Chelsea forward Kai Havertz opened the scoring in the Carabao Cup round-of-16 tie before Che Adams punished a Kepa Arrizabalaga mistake to hit back for Southampton
Reece James scored the decisive penalty after Will Smallbone’s miss as Chelsea edged out Southampton in a shootout to reach the Carabao Cup quarter-finals.
Neither side was able to find a winner in regular time after Che Adams cancelled out Kai Havertz’s opener during an end-to-end fixture in west London.
Havertz popped up unmarked in the Saints box to nod the hosts ahead ahead before half-time, but the Blues’ lead lasted just seconds after the interval as Che Adams capitalised on a Kepa Arrizabalaga error to equalise in the 47th minute.
Thomas Tuchel’s decision to introduce heavy hitters Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell was unable to tip the balance in Chelsea’s favour as the game went to penalties.
Mount missed the chance to put the Blues ahead in the shootout after Theo Walcott’s miss, but Chilwell and Reece James made no mistake from the spot after Smallbone smashed over the bar.
Here are five things we noticed at Stamford Bridge.
1. Havertz steps up
Astonishingly, Kai Havertz was not among the goals or assists as Chelsea smashed seven past Norwich City on Saturday.
The German forward has a great weight of responsibility on his shoulders in the absence of injured duo Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner, with Thomas Tuchel demanding more from his compatriot.
Havertz delivered on his manager’s call against Southampton and was the Blues’ most-threatening player throughout the last-16 clash.
He went agonisingly close with a driven effort from outside the area in the 16th minute and eventually opened the scoring just before half-time with a header while unmarked during a corner.
2. Chalobah marshals inexperienced defence
Few would have expected Trevoh Chalobah would have such a prominent role this season having spent last campaign on loan at French club Lorient.
But the 22-year-old appears to have won Thomas Tuchel’s trust and kept his spot in the XI after three consecutive starts in the Premier League.
Against Southampton, Chalobah was handed the responsibility of being the lynchpin in a youthful three-man central defence alongside Reece James, 21, and Malang Sarr, 22.
The Saints had bright patches in the first half but Chalobah and his colleagues were likely pleased with their performances in the opening 45 minutes.
But their hard work was undone just seconds after the interval as Kepa Arrizabalaga allowed a shot through his legs for Che Adams to poke in from point-blank range.
3. Saul comes in from the cold
Saul Niguez was handed his third start for Chelsea against Southampton over one month on from his last, which came in the third-round victory over Aston Villa.
The on-loan Atletico Madrid midfielder has endured an underwhelming start at Stamford Bridge but showed signs of promise against the Saints.
Saul forced a great save from Fraser Forster with a sixth-minute header from a corner – the pick of his many threatening efforts – and his brilliant passing range was on display throughout the last-16 clash.
4. Hudson-Odoi shows versatility
Callum Hudson-Odoi helped himself to a goal against Norwich City at the weekend while playing in a three-man attack with Mason Mount and Kai Havertz.
The 20-year-old maintained a license to roam up the flank for the visit of Southampton, featuring in his conventional role as a winger when Chelsea had the ball. When the Blues lost possession, he slotted into a back five to aid right centre-back Reece James.
This fluent shape was perhaps the best Thomas Tuchel could muster with a much-rotated XI, but Chelsea undoubtedly lacked the defensive solidity or creativity provided by Cesar Azpilicueta and James respectively in the wing-back berth.
5. Kepa’s mixed evening between the sticks
While he made a number of impressive diving saves, especially in the second half, Kepa Arrizabalaga will be disappointed with the way he allowed Southampton back into the game shortly after half-time.
The Spaniard allowed Kyle Walker-Peters’ driven shot through his legs, presenting Che Adams with the simplest of finishes to score his first goal since the opening weekend of the season.
It was only Kepa’s third appearance of the season as deputy to the unflappable Edouard Mendy, and it was unlikely to convince Thomas Tuchel he deserves a second outing in the top flight soon.