With Eden Hazard gone, a transfer embargo and a young manager working with an even younger squad they were hardly the ideal circumstances to make a push for the top spot. But, heading into the second international break, Chelsea’s bid to be best of the rest is gaining momentum after brushing aside Southampton to move up to fifth.
They look as well-placed as anyone to claim one of those coveted Champions League positions behind Manchester City and Liverpool.
The injection of youth has brought a vibrancy and energy to this Chelsea side and they have dovetailed well with the more seasoned campaigners youngsters Lampard has relied on to form a side who have thrived with the shackles taken off them after Maurizio Sarri’s restricting football last season.
There was more evidence of how they have gelled at St Mary’s which has become more of a happier home for Chelsea than Southampton recently.
Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount scored Chelsea’s first two goals and Callum Hudson-Odoi also impressed on his return to Chelsea’s Premier League starting side, all good news for England boss Gareth Southgate who has the first two in his current squad and Hudson-Odoi in the under-21s.
Then N’Golo Kante scored Chelsea’s third before Jorginho and other members of Chelsea’s old guard manage them way through the second half before Michy Batshuayi applied the late gloss.
There were a few shaky defensive moments to cause Lampard some concern but not enough to ever leave the result in doubt or take away from how his side took full advantage of their generous hosts.
This was Chelsea’s fifth win a row here, an outcome that prompted jeers from the home fans at full time. And no wonder. They have not seen a home win since April and remain just a point outside the drop zone. These are worrying times for boss Ralph Hasenhuttl.
MATCH FACTS AND STATS
SOUTHAMPTON: Gunn, Valery, Bednarek, Yoshida, Bertrand, Romeu, Hojbjerg, Ward-Prowse, Redmond, Ings, Long
SUBS NOT USED: McCarthy, Stephens, Adams, Armstrong, Boufal, Obafemi, Danso
GOALS: Ings 30
CHELSEA: Arrizabalaga, Azpilicueta, Zouma, Tomori, Alonso, Kante, Jorginho, Willian, Mount, Hudson-Odoi, Abraham
SUBS NOT USED: Christensen, Barkley, Caballero, Kovacic, Pulisic, Batshuayi, James
GOALS: Abraham 16, Mount 24, Kante 39
Referee: Paul Tierney (Lancashire)