Tag Archives: Mason Mount

An embarrassing showing by England against the Scots showers much disappointment

In my previous article I had emphasized on two words that England needs to bring to their brand of football, those being decisive and complete, despite prevailing over Croatia in their opening fixture. Albeit what we got last night was something polar opposite.

An English embarrassment at the hands of footballing minnows, Scotland in a rivalry as old as time with a tame 0-0 draw amid a sea of dejected fans at the Mecca of English football, Wembley.

The reason I use the word minnows is purely based on rankings as 4th placed England was up against 44th placed Scotland. A gap of momentous proportions akin to a mammoth elephant and a tiny ant pitted in a contest.

Well, as the saying goes ‘An elephant may be big, but it falls on its face more often than an ant’ and that’s precisely what happened with mighty England who would have considered this fixture as another walk in the park.

Walk they did albeit not in the park but in shame as an enviable record of winning 8, losing 1 and drawing 2 in the 11 matches contested against the neighboring Scots in the European Championship didn’t soar further but faded in a deplorable draw.

So as my heart fills with disappointment, lets dissect this rather subdued performance by The Three Lions last night:

England create chances amid no goals in the first 45

The Three Lions started the game with much flair as their first opportunity came in just the 11th minute when a John Stones’ header hit the post after he received a nice cross from Chelsea man, Mason Mount.

Minutes later Mount himself hit a shot inches wide of the post as he was fed with a brilliant pass by Sterling amid resulting in nothing.

Credit – Reuters

Young English sensation, Phil Foden continued from his brilliant showing against Croatia when in the 17th minute he created yet another opportunity for The Three Lions with a shot almost on target albeit the linesman adjudging him off-side.

England were surely looking up for this contest in the first 20 and little did I know then that this would eventually all but fizzle out in a goalless draw.

On the other end, Scotland almost took the lead in the 30th minute as O’Donnell fired a shot towards the bottom left corner of the English net which was saved rather brilliantly by the wall in the English goal, Jordan Pickford.

Credit – Reuters

With no further drama, the first half ended with both the teams yet to mount one on the score-board.

The hosts try, Scotland deny, as the full 90 is left goalless

Mason Mount, the Chelsea star began the second half rather brightly as he created England’s first opportunity on-target with a massive strike from just outside the Scottish D as keeper Marshall did well to tip it wide.

As the second half progressed, this would unfortunately be the only shot The Three Lions could muster on target amid creating nine opportunities in the entire contest.

Scotland managed yet another shot on target in the 62nd minute as Dykes fired a shot which was ably headed out by defender Reece James on the goal line.

Credit – Reuters

The Scots looked mightily impressive to create these two chances on target but what impressed me even more was how rock solid they were in defence to keep England at bay for the full 90.

In truth, the draw was a relief, as had the visitors converted either of their chances, The Tartan Army could well have reigned supreme over their more accomplished neighbours.

Well, had that happen, the word shocking would surely have a new meaning!

Do England really intend to finish first in their group?

Well, if I were a neutral and not a die-hard English fan, I would say NO!

Call it a conspiracy or some sort of a random theory, but this is worth a thought.

If England were to top their group, they would be pitted against either of France, Germany or Portugal in the Round of 16 as the winner of Group D (England’s group) locks horns with the runner up in Group F (France, Portugal and Germany group).

Having said this, if England finish second, they would come up against the runner up in Group E in the next round which in most likelihood would be Slovakia or Sweden.

So, who would you rather face if you were England, the might of Germany, France or Portugal or a more beatable team in Slovakia or Sweden in a knock-out game?

Whilst this is just a theory, it makes absolute sense to truly justify this disappointing outing against the Scots.

All that England needs to do in the next game is to scrape a draw against the Czech and they would finish second in the group behind the East European nation owing to an inferior goal difference.

Having said this, the fan in me who loves English football more than life itself surely hopes to see The Three Lions roar with much valour in their next fixture irrespective of who they are pitted against in the Round of 16.

Nothing less than a win will suffice. Common England, show ’em all your true metal!

England put up a Sterling show to sink Croatia at Wembley!

England much like the South African cricket teams of the past have been pre-tournament favourites for many albeit for reasons beyond my comprehension always manage to deceive at crucial moments.

Yes, with a momentous showing in the 2018 World Cup, The Three Lions at a time when they were soaring to the finals, somehow came second best to Croatia in the semi-finals.

A decisive moment left England struggling at Moscow as Mario Mandžukić sealed the deal for the East European nation in extra time. English hearts and hearts around the world were broken. Again!

Well, as they say life comes a full circle as a certain measure of revenge was extracted yesterday by The Three Lions as they sank Croatia by a margin of one goal in the opening fixture amid a 22,000 strong Wembley.

The only word missing from the English performance was complete albeit they managed to arrest their opening fixture winless streak in the Euros having drawn five and lost four in their nine previous attempts.

This without having a Manchester United or Liverpool player in the starting XI since almost the start of time! Am sure, you get the picture of the importance these two champion clubs command on English football.

Truth be told, a win is a win at the end of the day and being an English faithful, I was happy with this showing to start on a high as we dissect the English performance in the opening game of Group D:

The Three Lions start brightly only to fizzle out in the first 45

The hosts marched out on the pitch at the home of football with purpose led by their inspirational leader, Harry Kane amid cheers aplenty.

With iconic defender, Harry Maguire still injured and Liverpool’s stalwart midfielder Jordan Henderson on the bench, young Tyrone Mings and Kalvin Phillips started the game.

As the contest began, The Three Lions looked all but up for this as young English sensation, Phil Foden created England’s first opportunity on goal in only the 6th minute when his shot hit the post.

Credit – Reuters

This after the Manchester City midfielder sporting a new blonde hairdo received a majestic pass from club compatriot Raheem Sterling and did well to strike from his favoured left foot.

Croatia were lucky the ball didn’t go in and as they tried to resurrect their defence, three minutes later another English youngster, Kalvin Phillips’s attempt was tipped aside by the Croatian keeper, Livakovic.

Credit – Reuters

The Three Lions looked dominant, aggressive and very close to mounting a first on the score board.

As the game went on Croatia managed to find their feet and gained territory into the English half as the hosts attacking threats were nowhere as lethal as the first nine minutes. In truth, their offensive display looked all but fizzled out as the first 45 drew to a close.

A better showing in the second half was surely the need of the hour as England were desperate to right their opening game voodoo in the European Championship.

The Sterling and Phillips show lights up England in the second 45

As the second 45 began, the voodoo was finally righted courtesy Raheem Sterling and for me more importantly Kalvin Phillips. It’s funny how the builder of an opportunity or rather the contributor vis-à-vis the striker never gets the deserved credit.

Credit – Reuters

Well, the Leeds United man did when in the 56th minute, he made a majestic run to dodge two men and offered a fine pass to Raheem Sterling in the Croatian D who made no mistake in slotting the ball pass Livakovic in the back of the net.

A perfect build up from England’s holding midfielder who in this game played more like an attacking option, put the hosts in front as they exploited the perfect gap in the Croatian defence. The move was simply brilliant and deservedly, so Kalvin Phillips was awarded the player of the match.

This move was enough for an English onslaught resurrection as minutes later Harry Kane missed a chance to put England two to the good as his shot from a Mason Mount cross went high.

England would continue creating more goal scoring opportunities as Chelsea midfielder, Mason Mount hit the ball inches above the post from a free kick in the 66th minute followed by Sterling missing another good opportunity to score.

With no further twists, as the referee called time England came out as the rightful winners in a game where the hosts could have mounted more goals.

Going forward, England need to showcase a more decisive and complete brand of football

The Three Lions need to depict a better showing in the games to follow against Czech Republic and Scotland to anoint themselves as the rightful leaders in this group.

To accomplish this, surely a 1-0 score line is not going to suffice as a more decisive and complete brand of football is the need of the hour with goals aplenty. Creating opportunities is one thing but converting them is also of vital essence where the hosts in this game were found lacking.

When The Three Lions proceed to the next round to face the likes of Portugal, France, Belgium and others, they will need to convert every opportunity to beat these European powerhouses.

Having said this, it’s just the opening game and an improved showing from the hosts will surely follow.

Go on my Three Lions, Europe awaits the might of your roar!

Chelsea Column: Champions League final here we come!

April has been a great month for Chelsea. Not only did Chelsea progress into a FA Cup final, but after a brilliant 3-1 win over Real Madrid over two legs, Chelsea have made it through to their third Champions League final.

It’s not just been a good month in cup competitions, either. Since the humiliating defeat to West Brom, Chelsea have yet again gone unbeaten in the league and it looks like they have secured a place in the top four of the Premier League..

How on earth have Chelsea got to the Champions League final?

It’s a question that I have been asking myself since the final whistle blew at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday. It’s not like Chelsea have been terrible in the Champions League this season, we had a pretty easy time of it while Lampard was still in charge.

Credit: The Independent

The group consisted of Stade Rennes, Sevilla, and Krasnodar. A group that, unsurprisingly, Chelsea topped without losing a single game.

Even when Frank was sacked and Tuchel came in, it looked as though the Champions League would be a tough road with Atletico Madrid in the round of 16. However, it was a breeze, Atletico didn’t look up for the fight and were beaten 3-0 on aggregate.

READ MORE: ‘PEPPED UP’ MANCHESTER CITY STORM INTO THEIR MAIDEN EUROPEAN FINAL

In the quarterfinals, Porto put up more of a fight and luckily for Chelsea, the game was over after the first leg, so a 1-0 defeat in the second leg didn’t matter.

The semi-final against Real was always going to be tough. Regardless of Madrid’s form or team, this is a club managed by Zidane, a serial winner. However, Tuchel and Chelsea played them off the park. I never expected that we would’ve dominated over both legs.

The fluidity in Chelsea’s defence and attack was world class and it denied Real Madrid any real chances to take control. Every time Chelsea went forward it looked like it could be a goal. If only Werner, Havertz and Mount could finish more chances, it could have been 4 or 5-1.

READ MORE: MANCHESTER UNITED HIT ROMA FOR SIX

There is no doubt that Chelsea deserve to be in the Champions League final and Manchester City will be a fine opponent. While I don’t want to count my chickens too early, it’s a winnable game, but it’s going to be far from easy.

May 29th is going to be a rough day for me and I’m going to be a nervous wreck from the moment I wake up until the final whistle.

Even if Chelsea don’t win, I don’t think I can be disappointed. I never thought we would get this far in the Champions League for a few years at least, but here we are.

2012 repeat on the horizon?

It’s not just the Champions League final that Chelsea players and fans have to look forward to, but Chelsea will play Leicester City in the FA Cup final on the 15th May.

credit: The independent

Chelsea are continuing the relatively new tradition of getting through to a domestic final in the years they get to the Champions League final. In 2008 ,Chelsea got to the League Cup final but lost to Spurs, of all teams.

In 2012 though, Chelsea got to the FA Cup final against Liverpool. Despite controversy regarding a disallowed goal for Andy Carroll, Chelsea won the game 2-1.

READ MORE: CLINICAL MANCHESTER CITY BASK IN CARABAO CUP GLORY FOR THE FOURTH CONSECUTIVE OCCASION

Roberto di Matteo had been brought in mid-way through the 2011-12 season and won us the FA Cup. This was before marching Chelsea past a Spanish side in the Champions League semi-finals with help from a misfiring striker. Sound familiar?

Winning the FA Cup would be great momentum for Chelsea in their pursuit of the top four as well as for the Champions League final.

Chelsea’s victory against Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-finals has a lot more weight to it now than it did a few weeks ago. On the day Tuchel set up his Chelsea side very well and I think City fans will agree that Pep got it all wrong.

READ MORE: UNINSPIRING LIVERPOOL SQUANDER YET ANOTHER LEAD

City never looked to have much of a chance and Chelsea only needed a single goal, which sealed them their second consecutive FA Cup final.

While people may think that this final means more for Leicester, the FA Cup has always been a special competition for Chelsea.

Chelsea have won the FA Cup six times since 2000, plus a few more final appearances. The FA Cup is always a great trophy to win. For Tuchel, it will be his first shot at a trophy since becoming Chelsea manager, so he will be keen to win it.

Leicester are going to be no slouches and will try their very hardest to win it, and while I think it will be a close game, Chelsea’s ability to kill off games quickly will be tough for Leicester to get past.

What has Tuchel done right that Lampard got so wrong?

Firstly, Tuchel has gotten the players on his side. Lampard lost faith from players like Jorginho and Rudiger. He was playing stupid systems which made Werner obsolete and, let’s face it, Havertz is not a right winger.

Credit : Sports illustrated

Tuchel came in and got those players on his side and we have seen improvement from all of them. While Werner may still need to work on his finishing, he creates so many chances and goals that he is danger to opposition teams.

Havertz has come out of his shell in Tuchel’s false 9 system, and he has been bagging some great goals, especially against Fulham and Crystal Palace.

READ MORE: MANCHESTER CITY ENJOY THE PERFECT NIGHT IN PARIS

Tuchel has sealed up our defence, except for West Brom, of course. However, the three at the back system has been working a treat. It doesn’t matter which players are put in the three, because it’s such a fluid system.

Kante is now back at his best in the holding midfield role alongside Jorginho or Kovacic. Two players that are very much underrated in this Chelsea side.

The new energy in this team is the reason why Chelsea have a three-point buffer to West Ham in the league and why Chelsea are very much on the tail of Leicester, who sit in third.

READ MORE: STALEMATE AT ELLAND ROADS ENDS TUMULTUOUS WEEK FOR MANCHESTER UNITED

This is what you would expect when you bring in someone who is as tactically sound as Tuchel is. While I was wanting Frank to be given more time at Chelsea, Tuchel has shown just how bad of a job Lampard was doing.

This Chelsea side have so much potential. It’s a young team and are still at the beginning of a long journey, but the fact that Tuchel has been able to achieve so much in so little time goes to show how good this Chelsea side are.

Now I don’t expect Chelsea to go on and win the quadruple next year, I don’t even think Chelsea will win the Premier League in the next couple of years.

But what Tuchel has managed to do with this team just goes to show that the future looks bright at Chelsea.

Hopefully.