Chelsea racked up another three points with a hard-earned victory over Southampton on Saturday, thanks to a genius strike from Marcos Alonso before the break.
Surprisingly, Antonio Conte continued with the same front free that dismantled Huddersfield in midweek, despite Alvaro Morata returning to the matchday squad.
Both teams looked pretty sluggish in the opening 15 minutes minutes, with a lot of the action taking place in the middle of the park, causing a real lack of chances.
The first notable strike of the game came through Tiemoue Bakayoko in the 18 minute, but his shot from the edge of the box went well wide.
Chelsea did up the pressure now and had two shots by Alonso and Gary Cahill saved in quick succession, before Kante was also denied three minutes later.
It looked like Fraser Forser in the Southampton goal was having one of those days, where he would deal with everything thrown at him, and he made another great save on the half-hour mark to keep out a strike from Alonso once more.
His resistance was finally broken with seconds to go in the first half, when Alonso found the bottom corner from thee free-kick to make it 1-0.
Charlie Austin’s early introduction in the second half sparked a rare moment of uncertainty in the Chelsea defence, when the former QPR striker managed to peel away from his markers and could only be stopped by a great safe from Thibaut Courtois.
Chelsea’s first substitution saw Pedro replaced by compatriot Cesc Fabregas in the 68th minute, and the midfielder made an instant impact.
Eden Hazard played a lovely one-two with the Spaniard around the box before slamming the ball into the back of the net, but Fabregas had been caught in an offside position in the midst of the move, and the goal was rightfully ruled out.
Forster, who didn’t have as many saves to make as he did in the first half, was the called into action when he stopped yet another Alonso strike from finding the top corner, with 20 minutes left to play.
Southampton came agonisingly close to an equaliser five minutes before the end, when Austin snuck in at the near post and almost managed to turn in the cross.
Chelsea held on in the end and added another crucial three points to their tally.
Chelsea (3-4-3): Courtois; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Cahill (c); Moses (Zappacosta 82′), Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Willian, Hazard (Morata 73′), Pedro ( Fabregas 68′)
Unused subs: Caballero, Rudiger, Drinkwater, Batshuayi
Scorer: Alonso 45′
Booked: Alonso 90′