Sunday, November 27

Mason Mount and Timo Werner double up as Chelsea put six past Southampton | premier league


Whether it was a Fortnum & Mason selection box or a stash of Freddos we may never know but after Thomas Tuchel said he munched his way through copious amounts of chocolate to ease the pain of reliving Chelsea’s defeat to Real Madrid in midweek, his team displayed a ravenous appetite to make amends by bludgeoning Southampton. Chelsea picked their opponents apart, Timo Werner and Mason Mount scoring twice and Marcos Alonso and Kai Havertz also striking inside 54 minutes. Werner celebrated his first league goals since October but when you consider he also struck the woodwork twice, as well as Fraser Forster’s inspired goalkeeping, it was a miracle Chelsea only finished with six goals. As reactions go, this was rather comprehensive.

It almost felt satirical when at half-time the stadium announcer, presumably reading off a script, offered a warm welcome to a family visiting St Mary’s. Chelsea would have had five goals at the break had Forster not clambered low to his right to somehow claw a Ruben Loftus-Cheek header, diverted by Mohammed Salisu’s outstretched leg, to safety. A minute earlier, a Mount shot deflected off Jan Bednarek and dropped nervously wide. By then a rocked Ralph Hasenhüttl, hands on hips on the edge of the technical area, had already taken unprecedented action, replacing the midfielder Oriol Romeu with Yan Valery and shifting to a three-man defense, presumably in the name of damage limitation. Those 9-0 shellackings, here to Leicester in 2019 and at Manchester United in 2021, must have been lingering in the back of his mind.

The midfielder Ibrahima Diallo replaced the striker Adam Armstrong for the second half but changes in shape and personnel made little difference. With 54 minutes gone Chelsea, all in yellow, had racked up six goals without reply and continued to slice through Southampton at will. For the fifth, Werner feasted on the rebound after Forster repelled N’Golo Kanté’s dinked shot and then five minutes later Mount poked in from close range. The sixth was particularly galling for Forster, who kept out the substitute Christian Pulisic’s initial shot and then raked the ball away from Werner with his feet only for Mount to notch his second.

Mason Mount celebrates Chelsea’s sixth goal against Southampton. Photograph: Kieran Cleeves/PA

Pulisic, one of four changes from defeat on Wednesday, arrived in place of Havertz at the interval and Tuchel had the luxury of being able to withdraw Thiago Silva with little more than an hour played with Tuesday’s trip to Madrid in mind. Alonso flashed wide as Chelsea went in pursuit of a seventh in the second half, during which Mount was withdrawn for Hakim Ziyech, who passed a fitness test on Friday.

Chelsea actually began erratically. Antonio Rüdiger lost his bearings on the touchline midway inside his own half and his back pass meant for Édouard Mendy went horribly awry and out for a Southampton corner with 90 seconds on the clock. But from there it was one-way traffic. Chelsea surged forward on a counterattack that culminated in Werner rattling a post after striking a goal from just inside the box. On six minutes Werner tested the woodwork once more, this time heading against the bar after stooping to meet Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s cross but two minutes later Chelsea eased into the lead when Alonso drilled in. Loftus-Cheek picked out Mount, who was allowed to control and hook the ball behind him for an unmarked Alonso to do the rest, the wing-back firing through the legs of Forster. Little did Forster know what was to come.

Mount’s first goal was a peach, the midfielder arrowing a right-foot shot into the bottom corner on 16 minutes as Chelsea took advantage of more statuesque Southampton defending. Salisu did not deal with Loftus-Cheek’s cross and Mount put his studs on the top of the ball to get it under his spell before dispatching a superb strike into a pocket of Forster’s net with his next touch. The Southampton goalkeeper denied Chelsea a third with less than 18 minutes played, pawing a lashed Werner shot clear, but four minutes later he was fishing the ball out of his net once more. It was comedic and clinical in equal measure, at least for the neutral. Werner again struck the frame of the goal, curling a shot against the inside of a post after gracefully moseying clear of Romeu, Bednarek and Kyle Walker-Peters but Havertz was on hand to tap in the leftovers. At that point, Valery was readied on the touchline and swathes of Southampton supporters headed for the exits. “Oh when the Saints go marching out,” Chelsea’s visiting supporters gleefully sang.


www.theguardian.com

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