Here is how the national media have reacted to Chelsea’s 3-1 win over Southampton.
“Unstructured, chaotic and bloody good fun,” writes Vithushan Ehantharajah.
“No doubt Chelsea’s 3-1 victory over Southampton was everything Thomas Tuchel is against. But even as one of the best organisers in Europe, perhaps even the Chelsea manager may accept this engaging fixture simply for the nourishment it brought.
“Not just for the soul, who for all beyond those with Southampton allegiances will have enjoyed a rough and tumble encounter of high quality and contention. But also for a Chelsea side who responded to successive defeats with a fifth Premier League win of the season.
“A disallowed goal, an iron-clad penalty and a reassessed red card – the latter two both involving James Ward-Prowse, who scored the equalising spot-kick and was then given his marching orders 16 minutes later – were notable moments involving Martin Atkinson. The referee was booed at half-time for the first before receiving a hero’s welcome for the third.
“The best ovation, however, was saved for Timo Werner. Having been on the wrong end of the goal chalked off in the first half, which would have added to Trevoh Chalobah’s ninth-minute opener, he tapped in to reassert Chelsea’s lead six minutes from time. Ben Chilwell then added the garnish on what, all told, was an important, hard-fought win.”
Jacob Steinberg wrote: “Stamford Bridge had become an anxious place by the time Thomas Tuchel readied his final change in the 83rd minute. The doubts were starting to build. Under pressure after those limp defeats to Manchester City and Juventus, Chelsea were looking frazzled after allowing this game to spiral out of control, and it was hard to see where a winner was coming from when Tuchel turned to one of England’s forgotten men, telling Ross Barkley to come on instead of Kai Havertz or Hakim Ziyech.
“At that stage, with Southampton’s 10 men clinging on for a point after James Ward-Prowse’s red card, nobody could have predicted what was to come.
“Nobody imagined that those dramatic final minutes would feature Barkley making an instant impact moments after replacing Ruben Loftus-Cheek or, even more improbably, Timo Werner finally getting the better of VAR by scoring the goal that lifted Chelsea into first place.”
“Back to winning ways after a barren week at home and in Europe, Chelsea’s players will wake up on Sunday knowing they were in a battle with Southampton,” writes Ian Hawkey.
“The margin looks more serene than it was, the last two goals, from Timo Werner and Ben Chilwell, scored late against opponents who by then had lost their captain James Ward-Prowse to a red card.
“Thomas Tuchel will draw satisfaction from Chelsea passing a test of resilience and from the depth of their resources. They are missing influential players. N’Golo Kanté is self-isolating, Reece James and Christian Pulisic still recovering from injury and Mason Mount was fit enough only for a place on the substitutes’ bench. Opportunity then for one or two members of that band of homegrown talents who have spent a large portion of their careers impatient for minutes on the pitch with the club that reared them.”
“There were moments in the pouring rain at Stamford Bridge when it felt as if Timo Werner, soaked and bedraggled but always willing, was never, ever going to catch a break,” wrote Oliver Holt.
“That has been his lot since he arrived at Chelsea – too often he has been the fall guy, the luckless one, the striker who just cannot seem to score goals.”
Holt continued: “But he did not give up. He persevered and he persevered. As Chelsea’s week, which had started with a comprehensive defeat here to Manchester City and had continued with a loss to Juventus in Turin, threatened to go from bad to worse with the scores level late in the game and Southampton down to ten men, the ball fell to Werner one last time with six minutes to go.
“Ross Barkley spread it wide, Cesar Azpilicueta drilled it into the box first time and there was Werner sprinting in to meet it with the kind of certainty and poise that belied all his struggles. He met it sweetly and gave McCarthy no chance. Chelsea were 2-1 up. They would add a third in the dying minutes but Werner was the match winner. Everyone knew that.
“‘Teeeeemo, Teeeeeemo,’ the Chelsea fans chanted in delight as he walked off the field proudly after the final whistle, the last of the Chelsea players to leave. No one could begrudge him soaking this up. His goal had taken Chelsea to the top of the table again. After all the love that has been lavished on Romelu Lukaku since his return, Werner deserved his moment of triumph.”