Olivier Giroud kickstarts Chelsea career with Southampton fightback

Chelsea scored three times in nine frenetic second-half minutes to win 3-2 at Southampton which is now five points from Premier League safety after relegation rivals Crystal Palace beat Brighton & Hove Albion by the same score at Selhurst Park Saturday.

With pressure building on coach Antonio Conte, the Blues looked set to see their hopes of a top-four finish in the Premier League disappear, but substitute Giroud emerged to pull one back in the 70th minute and keep them in the game.

Oliver Giroud came off the bench to steer his Chelsea side to a fantastic comeback against a crestfallen Southampton.

But Chelsea fought back to win 3-2 through goals from Olivier Giroud, who scored twice, and Eden Hazard.

Gary Cahill and Andreas Christensen were picked at the heart of Conte's defence and there was no room for former Roma player Antonio Rudiger due to comments that he made in the media.

But Saints have struggled to hold on to leads this season and collapsed halfway through the second period, conceding three goals for the fourth successive league game.

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"The most important thing is to never give up, believe in our quality, play our game and I am proud of what we have done today". In the second half we showed great character and a great reaction. "We didn't show great spirit, desire, will to fight to win this game".

The two sides will meet again in the FA Cup semi-finals next weekend, and Southampton will do well to raise themselves for Cup glory, with their place in the league next season looking ever more shaky.

Visiting inroads were few and far between beyond that in the first half, however, with Marcos Alonso lucky to avoid a yellow card for a clumsy challenge when seemingly standing on Shane Long's calf. Alvaro Morata started pushing and shoving, then Pierre-Emile Højbjerg began to dish out some heavy tackles.

Speaking at his post-match news conference at St Mary's, Conte said: "I am very happy for Olivier".

"We are having a hard season and we know this, but especially in this situation I think you can see the men before the players". James Ward-Prowse's free kick found Bednarek, who lost his marker and finished well from close range to mark his Premier League debut with a goal.

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