd minute, beating Southampton's high defensive line to get on the end of a pass by Eden Hazard and calmly place a shot into the back of the net, capping off the scoring.
Southampton: Davis, Shaw (Clyne 45'), Fonte, Lovren, Chambers, Schneiderlin, Davis (Ward-Prowse 76'), Cork (Lambert 60'), Lallana, Rodriguez, Ramirez
Chelsea: Cech, Cole, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Ramires, Mikel, Hazard, Mata (Oscar 53'), Schürrle (Willian 53'), Torres
Goals: Torres (60'), Willian (71'), Oscar (82')