SOUTHAMPTON, England (Reuters) – Chelsea closed in on the Premier League’s top four and their in-form striker Tammy Abraham scored his eighth league goal of the season after an excellent first-half performance helped them to a 4-1 win at struggling Southampton on Sunday.
The result lifted Chelsea into fifth place on 14 points from eight games, behind fourth-placed Leicester on goal difference, while Southampton stayed 16th on seven points, one point above the relegation zone.
Abraham fired Chelsea ahead in the 17th minute as he latched on to a clever pass from Callum Hudson-Odoi and looped his shot over advancing keeper Angus Gunn, with the ball crossing the line before Maya Yoshida’s desperate clearance.
Mason Mount blasted the ball past Gunn in the 24th after taking a fine Willian pass in his stride before Danny Ings pulled one back for the Saints, poking the ball in from close range after Yann Valery’s darting run.
More slack defending from the home side allowed Chelsea to restore their two-goal advantage shortly before halftime, when N’Golo Kante’s fierce shot from outside the penalty area took a deflection off Pierre Hojbjerg.
The pace dropped in the second half as Chelsea packed their midfield before late substitute Michy Batshuayi, who came on for Abraham, put the icing on the cake for the visitors with a clinical 89th-minute finish.
(Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Toby Davis)