Graham Potter is under increased pressure after Chelsea’s close 1-0 loss to Southampton on Saturday in the Premier League.
James Ward-Prowse of Southampton netted a free kick shortly before halftime that was sufficient to give his relegation-threatened team victory at Chelsea Bridge.
After taking a kick to the head during a goalmouth brawl in the second half, Azpilicueta required close to 10 minutes of on-field medical attention. Both teams’ physiotherapists raced to help, and the Spaniard was finally taken away on a stretcher.
As Raheem Sterling and Kai Havertz were introduced in the second half, Chelsea were more energised and put pressure on the Southampton defence.
Goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu of Southampton was kept busy and made a fingertip save from replacement Conor Gallagher in the final seconds of extra time.
The outcome ends a bad week for the west London club, which also saw them lose late on the road to Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie, leaving them still with just a single win in 10 games this calendar year.
With 31 points from 23 games, Chelsea is mired in 10th place and 10 points below the top four.
Potter departed Brighton in September to take Thomas Tuchel’s place, but despite making significant transfers in the January transfer window, he has had trouble turning Chelsea’s fortunes around.
When Nathan Jones was fired a week ago, Southampton is now three points away from safety but still in last place. Ruben Selles is the team’s interim coach.
We’ve had a difficult season, Ward-Prowse told the BBC. “In all facets of our game, we have lacked some consistency. This week, Ruben arrived and has been outstanding. He has calmed everyone down and anchored the ship.”