Chelsea put their disappointing loss to Real Madrid in the Champions League behind them on Saturday afternoon when they ran out 0-6 winners against Southampton.
Thomas Tuchel’s defending European champions have it all to do, following a 1-3 home setback, and subsequently took out their frustrations on a hapless Saints side who had come into this Premier League fixture on a four-game winless run.
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This result also came on the heels of a humbling Blues loss to Brentford, meaning Chelsea were potentially staring at back-to-back league defeats, something they’ve never experienced under Tuchel’s leadership. Instead the German tactician extended his personal record of managing the most Premier League matches without losing consecutive games to 49.
Everything seemingly clicked on the south coast. The much-maligned Timo Werner ended a nine-game scoring drought, netting twice in a single English top-flight game for only the second time; the first such occasion incidentally came against this same opposition at home in October 2020.
Given the trajectory Werner was enjoying on in his final months at RB Leipzig, he should be Chelsea’s lynchpin and the same could be said for equally expensive summer repurchase Romelu Lukaku. But although Kai Havertz is playing at an extremely high level, it’s fair to say their ‘most valuable player’ is Mason Mount.
Mount showed out once again, and with a fresh trim on this occasion, funnily enough, after recent criticism for “fixing his hair” during matches.
Mason Mount vs Real Madrid – Run it back? pic.twitter.com/fVcpBaV8qb
— Mount Out (@MountOut10) April 7, 2022
Mount had become a target of jokes and ire on social media, with clips posted of him sorting his hair out as unsuccessful attacks progress around him. It might seem trivial but it reflects just how much scrutiny players fall under after bad results (especially those who are lauded by their fans during the good times).
At least for now, though, the conversation is rightfully on the work he’s done on the pitch.
Seeing a player like Mount succeed is a long time coming for Chelsea supporters. There was a time many doubted whether an academy graduate could break into their first team and hold down a regular starting berth. Those days are certainly over, with Mount firmly establishing himself as Frank Lampard’s heir. Despite their riches in attack. the 23-year-old is the Blues’ leading marksman in the league — he scored his ninth and tenth goals today — and has created a further eight now, which is more than any other English player in the Premier League this season.
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In fact, today marked the fifth league match in 2021/22 that saw him score and assist. Consequently, he is level with Liverpool’s talisman Mohamed Salah as the only players to reach this figure. Mount would be denied a hat-trick, a second of the campaign, when Tuchel hauled him off in the 69th minute.
Marcos Alonso, another who has often come under fire, opened the scoring in the eighth minute. Mount, Werner and Havertz gave the visitors an unassailable lead with 31 minutes on the clock played, which as it turned out was the earliest any side had scored four away from home in the Premier League since Chelsea themselves in October 2011 at Bolton (27th minute). Following the break, Werner and Mount completed their respective braces pouring more misery on Ralph Hasenhüttl, who is no stranger to suffering maulings in this competition.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 9, 2022
Southampton have now conceded four or more goals in a single half for the 21st time in the Premier League, with seven of those instances coming under Hasenhüttl’s leadership.
Getting back in the winners’ circle — as well as recording their seventh successive away win in all competitions, their joint-longest winning run on the road, alongside seven-match streaks in April 1989 and November 2019 — will certainly increase morale at Stamford Bridge as Tuchel and company now shift attention to turning around their Champions League deficit, with Mount stating afterwards what a “frustrated” Chelsea is capable of doing.
“It gives us confidence to get back winning and have that feeling. I said before that every game is a final and that started today. We need to carry this on,” he told reporters.
“I think you saw a frustrated performance. One that had a lot of fire in and we knew it we kept going and got a few more the game would be dead. You saw in the first half how much that meant to us.
“Some performances are not as good as others. We had a little dip after the international break. We have to keep going in every game now. We won’t settle for this.”