Chelsea hit unprecedented low after being booed off following defeat to bottom of the table Southampton
Just when Chelsea thought they reached rock bottom, they fell to another new low.
Only three points would do against a managerless Southampton team rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table.
James Ward-Prowse’s stunning 46th-minute free kick was the only goal of the game at Stamford Bridge, leading to defeat in a must-win match.
With just one clean sheet in their last 28 matches and having lost nine of their last 10, Ruben Selles’s side won the match between two teams in crisis.
They found a way out of their problems against a side who are being ridiculed after failing to see a bounce after a record-breaking £300million January transfer window.
There are no excuses anymore for the Blues, who opted to rest Reece James, Thiago Silva and Hakim Ziyech after a midweek defeat to Dortmund in the Champions League but still had enough to beat a team fighting to escape the drop to the Championship.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was left out of the squad again despite his manager saying he had trained well with 20-year-old David Datro Fofana starting instead.
Fofana, Kalidou Koulibaly and Mason Mount came in and struggled. They were all then substituted between the 45th and 64th minute.
For Fofana, it felt too soon to be trusted with a no9 role in a team in crisis after arriving in January from Molde in Norway.
Meanwhile, Koulibaly was lucky not to be sent off after several fouls, leading to his withdrawal for Wesley Fofana.
Mount just can’t get going despite the backing of his fans who displayed a huge banner in support of him amid a contract stand-off with his club of 15 years.
Raheem Sterling and Kai Havertz lifted the team in the second half but, having already gone down and been booed off at half-time, the task was too big.
Alongside mistakes of the coaching staff and arguably the owners’ own making, the Blues suffered through no fault of their own.
Captain Cesar Azpilicueta stretchered off after suffering a painful kick to the chest by Sekou Mara.
“Talk to your players, screamed a fan,” at manager Potter during the nine-minute stoppage after seeing Selles regroup his team while their manager stood in disbelief.
The empathy and concerns Potter showed to his leader can’t be faulted but with the second-worst win percentage for Chelsea this century, you can’t discount the anger either.
Even after such a terrible injury, the result continued to matter for both teams.
Chelsea couldn’t find a way, shocked by the loss of their captain and any confidence.
They can forget about qualifying for the Champions League through a top-four finish and must simply focus on learning how to score and win again.
Booed off the pitch, with fans calling for Potter to be sacked, it feels like Chelsea’s project is in crisis already.