Mount’s spot kick secures a point as poor Blues draw 1-1 against Southampton at St Mary’s Stadium
By Paul Lagan at St Mary’s Stadium
Southampton 1 v Chelsea 1
Mason Mount picked himself off the floor after Danny Ings had bundled him over in the Saints penalty area, and slotted home a fine spot kick to give the Blues a point against a poor Southampton side at St Marty’s.
Chelsea remain unbeaten under Thomas Tuchel’s tutelage, but will be disappointed not to have secured all three points.
The fact they did not deserve them will be scant consolation to the club and fans who are seeking a top four finish to ensure Champions League qualification next season.
The are in fourth, one point ahead of West Ham but have played a game more.
In truth, this was a bad away for the west Londoners.
Callum Hudson-Odoi won’t be pleased after. He was a second half sub, but then was substituted after 32 minutes.
He did not look to be injured.
Neither side started particularly well. There were a number of misplaced passes and interceptions.
But on a quick break, started by Timo Werner on six minutes, the ball was fed to wing-back Marcos Alonso, by Reece James, but his left-footed volley zipped wide of Alex McCarthy’s goal.
Chelsea are on a run of six wins in a row, while their South Cost hosts have lost their past six matches.
With neither side testing the goalkeeper’s, the match descended into midfield battle with the Saints four countering Chelsea’s wing-back system.
The west Londoners were getting a better output on the left with Alonso more assured in the facets of the game. James, on the right, less so.
Frustration eventually crept into the way side, with Toni Rudiger deciding to let fly with a 30-yarder. Needless to say, McCarthy was more than equal to the task.
But on 33 minutes the home side struck. A simple through ball bisected the Kurt Zouma, Rudiger axis and in-running Takumi Minamino had the easiest of chances to slot home past Edouard Mendy.
It helped that supposed cover Cesc Azpilicueta, slipped in front of his goalkeeper allowing the on-loan Liverpool man, a free avenue to goal.
The Blues he. Great chance to level six minutes from the break, when a terrific Alonso free-kick was met full on the head by Zouma. The ball seemed destined for the bottom of the net, but McCarthy produced a wonder save to tip the ball away for a corner.
Thomas Tuchel opted to keep Werner on the pitch and Tammy Abraham was sacrificed as Callum Hudson-Odoi was his only change at half-time.
Werner had a chance, five minutes after the restart, but he shot straight into the side-netting.
The Blues showed greater intent and passion and it was rewarded with a penalty when Danny Ings hauled over Mason Mount on 53 minutes. Up stepped Mount and he sent McCarthy the wrong way to level then score.
But from that point on, the Blues seemed to switch off, perhaps thinking, ‘job done’.
Tuchel cut an increasingly frustrated figure, which was exacerbated on 72 minutes when Jannik Vestergaard’s header pinged off Mendy’s crossbar as the Saints sensed they were still in the game.
To arrest the decline, on 77 minutes Tuchel brought on Hakim Ziyech and Jorginho - off came Mateo Kovacic and Hudson-Odoi.
Hudson-Odoi didn’t look injured and so having come on at half -time only lasted 32 minutes on the pitch.
A long-range effort by Mount with two minutes left sailed high and wide over McCarthy’s goal.
But that was as good as it got for the reminder of the half.
Teams: Chelsea, Mendy, Rudiger, Alonso, Kante, Abraham, Werner, Zouma, Kovacic, Mount, James, Azpilicueta.
subs, Kepa, Christensen, Jorginho, Giroud, Hudson-Odoi, Chilwell, Ziyech, Gilmour, Emerson
Southampton, McCarthy, Bertrand, Vestergaard, Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Ings, Redmond, Djenepo, Minamino, Salisu, Bednarek
Subs, Forster, Stephens, Adams, Tella, Ramsey, N’Lundulu, Ferry, Jankewitz, Chauke