Chelsea home woes continue as Saints hand Benitez timely blow

CHELSEA 2
SOUTHAMPTON 2

CHELSEA boss Rafael Benitez demanded a transformation in his team’s faltering home form after squandering a two-goal lead and wasting the chance to close on the Premier League’s top two.

First-half goals from Demba Ba and Eden Hazard seemed to put the Blues on course for a first win at Stamford Bridge in three attempts, but Southampton hit back through Rickie Lambert and Jason Puncheon.

It was an inopportune collapse for Benitez, whose chances of extending his short-term deal at the club had earlier been lifted by long-time Chelsea target Pep Guardiola’s decision to join Bayern Munich.

But the Spaniard was more concerned with a worrying inability to win at home, with London rivals Arsenal next to visit on Sunday.

“We can’t be happy drawing at home, the next game has to be totally different,” he said. “We didn’t take our chances when we had them, which gave them hope they could score, and they did.”

Ba acrobatically swept Chelsea ahead in the 25th minute and Hazard half-volleyed the second after Ramires hit the bar on half-time.

Substitute Lambert headed his 10th of the season on 57 minutes before Puncheon’s rasping equaliser.