Blues' Eden Hazard revelling in best form

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But having shown promising signs earlier in the season, the midfielder, who was recalled to the England squad last week, offered compelling evidence at Southampton he is nearing a return to his best.

MF Mateo Kovacic, NR - Replaced Barkley for the final 10 minutes of the game and continued where his teammate had left off with a decent cameo of tackling and passing.

MF Ross Barkley, 9 - Trusted with a start by Sarri, the ever-improving Barkley gave Chelsea added goal-threat from midfield.

Although Southampton should have taken a first-half lead through Ings, who blasted over from just a few yards out, they struggled to match Chelsea's pace and precision.

Barkley scored one and made one for Chelsea.

"I don't think want to end my career here but for now I still feel really good". He had a serious injury in the previous season but he is improving.

'Potentially, he is a great player. "But you have to improve from the tactical point of view, but now he has improved [tactically]". "He will become a very important player, and for the England national team".

He scored the game's opener and assisted a late scoreline sweetener for Alvaro Morata, with the Italian following up on his goal on Thursday night as he slowly works his way into life at the club after an inauspicious beginning.

Saints winger Redmond threatened to set up a nervy finish when he rattled the woodwork, while Blues striker Morata would have added a third but for a smart stop from McCarthy.

That proved to be Giroud's last major impact on the clash, as he was hauled off for Alvaro Morata on the 68th minute, with the Spaniard look to build on his midweek goal.

Eden Hazard has so far made nine appearances for Chelsea this season and he has already clocked up seven goals. "I am really happy with him", Sarri said. At the moment for him it's very important to have a lot of training.

Barkley was on the very fringes of Antonio Conte's Chelsea team, in which the system shackled star performer Hazard, but the pair are thriving now and combined to devastating effect at St Mary's.