Chelsea squanders lead, loses 2-1 at Southampton in EPL

Chelsea's Raheem Sterling, centre, celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Southampton and Chelsea at St Mary's Stadium, Southampton, England, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Ian Walton)

SOUTHAMPTON, England (AP) — Chelsea squandered a lead to lose 2-1 at Southampton and continue its inconsistent start to the Premier League season on Tuesday.

Goals by Romeo Lavia and Adam Armstrong saw Southampton recover from going behind to a 23rd-minute strike from Raheem Sterling, who now has three goals since his move from Manchester City and has been one of Chelsea’s few successes this season.

That’s already two losses in five games for Chelsea, which is missing the injured N’Golo Kante in midfield and has a rebuilt defense that is leaking goals.

The impending arrival of French center back Wesley Fofana from Leicester might improve things in defense while Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel will hope attacking right back Reece James returns soon after missing the trip to St. Mary’s stadium because of illness.

It could have been worse for Chelsea, with Marc Cucurella and Thiago Silva clearing shots off the line in the second half.

Southampton rebounded from a 1-0 home loss to Manchester United on Saturday and joined Chelsea on seven points with a first win at St. Mary’s since April.

Crystal Palace vs Brentford

Meanwhile elsewhere, Wilfried Zaha emphasized his importance to Crystal Palace ahead of deadline day in the transfer market but his team had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Brentford following Yoane Wissa’s late equalizer on Tuesday.

Zaha, who is reportedly a target for Chelsea and Arsenal before the transfer window closes on Thursday, looked to have earned Palace the win with a stunning 59th-minute opener when he cut inside from the left and found the far corner from just outside the penalty area.

Brentford snatched a draw against its London rival thanks to unmarked substitute Wissa heading home in the 88th.

The visitors nearly left Selhurst Park with all three points as Rico Henry squandered a golden opportunity in stoppage time before Ben Mee headed against the crossbar.

Michael Olise hit a post for Palace prior to Zaha’s goal, while many of Brentford’s earlier forays forward were undermined by a lack of cutting edge.

Zaha was back in the spotlight after missing the 4-2 loss at Manchester City on Saturday because of a leg issue. Before kickoff, Palace manager Patrick Vieira was tight-lipped on the future of his star player, saying the Ivory Coast international — whose contract expires next summer — “didn’t mention anything about leaving.”

Home fans sang Zaha’s name throughout the match.

Brentford moved onto six points, one more than Palace.

Fulham vs Brighton 

Aleksandar Mitrovic is enjoying his season in the Premier League this time.

The World Cup-bound Serbia striker scored his fifth goal of the campaign to set Fulham on its way to a 2-1 win over Brighton, whose unbeaten start came to end on Tuesday.

Mitrovic is proving to be a real menace to defenses with his power and finishing ability — a far cry from his time in the Premier League two seasons ago with Fulham when he only started a third of the games as the London club got relegated.

Now Mitrovic is Fulham’s focal point, the player the team is built to supply, and he was on the end of a driven cross from winger Neeskens Kebano from the left that the striker bundled into the net at the far post in the 48th minute.

An unfortunate own-goal by Lewis Dunk, who stuck out his leg to block a cross from Andreas Pereira and diverted the ball past goalkeeper Robert Sanchez, put Fulham 2-0 ahead in the 55th.

Brighton reduced the deficit in the 60th through Argentina midfielder Alexis Mac Allister’s 60th-minute penalty, awarded following a video review after a foul on Pervis Estupinan by Bobby De Cordova-Reid.

Fulham held on, though, for a second win of the season to move onto eight points from five games. That’s two points fewer than Brighton, which would have gone into first place — for 24 hours at least — with a win.

Mitrovic is one goal behind the top scorer in the league, Manchester City striker Erling Haaland.