Southampton gained a valuable point away at the Stamford Bridge through a sturdy display that saw them fully deserve a 1-1 draw despite the home side having a lot of chances to win the match. Diego Costa headed the league leaders in front but shortly afterwards; Dusan Tadic converted a penalty to draw parity. We take a look at three things we learnt from the match.
Chelsea will limp towards the title
Having romped to a strong lead before the winters arrived; Chelsea let the lead slip before opening up a sizeable gap again in the past couple of months which should see them comfortably win the title. Manchester City are now 6 points off Chelsea who also have a game in hand, and it is Arsenal who look more likely than City to finish 2nd following a breathtaking run of late.
Chelsea meanwhile can’t possibly lose the requisite three to four games without the chasing pack dropping points themselves and despite lethargy setting in big time primarily due to a lack of rotation; Mourinho will have his hands on the Premier League trophy come May.
The Saints will march forward till their last breath
A point was enough for Southampton to climb above Tottenham Hotspur into 6th place, just one off Liverpool but six behind Manchester United in 4th. However, difficult fixtures await both the teams above them and since realistically only the 4th spot is up for grabs, they will need both the clubs to drop points. Also, Southampton have the easiest run in of all the teams chasing the final Champions League place and after their performances at the Bridge, it would be foolish to write them off with nine games still to play.
Ronald Koeman has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water and even though they have tailed off a bit recently, their strong run in the early stages of the season will hold them in good stead as the pre-season relegation contenders contest for a place in Europe’s elite competition.
Southampton will face another summer of uncertainty
Display’s like Sunday mean that the midfield duo of Victor Wanyama and Morgan Schneiderlin will be heavily chased in the summer. After the clearout last summer, the last thing Ronald Koeman would have wanted was another summer of sale. Sadio Mane has also enjoyed a very good season along with Dusan Tadic, and the vultures in the form of bigger clubs will be out again to prise away some of Southampton’s valuable assets.