Lamps Shines As Chelsea Stumble To A Point (Sky Sports)
Southampton 1 Chelsea 1
Frank Lampard came up trumps again for lack-lustre Chelsea, earning a point with an equaliser 10 minutes from time after Frenchman Fabrice Fernandes threatened Southampton's first win of the season - with their first goal of the campaign.
Lampard, the 11million former West Ham midfielder, completed a vibrant Chelsea comeback from two goals down with a late winner at Charlton on the opening day.
This time he spared their blushes in an even bigger way - especially those of second-half substitute Eidur Gudjohnsen who bungled two perfect opportunities to win the game after replacing Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.
There has been major speculation that Chelsea will sell both their hot-shot strikers before the transfer window closes on Saturday, but neither looked on form here although it was Gudjohnsen who carved out the opening for Lampard's rescue act.
And right at the death Chelsea were shouting long and loud for a penalty after Chris Marsden appeared to bundle the ball away with a hand but referee Chris Foy was unmoved.
To ironic cheers from the Saints fans, Blues boss Claudio Ranieri replaced the ineffective Hasselbaink with Gudjohnsen for the start of the second half.
And although Saints loyalists almost choked on those cheers when the Icelander should have scored with his first meaningful touch, they were still celebrating at the end after Gudjohnsen passed up an even better chance.
Hasselbaink had been Mr Anonymous for the entire first half apart from when he was jeered for a theatrical fall and then had a chance taken off his toe by Wayne Bridge's magnificent interception.
In a tepid opening 45 minutes, Chelsea, led by the inspiration of Gianfranco Zola and Boudewijn Zenden, lost their way after a bright start and keeper Carlo Cudicini needed to make fine reaction saves from James Beattie's sprawling header and Bridge's 25-yard blast.
But with Gudjohnsen on for Hasselbaink, Chelsea put together an overdue move of supreme class at the start of the second period.
Celestine Babayaro, Enrique de Lucas and Zola linked up to split the Saints defence, leaving Gudjohnsen to run clear onto Zola's final ball only to curl his shot just beyond the far post as Paul Jones raced out to cut down the angle.
In the 52nd minute, though, former Fulham teenager Fernandes broke the deadlock with Saints first goal of the season - a thumping drive as he ran onto Chris Marsden's cross from the left.
It seemed fair enough after James Beattie, with a sprawling header, and the excellent Wayne Bridge, with a long-range rocket, forced Carlo Cudicini into the only real saves up to then.
Fernandes' strike looked enough to win it even though he missed out on a second when steering Anders Svensson's pass straight into Cudicini's arms soon after Pahars blasted an instinctive volley over the bar from Beattie's flick on.
But Gudjohnsen's second miss was more memorable than both. Perfectly set up by Zola he smashed his drive casually wide with only Jones to beat.
Jones lapped up the escape - and flung himself around his goal area clawing at crosses and defying all comers with a bristling energy perhaps inspired by the 2million signing of Hearts' Antti Niemi who was on the bench.
But Wales star Jones was helpless to prevent the Lampard leveler and Saints almost threw the game away in the end.
MAN OF THE MATCH: FABRICE FERNANDES (SOUTHAMPTON)
Telfer, Michael Svensson, Williams, Bridge, Fernandes, Marsden, Anders
Svensson, Delap, Beattie,
Melchiot, Desailly, Gallas, Babayaro, De Lucas, Lampard, Gronkjaer,
Zenden (Stanic 85), Hasselbaink (Gudjohnsen 45), Zola.