Chelsea head to Madrid on a high after Saints collapse at home

Neil Johnston, BBC Sport

It will take a monumental effort from Chelsea to overturn a 3-1 Champions League deficit against Real Madrid on Tuesday, but at least they will head to the Spanish capital for the second leg of their quarter-final in high spirits. after the demolition of six goals. of Southampton.

The Blues’ season seemed to be falling apart after back-to-back defeats to Brentford and Real.

Instead, it was Southampton who collapsed at St Mary’s on Saturday.

Chelsea’s elegant victory was achieved without Romelu Lukaku, who was injured, and Cesar Azpilicueta, who tested positive for coronavirus.

Will they be available to face Crystal Palace at Wembley next Sunday in the FA Cup – a competition which represents Chelsea’s most realistic chance of lifting a major domestic trophy this season?

For Saints fans, the heavy defeat brought back painful memories of embarrassing 9-0 defeats at the hands of Manchester United and Leicester City under Ralph Hasenhuttl.

Chelsea were leading 6-0 with 36 minutes remaining. Southampton can consider themselves lucky that their opponents did not score more.

The visitors hit the woodwork three times, while Fraser Forster made fine saves as the Blues earned 24 chances – 14 on target.

Despite this humiliation, Southampton could still finish the season in the top half of the table. But they must quickly knock that result out of their system if they are to seal a top 10 finish for the first time since 2016-17.

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