FT: Chelsea 2 Southampton 2

Thanks for all your comments today folks! Don't forget, you can always follow me on Twitter: @RazMirza to send me your views so speak to you all soon!

FULL-TIME: Home is where the turmoil is for Rafa Benitez's Chelsea as visitors Southampton come from two goals down to earn a point. Demba Ba scored his first Premier League goal for the club at home and his third in 11 days against their opponents before Eden Hazard put the Blues in a comfortable lead before the break. But substitute Rickie Lambert struck two minutes and 47 seconds after coming on and Jason Puncheon grabbed a point with a wonderful equaliser to push Saints three clear of the drop zone.

Southampton look comfortable at the back as they deal with another long ball looking for Demba Ba.

Juan Mata's cross is poor as is Fernando Torres' from the right which drifts straight out of play and he gets some terrible stick from the home fans.

Desperate defending from the visitors now as they sit back in numbers hoping to hold out for a point.

There will be four added minutes of stoppage time at Stamford Bridge. Are we going to get a dramatic late winner?

Gary Cahill is up in the Saints box and he claims he's brought down, but nothing is doing. Referee Michael Oliver waves play on.

David Luiz gives the ball away and Southampton look to counter, but the Brazilian wins it back and now they've been awarded a free-kick on halfway.

@DomCooke1 Tweets: "Hi Raz, god knows why he's bought on torres, but at least they're finally trying 442 , come on you blues."

Chelsea will be 13 points behind Manchester United if the score stays like this.

WIDE!! Fernando Torres comes inside Jos Hooiveld before lashing his right-foot shot wide of the near post.

YELLOW CARD: David Luiz blocks Gaston Ramirez for a blatant foul and referee Michael Oliver has no hesitation in making the first booking of the match.

Frantic defending from the visitors as Demba Ba's strike is blocked and then Torres attempts a scissor-kick from the edge of the box.

@JohnEngland78 says: "All the "rugby score to one" score line predictions, yada yada! Thas number two for saints!!"

We're in for a great finish to this game. Southampton heads never dropped even when they went two goals down tonight. It's been a great testament to the way Nigel Adkins' side have played.

@Fallin4aMonster Tweets: "Hi Raz, Chelsea need to up their game to beat this sharp Southampton side, i think it will end up 3-2 to Chelsea."

SUBSTITUTION: Fernando Torres comes on for Frank Lampard. It will mean a 4-4-2 for Chelsea!

Guess who's coming on for Chelsea? Torres is stripping off and preparing to make his entrance.

At the other end, Chelsea win a free-kick about 30-yards from goal, but David Luiz's strike is charged down by the wall despite claims for a penalty by the home supporters.

Magnificent equaliser for Southampton and superb play down the left from 17-year-old Luke Shaw, who beat Cesar Azpilicueta before delivering a cross which sat up nicely for Puncheon to smash his effort into the back of the net in a blink of an eye.


SUBSTITUTION: Final change for the visitors sees Gaston Ramirez replace the ineffective Do Prado.

At the other end, Saints win a corner, but it's food and drink for Petr Cech.

JUST WIDE!! Frank Lampard sends his right-footer over the wall, but just past the near post with Artur Boruc beaten.

Juan Mata looks to be in some pain and is receiving some medical attention.

Maya Yoshida hacks down Juan Mata just outside the box. This is made for Frank Lampard or David Luiz.

@MrRov Tweets: "Looks like mystic dan is spends to much time on his dream team!! Good call though lovely assist from clyne helping my dream team."

GREAT MOVE!! Brilliant interplay between Juan Mata and Demba Ba as the striker drives forward and collects the Belgian's pass before firing over the crossbar. What a goal that would have been!

SUBSTITUTION: Richard Chaplow replaces Steven Davis for Southampton then.

David Luiz is like a quarter-back as he spread his pass to Hazard and he sets up Cole, but he blasts his effort into a Saints player.

Richard Chaplow is warming up and he looks to be coming on for Nigel Adkins' side as Chelsea keep possession and look to take the sting out of the game.

Ben is a little shocked: "Can't believe we've conceded to a man who has just come on. Still, I think we will win 5-1 with Ba getting another, Lampard with a penalty and Torres of the bench. C'mon you blues!!"

The danger is coming from the right and Clyne, who sends over another cross to the back post looking for you know who, but it's too long this time.

Nathaniel Clyne looks for Lambert at the back post, so Cesar Azpilicueta decides to head the ball up in the air.

Two minutes and 47 seconds is took for Lambert to make an impact for the visitors. They're back on the ball again.

Will Chelsea show some nerves as we approach the hour mark? Makes for an interesting final 30 minutes.

The boy can finish and Southampton are back in the game at Stamford Bridge.

Instant impact from the Saints main man. Nathaniel Clyne's superb delivery from the right is headed past Petr Cech by the towering Englishman. He's into double figures for the season now!


Chelsea do have John Terry ready to come back remember.

@br0hank Tweets: "Not sure why Luiz is at the back. His passing has been superb and he looks like a midfielder. Ba brace and one from Lamps for 4-0."

SUBSTITUTION: It's the return of the Saint as Rickie Lambert comes onto the pitch for Jay Rodriguez.

Not really! He's playing in a deeper role tonight,a lthough when he does come forward, he looks a threat.

@Jkj555 Tweets: "How's Lampard looked? Like scoring?"

If the corner was bad, the free-kick was even worse as it drifts over everybody and out for a goalkick.

Oscar brings down Morgan Schneiderlin on the far side after the corner was badly overhit.

Nathaniel Clyne charges forward, but David Luiz comes across to make the tackle and he concedes a soft corner.

@cameronwilson00 Tweets: "Im a Chelsea fan and Im going for a 3-0 win with one more from Ba!" That was my tip before the game Cameron!

The second half has started in the same fashion as the first. The tempo is very slow once again and Chelsea seem happy enough to sit back and counter-attack.

Dan is mystified: "How come Southampton left out their greatest goal threat and their most creative players in Lambert and Ramires? Seems like they were playing for a draw! I hope chelsea take Ba off now he has got a goal seen as i havn't got him in my dream team."

Ashley Cole gets forward and attempts an audacious chip from just inside the area, from the angle, but Artur Boruc handles well.

Richard Shirran emails in to say: "A slow start from Chelsea ,but once they got in their stride it seemed like they could score for fun. But Saints are not laying down and they are trying to take the game to Chelsea. This could make for an interesting second half."

Chelsea's Premier League record when they've been two goals up at half-time is W87 D1 L1, with the only defeat coming against Norwich in September 1992. Not good news if your a Southampton fan as the hosts get the second half underway.

If you'd like to air your views during the second half, email Raz...that's me! at razwan.mirza@bskyb.com or Tweet me: @RazMirza and I'll publish as many as I can.

Chelsea are now 1/100 to claim victory with @Skybet, who make Southampton 100/1 and the draw 25/1. The Blues have won their last five league and cup games against Southampton, scoring a total of 15 goals, so I went for an easy home win - 3-0, which was priced at a steady 13/2 before the game and is now 11/4. Head now to SKYBET to place your bets on this match.

HALF-TIME: Chelsea comfortably lead Southampton at the break. They broke the deadlock after 25 minutes thanks to Demba Ba who saw his right-foot volley take a slight deflection to beat Artur Boruc at his near post. They doubled their advantage in stoppage time as Ramires smashed his effort against the post but Eden Hazard finished the move off with a controlled left-foot strike from just inside area.

Perfect timing for the Blues as we approach the break. Southampton fail to clear a corner which allows Ramires to smash his deflected shot off the post, but the Belgian controls his volley from the edge of the box past Artur Boruc and into the corner. Lovely finish.


Chelsea are finishing the half stronger as Artur Boruc tips the balla round the post after the ball deflects up and towards the back of the net off Eden Hazard.

JUST WIDE! Juan Mata picks out Frank Lampard on the edge of the box, but the midfielder fires his right-foot shot wide if the far post.

Luke Shaw races back to make a neat covering tackle to deny Frank Lampard a certain shot on target after a superb move. Great work from the youngster!

CLOSE! Juan Mata plays Demba Ba through the middle, but this time Artur Boruc races out to make the clearance, but that's the threat he poses.

One again, Saints pass the ball around well enough, but then they decide to come back rather than attempt a killer pass.

Elliot is confident and he emails in to say: "Rodriguez scored around this time in the FA Cup, so its going to be 5-1 to southampton!!!"

Fernando Torres is warming up on the sidelines and he's given a good ovation by the home supporters.

CHANCE!! Maya Yoshida finds Jay Rodriguez with a fine straight pass and the striker controls the ball in an instant before laying it off for Steven Davis, but he can only sidefoot the ball wide of the far post. Unlucky!

@RyanCParry Tweets: "4-1 to the blues, Torres to come on at half-time, some the fans who's top priority between himself and Ba."

Frank Lampard is happy to drop deep and sit in front of the backline as David Luiz tries to pick out Eden Hazard's run, but it's well intercepted.

@Nicky_Tizzle is a happy Blues fan. "There's one for Ba! Hopefully at least one more, then can we please say Adios to Torres!? COME ON CHELSEA!!"

Jason Puncheon fails to latch onto a through ball into the box, but that was a decent half chance not taken.

Nathaniel Clyne's delivery does not clear the first man and now the hosts look to break, but Ramires is clumsy and gifts the ball back.

Jason Puncheon curls the ball in, but Eden Hazard heads behind for a corner.

Saints game plan has to change now as Ba brings down Jack Cork for a free-kick.

Chelsea will open up a four point gap over fourth-placed Tottenham if they secure all three points tonight and that Ba goal was exactly what they've been missing in attack.

Frank Lampard plays the ball back for Cesar Azpilicueta whose cross is deflected up in the air by Jos Hooiveld and Ba swivels to sends his right-foot shot into the far corner past Artur Boruc. That's his third goal against Southampton in a matter of 11 days.


David Luiz is flustered by the lack of movement ahead of him as he slams the ball long and aimless. It drifts out of play for a goal kick to Saints.

The tempo is slow and Gary Cahill gives the ball away with a poor pass, but they soon win it back.

Well, we've hardly had a shot on goal worthy of note so far as Chelsea keep the ball at the back and pass it around.

That is until Chelsea win the ball back and look immediately for Demba Ba, but he handles it with his arm and a free-kick is awarded.

There's a lack of atmosphere at the Bridge tonight and Saints seem to be growing in confidence.

Demba Ba fails to catch his long distance strike and Artur Boruc collects easily.

The 16th minute has been and gone with the home fans standing for their No.16 Roberto Di Matteo of course.

Stephen Garbett emails in to say: "I personally think Chelsea have already lined up their next manager, and Rafa is being used to do the dirty work. Whoever comes in will almost certainly be popular as not being Rafa."

Nathaniel Clyne chips the ball into the box for Jason Puncheon, but he fails to direct his header on target from about 10-yards.

We approach the quarter-of-an-hour mark at Stamford Bridge with the game still goalless and Southampton will be happy with the start they've made.

@MikedaProdigy_6 Tweets me to say: "I think the Blues are to win at least 3-0, I'm also expecting Demba Ba to Score too!"

Eden Hazard picks out Frank Lampard, who decides to move the ball across one more time for Cesar Azpilicueta, but he thumps the ball over the crossbar from a tight angle.

David Luiz is pinging the ball around quite brilliantly in these early stages and he now finds Juan Mata with a 50-yard pass.

Moments later, Frank Lampard is unable to climb high enough to meet the cross from the right.

Chelsea come close to breaking the deadlock as Eden Hazard breaks into the box.

Ollie_kirby Tweets: "Not sure if can cause a major upset with Guly starting and no Lambert and Ramirez! Happy to be proved wrong though!"

Southampton are unbeaten in four games heading into this clash and the early signs are good because they've passed the ball around confidently.

Now Chelsea are on the ball and David Luiz decides to come out of defence as he looks to find Demba Ba, but the striker fails to control the super pass.

Martin Batten says: "Huge Saints fan here, going to be a very open game. Saints will struggle to get three points but with a bit of luck and Jay's pace we could easily open Chelsea up and get the early goal. 2-2."

However, the hosts break through Demba Ba and Frank Lampard, whos ets up Oscar, but he can only drill his daisycutter wide of the far post.

Positive start from the men wearing red tonight as they keep poessession and look to prize an opening.

Jon says: "With Guardiola going to Bayern, it has to be the return of The Special One to the Bridge!"

The visitors end up going back to Artur Boruc, despite being in a decent position to attack Chelsea. Morgan Schneiderlin opted to turn back.

It's a surprise to see Rickie Lambert and Gaston Ramirez on the Saints bench, but they're on the ball looking to counter-attack in these early stages.

Toby Day emails in to say: "Hi, very excited for tonights match!!! I support Chelsea! My prediction is 5-0!!!"

Chelsea are in their tradional blue kit, while visitors Southampton are in wearing an all-red number as we get underway at Stamford Bridge.

Meanwhile, @HarveyGoodliffe Tweets: "Think Ba should start ahead of Torres every game he can..Not only does he actually score, but he brings others into the game well!"

@r1chh1ll1er Tweets: "Looking forward for another annihilation from the Blues 4-1 with Ba to grab a brace."

And what about you Southampton fans! Do you think your team can cause a major upset at the Bridge tonight? Let me know your views please as the teams line-up in the tunnel.

Chelsea fans, let me here your views on Demba Ba starting ahead of Fernando Torres and of course the big news that Pep Guardiola will be joining Bayern Munich as head coach!

Great comments ladies and gents! Please keep them coming in as we approach the 7:45pm kick-off here at Stamford Bridge. Email Raz...that's me! at razwan.mirza@bskyb.com or Tweet me: @RazMirza and I'll publish as many as I can.

While @Niall_McGrath has the same idea as me and Rudy: "I'm going to call it as being 3-0 to Chelsea."

@rudybiggingtonn simply Tweets: "Comfortable 3-0 win for Chelsea."

@CamWittyBanter5 Tweets: "I think it will be a good game tonight with both sides getting good chances I see a thriller 3-3 with Ba definitely to score."

Kayode Akinjare says: "This is an important encounter for the Blues! In my own view, it's gonn be 4-0 for Chelsea with Ba having a brace. Mata and Lamps would also be on the score sheet. Torres should fasten his seat belt and warm the bench as the thrilling encounter progresses!"

Chelsea fan Matt from Kettering says: "Can only see a home win, however with our home form being so poor at the minute I don't think it will be as easy as it was when we played each other in the cup. 2-0 win with Mata scoring and Oscar hitting an absolute screamer! Come on you Blues! "

PhilandIris Ellis makes a point about Pep Guardiola joining Bayern Munich: "We can all heave a sigh of relief now that Pep is going to Bayern. Remember, this is the manager of the alleged best team in the world and they couldn't beat us in 2 games - one of which we played for 50 odd minutes with only 10 men!!!!"

Brian Crowe reckons it'll be easy for the Blues tonight: "Chelsea to win comfortably tonight.... Going for 5-1 or 4-1 with Mata to grab 2 and 1 from Hazard and Ba .... Come on the Blues!"

Anthony in Dublin is first to write in and he says: "I think Chelsea will win this but they have had some slips at home. It will interesting to see if Ba can try solve that. And will he or Torres start." Well Anthony, we know now that Ba starts ahead of the Spaniard.

Chelsea are 2/9 to claim victory with our friends @Skybet, who make Southampton 11/1 and the draw 5/1. Frank Lampard has scored seven goals in eight Premier League starts for the Blues this season. He has also scored four goals in his last three League appearances against Southampton and he's a 9/2 shot to score first tonight. If you fancy a scorecast boost, then why not put your money on Demba Ba to score first and Chelsea to win 3-0, which is a handy 16/1. For Saints, Jay Rodriguez to score first is 14/1 while Guilherme Do Prado is a 20/1 shot. The west Londoners have won their last five league and cup games against Southampton, scoring a total of 15 goals, so I'm hedging my bets and going for an easy home win - 3-0, which is priced at a steady 13/2. Head now to SKYBET to place your bets on this match.

CHELSEA TEAM NEWS: Gary Cahill returns to the Blues starting line-up with Branislav Ivanovic moving to the bench. David Luiz remains at centre-back alongside the England international while Frank Lampard continues alongside Ramires in midfield. Oscar replaces Ryan Bertrand with Demba Ba selected as centre-forward ahead of Fernando Torres. John Terry is again among the subs.

SOUTHAMPTON TEAM NEWS: Right-back Nathaniel Clyne returns for Saints with Jack Cork moving to midfield and James Ward-Prowse making way. Jos Hooiveld replaces injured captain Jose Fonte while Jay Rodriguez is preferred to Rickie Lambert in attack. The Englishman - scorer of nine goal this season - drops to the bench.

CHELSEA: Cech; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Luiz, Cole; Ramires, Lampard (c); Oscar, Mata, Hazard; Ba

SUBSTITUTES: Turnbull, Ivanovic, Ferreira, Terry, Bertrand, Marin, Torres.

SOUTHAMPTON: Boruc; Clyne, Hooiveld, Yoshida, Shaw; Schneiderlin (c), Cork; Puncheon, S Davis, Do Prado; Rodriguez.

SUBSTITUTES: K Davis, Fox, Ward-Prowse, Ramirez, Seaborne, Chaplow, Lambert.

REFEREE: Michael Oliver (Northumberland).

Here come the teams...

For Southampton, Jose Fonte, Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw are injured, while Emmanuel Mayuka is at the African Cup of Nations with Zambia. Although they lost 5-1 to Chelsea in the FA Cup less than two weeks ago, Nigel Adkins' Saints are in team good form, taking 17 points from their last 11 Premier League games, just one fewer than Chelsea. Their last away match, at Aston Villa, brought three points that lifted them out of the relegation zone. "Chelsea are under pressure to win every game and it will be interesting to see if Rafa Benitez can win the fans around. We have a point to prove," admitted Adkins.

The Blues' last two home games - defeats against QPR in the league and Swansea in the League Cup - have finished with them being booed off the pitch but they excelled at the weekend, a 4-0 win at Stoke, and also welcomed John Terry back from injury. The club captain may start his first game since November, while Gary Cahill is also available after missing the Stoke match. Although the west Londoners have won five consecutive away games, scoring 17 goals, their home form has been poor. Benitez is expected to urge his side to go for the jugular and maximise his team's attacking potency with both Demba Ba and Fernando Torres available for selection. Winning against Southampton, a fixture postponed from December, would put Chelsea four points behind second-placed Manchester City.

If you'd like to air your views before or during the match, email Raz...that's me! at razwan.mirza@bskyb.com or Tweet me: @RazMirza and I'll publish as many as I can.

Hello and welcome to our live minute-by-minute text commentary of this Premier League clash between Chelsea and Southampton from Stamford Bridge.

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