Chelsea’s superb record at St Mary’s continued as three first-half goals and one very late on secured a fine away win, moving the Blues up to fifth in the Premier League table before the break for international football.
Mason Mount doubled our lead midway through the first half following fine work from Willian and Jorginho, and N’Golo Kante netted our third shortly before the interval with a deflected 20-yarder. Between those two goals Danny Ings had got one back for the hosts, the goal stemming from a delivery out wide but not a set-piece.
We were good value for our lead, and in a less eventful second half always looked the more likely to score the game’s fifth goal. Hudson-Odoi had a great chance early on having been released by Willian, but Angus Gunn’s outstretched leg denied him.
The keeper could do nothing about our fourth with a minute left. Sub Christian Pulisic brilliantly slipped in Michy Batshauyi, also brought off the bench, and he finished with aplomb to round off another cracking afternoon for the Blues.
The result makes it four wins on the bounce in all competitions, and a third straight away success in the league. We have a chance to continue the good run when Newcastle visit Stamford Bridge in a fortnight’s time.
Lampard made a solitary change to the team that started in France on Wednesday, with Callum Hudson-Odoi coming in for his first league start this season. Reece James made way, and the formation reverted to a back four with three in midfield.
We kicked off, wearing all blue, but conceded possession a couple of times in the first 45 seconds, giving Nathan Redmond a chance to whistle a shot just over from the edge of the box.
Reassuringly, we dealt with two Southampton corners early on, and mustered an opening of our own in the 10th minute. Hudson-Odoi found Abraham whose shot from 20 yards was comfortable for Angus Gunn.
Jorginho was then booked for intent rather than contact after Cesar Azpilicueta was surprisingly not awarded a free-kick of his own. Our vice-captain is now one yellow card away from a ban.
The opening quarter-of-an-hour had perhaps been our worst of the season, but individual quality showed when we took the lead in the 17th minute.
Hudson-Odoi spotted the run of Abraham and, with the help of the wind, floated a pass into space between defence and keeper. Our striker still had so much to do, but the execution of his lob simply couldn’t have been better, flicked high into the Southampton sky. It dropped just under the crossbar and although Maya Yoshida acrobatically cleared, goal-line technology showed the ball has crossed the line by a few centimetres.
It was 2-0 on 24 minutes. Jan Bednarek’s sideways header was short, and flicked over Oriol Romeu’s head by Willian to Jorginho, who returned the favour. The weight and timing of Willian’s follow-up pass was perfect, and Mount took his time before finishing unerringly past Gunn from six yards. It was clearly a sweet moment for the man who grew up supporting Portsmouth.
He might have doubled his tally, first shooting over from 20 yards and then sliding a much better chance wide from Abraham’s cute pass inside.
We were punished for that miss on the half-hour, when Ings bundled home Yan Valery’s cross with the help of a lucky ricochet off Zouma, continuing his good record against the top sides.
Redmond fired into the side-netting immediately but we reasserted our authority and regained our two-goal advantage five minutes before the break.
Not for the first time in the half Alonso, making his 100th league appearance for us, caused the danger. He found space on the left flank and picked out Willian with a square ball that Hudson-Odoi cleverly stepped over. Kante was the recipient and had time to line up his shot, which deflected off Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, deceiving Gunn.
In stoppage time at the end of the half, Tomori gave the ball away to Ings in a very dangerous position, but Jorginho sensed the danger and got behind Kepa to clear the goalbound shot to safety in front of the travelling Blues support.
They almost had further cause for celebration three minutes after the restart. Willian did superbly in central midfield, skipping past a couple of challenges before finding Hudson-Odoi to his left. One-on-one, his shot clipped the leg of Gunn and went wide.
James Ward-Prowse curled a free-kick over and Abraham forced Gunn into a low save after more willing running from Hudson-Odoi. The interplay between those two, as well as Willian and Mount, was a joy to watch all afternoon.
The Blues continued to hunt for goal number four during a sustained spell of territory and possession, but in contrast to the first half, the final pass or run was lacking.
With 10 minutes left Mateo Kovacic and Pulisic replaced Mount and Hudson-Odoi respectively.
Batshuayi for Abraham was our final sub, and it was the Belgian who put a full stop on proceedings with time almost up. Pulisic had the vision to see the pass and the quality to execute it, picking out Batshuayi who nutmegged Gunn for his first goal back at the Bridge.
It capped another fantastic day, our 10th win out of 13 at this ground, and our biggest league win away to the Saints since 1968!
Chelsea (4-3-3) Kepa; Azpilicueta (c), Tomori, Zouma, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho, Mount (Kovacic 80); Willian, Abraham (Batshuayi 84), Hudson-Odoi (Pulisic 80).
Unused subs Caballero, Christensen, James, Barkley.
Scorers Abraham 17, Mount 24, Kante 40, Batshuayi 89
Booked Jorginho 12
Southampton (4-3-3) Gunn; Valery, Bednarek, Yoshida, Bertrand; Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Hojbjerg (c); Redmond (Boufal 81), Ings (Adams 81), Long (Obafemi 73).
Unused subs McCarthy, Stephens, Danso, Armstrong.
Scorer Ings 30
Referee Paul Tierney