Tiemoue Bakayoko and Marcos Alonso

Chelsea defeated Southampton 1-0 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon to get a leg-up in the race for Champions League qualification ahead of the busy Christmas period.

The Premier League champions were not at their best by any means, but they say the mark of a good side is winning when you’re not at your best, and we did so today.

Ultimately it took a moment of brilliance from Marcos Alonso to separate the two sides. On the stroke of half-time Chelsea were awarded a free-kick 35-yards from goal. It looked as though Fraser Forster expected Willian to hit it and got his positioning all wrong. It was Alonso who stuck it and his effort nestled in the back of the Saints’ net. You can see the goal by clicking here.

Marcos Alonso

The title race is effectively over, but we need to keep winning games if we want to finish in the top four. Alvaro Morata and Cesc Fabregas also got a well-deserved rest, playing in brief second-half cameos, which is an added bonus.

Here’s our player ratings for Antonio Conte‘ men:

Courtois 7, Azpilicueta 6, Christensen 6, Cahill 5, Moses 7, Kante, Bakayoko 6, Alonso 8, Pedro 5, Willian 5, Hazard 7. (Subs: Fabregas 8, Morata 7, Zappacosta 6)

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