RALPH HASSENHUTTL is the only Premier League manager to shake with fear at seeing Timo Werner’s name on the opposition team sheet.
Most others would pay extra to have the normally misfiring striker lining up against them because it means an easy day for the defence.
But there is something about Southampton that seems to appeal to the German who has failed to live up to his £45 million price tag for 18 unspectacular months.
We’re talking relatively here mind you. Werner’s only league goal this season prior to this game was against Saints way back on October 2.
Self-styled “Turbo Timo” has been pretty tortoise-like notching up the goals since his arrival in July 2020.
He added an easy second five minutes into the second half as pathetic Southampton picked up where they left off before the break – handing Chelsea the perfect pick-me-up from successive losses to Brentford and Real Madrid.
Werner also hit both posts, the crossbar and was involved in virtually every move forward from which rejuvenated Chelsea threatened to score.
The fact the rampant visitors didn’t was down to the woodwork, immense good fortune and keeper Fraser Forster standing firm while his team-mates crumbled.
Three times in the first half he managed to paw away the shots and headers that were coming at him from every angle.
It continued throughout a game in which Southampton were totally humiliated in every aspect.
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With the exception of Forster, Southampton were a disgrace to their shirts.
After a run of three successive home defeats the fans had every right to expect their team to bounce back the way Chelsea have.
Instead, it was surrender time straight from kick off.
Werner hit the post after just two and a half minutes. His strike partner Kai Havertz shot over the bar 20 seconds later.
On six minutes a diving header from Werner crashed back off the bar but it was still 0-0.
The opener came from the most unlikely source with Marcos Alonso allowed too much space to thread a shot through Forster’s legs on eight minutes.
Number two came from midfielder Mason Mount.
Again, Southampton’s shambolic defence gifting him time on the edge of the box for the lifelong Portsmouth fan to shoot low into the net with a goal sent with love from Fratton Park.
Werner was coached by Saints boss Hassenhuttl at RB Leipzig for two years from 2016.
He was in the technical area just yards away from his old player in the 21st minute when James Ward-Prowse woefully undercooked a header back to his defence.
Werner is fast is nothing else and there was only one winner in his race with Jan Bednarek.
The German striker spirinted clear and buried a left foot shot from inside the box for Chelsea’s third.
Ward-Prowse gets plenty of praise for his free kicks and England credentials but as the architect of the fatal goal against his team he deserves criticism too.
Chelsea players were queuing up to score like cars boarding the Isle of Wight ferry and Havertz – filling in up front for injured Romelu Lukaku – made it four by half time.
And the visiting fans wasted no time in recognising the rapidly emptying home section by adapting Southampton’s famous anthem to “When The Saints Go Marching Out”.
Werner got his second in the 59th minute after Forster’s heroic one-handed clearance from N’Golo Kante was not picked up and cleared by his defence which had gone missing in action.
Mount got the sixth in the 54th minute and from then on Chelsea strolled around in the Spring sunshine and boss Thomas Tuchel used the opportunity to substitute key players in preparation for next week’s Champions League trip to Madrid.
With Chelsea 3-1 down from their first leg, a result like this will be a huge boost to Tuchel. But it is unlikely to frighten Real Madrid.
After all, it says more about Southampton than anything else if Werner can score not once but twice against them.