Soccer

Wenger slams Chelsea trio and rates top-four chances after Southampton draw

Arsene Wenger criticised Kurt Zouma, Cesar Azpilicueta and Reece James after Takumi Minamino’s goal in Chelsea’s 1-1 draw away to Southampton and said the trio gave a lesson in ‘bad defending’.

Nathan Redmond split the Blues’ defence in two with an incisive ball through to Minamino and the Liverpool loanee put Azpilicueta on his backside before firing past Eduoard Mendy to break the deadlock.

Mason Mount dragged Chelsea back into the game with a penalty in the 54th minute but Thomas Tuchel cut a frustrated figure on the touchline as Southampton held on to bring the visitors’ four-match winning streak in the Premier League to an end.

On Minamino’s 33rd-minute opener, former Arsenal boss Wenger told beIN SPORTS: ‘I liked it very much because Redmond gave a great ball for Minamino but what is very interesting for the strikers to watch is the number of times Minamino lifts his head to see where the ‘keeper is.

‘And I think you see twice clearly that lifts his head and in a composure situation he is composed, despite the fact Southampton are under huge pressure.

‘This guy is an artist in his mind but I would say it’s as well an art of bad defending from Chelsea.

‘Zouma has turned completely, the space between him and Azpilicueta. Look where Reece James is… he should be in there and Azpilicueta much more in.

‘There is no communication and no taking information but what the striker does is exceptional.’

Wenger said there were several ‘worrying’ signs in Chelsea’s performance and suggested they may struggle to secure place in the top four this season.

‘I would say it’s a fair result with one team happier than the other one, Southampton certainly the happier after stopping their losing slump,’ the Frenchman added.

‘What’s a bit worrying for Chelsea is they were not at their best, which happens in this league, but you don’t feel a huge potential in there, not on the tactical side nor on the physical side nor on the aggressive side nor on the organisational side.

‘So I looked just at their number of points, on that run they will make 63 points. That could be a fraction short of top four.

‘I just think they made 43 points out of 25 games and on that average it gets you to 63 and 63 usually you’re out.

‘They can of course have a great run but today their game was a bit frustrating for them. They didn’t find the fluency to put Southampton under pressure.’

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