Southampton pulled further away from the relegation dogfight with a richly-deserved 2-1 win over a poor Chelsea side at St Mary's.
Playing like the favourites rather than the underdogs, Southampton took the lead through Jay Rodriguez before Rickie Lambert fired home an excellent free-kick winner moments after John Terry had headed in an equaliser.
Having notched up his third win as Saints boss, with the other two coming against Manchester City and Liverpool, Mauricio Pochettino has now taken his new side to the lofty heights of 13th in the Premier League table.
Chelsea, meanwhile, drop to fourth following Tottenham's victory at Swansea, with Arsenal only two points further back.
Watching a top four side dominate possession against a relegation-battling outfit happy to ride out the pressure and look for goals from corners is borderline cliché, but the roles were reversed at St Mary’s.
Southampton were a confident side on the ball even before the arrival of Pochettino, but their first-half performance against the European champions oozed class.
The Saints kept the ball well and placed Chelsea under immense pressure when looking to win it back – and in the 23rd minute, they walked the opening goal into the Blues’ net.
After yet another solid passage of short passes, they eventually steamed forward and culminated in a one-two between Steven Davis and Rodriguez, who slotted home across Petr Cech with aplomb.
With the likes of Marko Marin and Victor Moses failing to provide the creative spark of Eden Hazard or the support to the defence as the Belgian’s fellow replacement Ramires usually strives to, Rafael Benitez’s side seldom looked likely to find a way back.
But the second-choice duo combined to create an equaliser on 33 when Moses won a corner which Marin floated in to the head of the returning - and unmarked - John Terry, and the skipper’s powered finish into the ground found the near bottom corner.
Not that Southampton spent much time kicking themselves for defending a set piece so poorly; 80 seconds after the restart, Lambert curled a 30-yard free-kick out of Cech’s outstretched reach and put his side ahead once again.
The home side’s extended spells in possession towards the end of the first 45 drew ‘Ole!’ chants from the crowd, and they continued to please their supporters by keeping their style of play going into the second period.
They did so with a different keeper between the posts after an unspecified injury forced Artur Boruc to make way for Kelvin Davis.
The 36-year-old custodian rose to the occasion, however, keeping his side in front with great reflex saves from Frank Lampard – who remains two short of Bobby Tambling’s all-time Chelsea scoring record – and Moses.
The introduction of James Ward-Prowse just after the hour also helped the hosts deal with the Blues’ late search for a point as the teenager ran himself ragged in his cameo.
After Lampard fired a late free-kick over the bar, Southampton looked for a clinching goal on more than one occasion in stoppage time but will be happy with 2-1, another seminal result for the top flight new boys.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Nathaniel Clyne, Southampton - Fantastic all-round performance from the right-back which made it easy to see why the losing side are reportedly tracking the former Crystal Palace man.
SOUTHAMPTON: Boruc 7, Clyne 9, Yoshida 8, Hooiveld 7, Shaw 7, Schneiderlin 7, Cork 6, S. Davis 8, Puncheon 7, Lambert 8, Rodriguez 8. Subs: K. Davis 7, Fox n/a Ward-Prowse 7.
CHELSEA: Cech 6, Azpilicueta 6, Ivanovic 6, Terry 6, Bertrand 4, Mikel 5, Lampard 6 Moses 7, Oscar 4, Marin 6; Torres 4. Subs: Ramires 5, Hazard 6, Benayoun 5.