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Chelsea's recent momentum under Thomas Tuchel came crashing to a halt in a frustrating 1-1 draw away at Southampton on Saturday afternoon.
The two sides went into their clash at St Mary's in completely contrasting form; Tuchel had inspired the Blues to four straight wins after his opening 0-0 draw with Wolves, while Saints were looking to turn the tide amid an alarming run of six straight Premier League defeats.
It was the hosts who took the lead on the south coast, with Liverpool loanee Takumi Minamino converting to break the deadlock after 33 minutes, but Mason Mount salvaged a point for Chelsea by sweeping home from the penalty spot 10 minutes into the second half after Danny Ings brought him down inside the box.
For the first time since he replaced Frank Lampard as head coach Tuchel will be disappointed by what he saw from his Chelsea side, but there were also three things he got wrong himself at Southampton on Saturday.
Callum Hudson-Odoi has been one of Chelsea's brightest sparks so far in the Tuchel era, making it slightly puzzling that he was replaced in his usual right wing-back slot for a more defensive option in Reece James.
When the 20-year-old was brought on at half-time in place of Tammy Abraham the visitors enjoyed their most dangerous period of the game, before he was eventually forced off again with a suspected injury.
While it has undoubtedly shored up a previously leaky Blues backline in recent matches, Tuchel's decision to field three centre-backs in Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger and Kurt Zouma, two defensive wing-backs in James and a holding midfielder against a team in such dire straits almost paid Southampton too much respect from the off and stifled their attacking threat.
The first half in particular was quite a painful watch as they struggled to create any real openings – which is becoming a regular theme of the new manager's reign.
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Chopping and changing
Andreas Christensen has not exactly proved a reliable option for Chelsea over the years.
Nevertheless, it's hard to ignore the fact he has produced arguably the most solid performances of his Blues career under Tuchel of late.
Instead of keeping the Dane's momentum going, though, an unsharp Kurt Zouma came in at the back and was caught napping for Minamino's opener.
It was exactly the type of move from a manager who still doesn't know his best XI, and Tuchel finally paid the price for excessive chopping and changing at St Mary's on Saturday.
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- Chelsea FC
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