LONDON — John Terry marked his 400th Premier League appearance with a goal as Chelsea fought back from an early deficit to beat Southampton 3-1 Sunday and move to second in the standings.
After a sloppy start that saw Jose Mourinho's team concede a goal just after kickoff, Chelsea recovered in the second half to close the gap to league leader Arsenal to four points.
Michael Essien's poor back pass allowed Jay Rodriguez to open the scoring at Stamford Bridge after 13 seconds. Southampton held on until Garry Cahill leveled with a header from close range in the 56th. Terry then put Chelsea in front with a glancing header in the 62nd minute for his 34th Premier League goal before substitute Demba Ba put the game beyond reach.
"It was important not to panic and keep the emotional balance," Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said. "We waited for halftime to change the game. The players were fantastic and it was difficult for Southampton. We spoke before the game that with others losing points this was a must-win game."
Chelsea built its sixth home win from seven games on an an excellent second-half performance capped with goals from its center-backs Cahill and Terry, and Ba's first Premier League goal of the season. Ba, who hit the post from the corner which led to Cahill's equalizer, had replaced Essien at halftime.
Chelsea found themselves behind almost immediately after Essien sent the ball over Cahill for Rodriguez to calmly slot home.
Things changed after halftime as Chelsea gradually took the upper hand and was rewarded when Juan Mata's set-piece found Branislav Ivanovic, whose header was redirected by Ba onto the post before Cahill headed the ball in from the rebound.
Terry then rose above defenders following a half-cleared corner to send Stamford Bridge into rapture and Ba finally added the third after converting a Ramires cross.
"After we got the first goal it was fairly even sided," said Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino. "We are unhappy but there were a number of decisions that did not go our way. The ones you don't see are perhaps more important. There was no doubt that the players will react positively. But lest we forget we were playing Chelsea."