Chelsea bulldozed their way past Southampton on Sunday afternoon, as Maurizio Sarri’s side continued their impressive Premier League unbeaten run with a 3-0 win over the Saints. 

The Blues took the lead midway through the first half, as Eden Hazard – Chelsea’s danger man – bent home a trademark finish following a defensive mixup from the hosts. Ross Barkley doubled his side’s lead in the second half, before a late finish from substitute Álvaro Morata put the icing on the cake for Sarri’s side.

The Saints offered little in the way of attacking threat, but their few chances were ineffectual due to some shoddy finishing from their front line.

Chelsea leapt to the top of the table with their win, while Southampton are now languishing in 16th 

As always, the game provided a number of key talking points, so here’s five things we learned from Sunday’s match:

5. Ross Barkley Has Come on Leaps and Bounds Under Sarri

While many Chelsea fans are desperate to see Ruben Loftus-Cheek get some first team football for the club, his fellow countryman Ross Barkley has been the English midfielder to thrive at under Sarri so far this season.

Despite concerns over his ability to adapt to the former Napoli manager’s style of play, Barkley has improved both his physical and technical attributes, and now looks ready to play a leading role in Chelsea’s title challenge this season.

With an England call-up followed by a goal and an assist for the Blues all in one week, Barkley’s rise back to the top looks to be making fine progress.

4. Southampton Need to Show More Attacking Endeavour

Southampton showed Chelsea far too much respect in the opening stages of the game, which ended up costing them dearly.

The Blues’ key weakness is their defence, with Luiz and Rüdiger both more than capable of making a howler. The Saints – much like Newcastle United – failed to take the game to their opposition, and squandered the opportunity to put the visitors under pressure and grab an early goal.

The St. Mary’s faithful responded with vigour when their side pressed forward, and Mark Hughes’ team will need to start taking some risks if they are to avoid relegation this season.

3. Eden Hazard Could be a Golden Boot Contender

Chelsea fans were surprised – and delighted – to see Hazard decide to stay with the Blues for another season, after a summer of intense transfer speculation linking him with a move to Real Madrid.

While he will most likely move to the Bernabéu next season, the Belgian ace appears to be fully focused on the current campaign with his side, and has been on fire in the goal scoring department so far this season.

With seven goals in six starts, Hazard is looking formidable in front of goal, and he’s more than capable of being in with a shot at scooping the Golden Boot award at the end of the season.

2. Ryan Bertrand Needs to Leave Southampton to Further His Career

Even the most die hard Southampton fan will have to concede that England international Ryan Bertrand is a class above his teammates at St. Mary’s.

The former Chelsea was let down by the ineptitude of his teammates on a number of occasions on Sunday – particularly when his pinpoint cross was ballooned over the bar by Danny Ings.

At the age of 29, Bertrand still has a few seasons left in him, and he should be looking to secure a move to a better quality side to further his career.

1. Chelsea Are Premier League Title Challengers

While conceding late on to Liverpool will have hurt Chelsea deeply, they bounced back from the 1-1 draw in emphatic style against the Saints on Sunday.

Last year, the Blues unravelled as backroom tensions saw the team become a shadow of their former selves. But under Sarri, new life has been breathed into the side, with midfield general Jorginho and the reinvigorated Hazard running riot under their new boss.

Liverpool and Manchester City are still the boys to beat, but with some strengthening in January Chelsea could well be in the title race come the business end of the campaign.