Chelsea climbed to fourth in the Premier League on Sunday after securing a 2-0 win over Southampton at St. Mary's Stadium, where Eden Hazard and Diego Costa supplied the goals.
The Blues got their opener after just six minutes, but it wasn't until Costa scorched home a powerful second early in the second half that Chelsea were able to relax in their trip down south.
Sunday's victory was Chelsea's fourth in succession in the Premier League and provided the ideal bounce back to form following their 2-1 defeat at the hands of West Ham United in the EFL Cup last Wednesday.
The win says a lot about Chelsea's quality given Southampton boast one of the best defences in the Premier League, and Daniel Storey of Football 365 noted a recurring theme between these two sides this year:
Following a turgid campaign in 2015-16, Hazard has looked all the closer to his old self at Stamford Bridge this season, but it was down on the south coast that he thrived this time around.
Victor Moses helped feed the ball down the right flank before Hazard cut in from the byline and nutmegged Southampton goalkeeper Fraser Forster with a superbly driven shot to go 1-0 ahead. Sky Sports Statto illustrated the Belgian's fire back into good form this term:
The fixture took on a rather one-sided dynamic for the remainder of the opening period, with Southampton responsible for a wealth of possession on home turf, albeit lacking in clear-cut chances at goal.
BBC 5 live Sport provided evidence of Chelsea's retreat after notching the breakthrough goal, a risky tactic with just a one-goal cushion to their name
And yet a "park the bus" mentality saw the Blues through to half-time with their lead intact, and Costa even came close to extending their lead from a one-on-one attempt with Forster late in the half.
The Spain international had just the Saints stopper to beat, and Off The Ball remarked just how repentant the Chelsea forward should have been following his opportunity
At just one goal down, Southampton manager Claude Puel had every reason to be upbeat entering the second half, but it wasn't long before Costa helped extinguish any fire of belief still burning for the Saints.
He and Hazard linked up on the left side of the hosts' box from a free-kick, and Costa needed just a metre of space to whip his shot high into Forster's top-right corner, via Sky Football
What followed was an even greater example of Chelsea's ability to put a stranglehold on matters when they have a lead to defend, with N'Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic aiding to secure the result from their core.
Southampton were frustrated at every corner, and Steven Davis came the closest to getting his name on the scoresheet after a headed deflection nicked off David Luiz and looped over to hit the Blues' crossbar.
The new-look Chelsea defence always remained in control, however, and Conte shored up the result even further by bringing Branislav Ivanovic on for Victor Moses late on, while Willian replaced Pedro earlier on.
Costa was greeted by a warm reception from the away fans when he came off in place of Michy Batshuayi with minutes remaining, and ESPN FC's Jake Cohen highlighted just how prolific the forward has been for the west London outfit
Chelsea now have less than a week to prepare for their next Premier League outing against Everton next Saturday, and the Toffees look to be in fierce form after they defeated West Ham 2-0 on Sunday.
Southampton have a more packed schedule on their hands and play host to Inter Milan this Thursday before travelling to face Hull City in their return to the domestic stage next Sunday.