Wenger blames three Chelsea players in damning assessment of Southampton blow

Arsene Wenger dished out criticism on Chelsea's defensive trio Kurt Zouma, Cesar Azpilicueta and Reece James following their disappointing 1-1 draw with Southampton.

The Blues were held to a draw after the hosts' on-loan Liverpool star Takumi Minamino scored with their only attack of the first half and Mason Mount levelled with a penalty after the break.

Chelsea were dominant but for all of their possession, the visitors laboured to create chances, something manager Thomas Tuchel has previously highlighted as a problem for his side.

They were punished in the 33rd minute when Minamino ran on to a defence-splitting Nathan Redmond pass and coolly finished to become the first opposition player to score against Chelsea since Tuchel's arrival last month – the only goal the Blues had previously conceded in that time was an own goal.

And former Arsenal manager Wenger believes centre-backs Kurt Zouma and Cesar Azpilicueta, as well as wing-back Reece James, are to blame for the lapse in concentration.

"[Minamino's] composed despite the fact they're under huge pressure, Southampton," Wenger said on beIN SPORTS.

"This guy is an artist in his mind but I would say it was as well an art of bad defending from Chelsea.

"Zouma has turned completely, the space between him and Azpilicueta, look where Reece James is. He should be in there and Azpilicueta much more in.

"There's no communication but what the striker does is exceptional."

After going a goal down, Tuchel brought on Callum Hudson-Odoi for Tammy Abraham at the break and Chelsea then looked a bit sharper up front.

The equaliser came when Mount was felled in the box by Danny Ings and he got up to convert the spot kick in the 54th minute.

But following the game, Tuchel criticised Hudson-Odoi's "attitude" after hauling off the England forward.

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    Confirming Hudson-Odoi was not injured when withdrawn, Tuchel insisted he attaches no deep meaning to substituting a substitute and was adamant the issue would be "forgotten" by Sunday.

    Asked about Hudson-Odoi, Tuchel replied: "No, it was not injury-related; I was not happy with his attitude, energy and counter-pressing.

    "In a game where it's hard to create chances, you need to rely on counter-pressing to force maybe errors, to get a second ball and get an easy chance.

    "For that we have to be totally on and totally showing for counter-pressing. And I did not feel this from Callum today.

    "He missed some opportunities for counter-pressing, he missed some easy balls. I had the feeling he was never really into the game.

    "You know that I trust him a lot because he plays every game for us. But today I was close to him. I don't know, maybe it was even unfair but I did not get the feeling today that I normally get from him that he can be decisive.

    "It's a hard decision today but nothing that will stick between us or stick for long. Tomorrow it's forgotten and we prepare for Atletico."

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