Chelsea's second-half show eased Jose Mourinho's men to a 3-0 victory at Southampton in the Premier League.
The Blues were patchy, but the decision to make a double substitution, replacing Juan Mata and Andre Schurrle with Oscar and Willian, proved decisive.
Mata's unhappy reaction to the change will be a talking point after the match, as will Oscar's dive soon after—breaking through only to fall theatrically to the ground with only the goalkeeper to beat.
But Oscar's cross set up Fernando Torres to nod in the opener, Willian and his Brazilian teammate combined the former to score the second and Oscar settled the contest with a goal of his own late on.
Southampton had their chances—a Ricky Lambert header when John Terry let him escape perhaps the best of them, and one which would have levelled it at 1-1.
Fernando Torres was full of energy in the opening stages but missed a couple of opportunities, slotting wide when hitting the target looked more manageable.
There was also a lengthy holdup for a Dejan Lovren injury—physios spent some time with him before he got up and continued.
Southampton's first chances came through Adam Lallana and Jay Rodriguez, and on both occasions Ashley Cole put in impressive lunging blocks to deny scoring opportunities.
It was about right that the scores were level at the break, and Mourinho's frustration in the south coast rain was evident.
His double substitution was bold, and despite Mata being unhappy about it, it paid off.
Oscar was booked for falling over at Kelvin Davis' feet, but thereafter his performance was superb.
His cross from the left on the hour took a deflection and hit the post; Torres was on hand to tuck in the rebound.
Eleven minutes later, Willian and Oscar combined, with the former crunching a shot low past Davies from outside the area.
Southampton were finished—and it was left to Oscar to put the gloss on the result by finishing off a counter-attacking move.
|Southampton Player Ratings vs. Chelsea|
|Chelsea Player Ratings vs. Southampton|
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Chelsea travel to Derby in the FA Cup before they face Hull in the league. Their home match against Manchester United on January 19 looms ever larger.
Southampton's schedule looks like it will get a little easier in coming matches—Burnley at home in the cup before hosting West Brom and travelling to Sunderland in the league.
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