EPL

Chelsea 2-0 Bournemouth: Blues break winless run as Mount strike finishes off Cherries

By Sports Desk December 27, 2022

Mason Mount and Kai Havertz struck as Chelsea relaunched their Premier League season with a much-needed 2-0 victory against Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge.

Graham Potter's side headed into the mid-season World Cup break last month having failed to notch a win in their previous five top-flight games, with three losses on the bounce to boot.

An impressive performance from the hosts saw them break their barren run, though it came at a cost with Reece James forced off injured in his first match since October.

The outcome means Bournemouth have had two losses in two competitive games under head coach Gary O'Neil since he took charge of the Cherries on a permanent basis, having been Scott Parker's interim successor for the majority of the season.

Chelsea's early dominance brought a swift breakthrough, with Havertz prodding home Raheem Sterling's low delivery at full stretch just 16 minutes in.

Eight minutes later, Germany international Havertz turned provider for England midfielder Mount, who curled a first-time shot through the scrambled Bournemouth defence to double the lead.

The Blues went close to making it 3-0 just before the interval, with goalkeeper Mark Travers parrying a close-range Sterling strike at his top corner.

A third goal proved elusive following the break for Chelsea, and they were dealt a blow when James was forced down the tunnel after lengthy treatment for an apparent leg problem.

His absence threw their rhythm off to a point, with Bournemouth gaining confidence in pursuit of a response, albeit without showing a great cutting edge.

Former Chelsea youth-team graduate Dominic Solanke headed just wide in stoppage time from Bournemouth's best chance as the visitors could not find a way back into the contest.

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  • Scotland 'didn't turn up' in nightmare Euro 2024 opener, admits Robertson Scotland 'didn't turn up' in nightmare Euro 2024 opener, admits Robertson

    Andy Robertson admitted Scotland "didn't turn up" in the first half of their chastening 5-1 defeat to Euro 2024 hosts Germany on Friday.

    Backed by a vocal travelling contingent in Munich, Scotland were chasing their first major tournament victory since the turn of the century but were torn apart by Julian Nagelsmann's side.

    Florian Wirtz, Jamal Musiala and Kai Havertz netted as Scotland went into half-time three goals and a man down, having seen Ryan Porteous sent off for a wild challenge on Ilkay Gundogan.

    Substitutes Niclas Fullkrug and Emre Can then scored in the second half either side of an Antonio Rudiger own goal, as Scotland conceded five goals in a game for the first time since a 5-1 friendly defeat to the United States in May 2012.

    At the other end, Scotland failed to record a single shot on target in a major tournament match for the first time since a 1-0 loss to the Netherlands at Euro 1992.

    Speaking to ITV Sport after the full-time whistle, Liverpool left-back Robertson said Scotland's players had let boss Steve Clarke down.

    "In the first half we didn't really show up. We weren't aggressive enough, we let good players on the ball," Robertson said.

    "They obviously had a gameplan, like we did. Their gameplan worked a million times better than ours but it wasn't because of the practice, it was because we didn't put it together on the pitch.

    "When big occasions like this come, you have to do that. In the second half, down to 10 men, I thought the lads dug in really well, to be fair to them. 

    "We could have drawn the second half but it's no consolation. We're well backed here with so many supporters, and today was hugely disappointing.

    "Playing against the host nation in the first game, you don't get much tougher than that. But we have to bounce back quickly because there was a lot of things wrong today."

    Scotland's defeat was their heaviest at any major tournament since the 1954 World Cup, when they were trounced 7-0 by then-world champions Uruguay.

    They have five days to put the result out of their minds ahead of their second Group A match, against Switzerland at the RheinEnergieStadion in Koln.

    "It's a reminder of how tough this tournament is. You're playing against world-class players and their players turned up all over the park," Robertson added.

    "They had an answer for everything we had. Sometimes that happens but if we sit down, we can't think we played to our maximum, and you have to do that. 

    "We have five days to sort ourselves out and go again, it will be another tough test against Switzerland. We'll take tomorrow to be angry at ourselves but then come Sunday, we have to be positive."

  • Germany 5-1 Scotland: Five-star hosts make emphatic start at Euro 2024 Germany 5-1 Scotland: Five-star hosts make emphatic start at Euro 2024

    Germany enjoyed a wonderful start to their home Euro 2024 campaign on Friday as they thrashed 10-man Scotland 5-1 in Munich.

    A huge contingent of Scotland fans packed into the Allianz Arena in hope of witnessing their country's first major tournament victory since Euro 1996, but they were stunned into silence as Florian Wirtz and Jamal Musiala put Germany two goals up inside 19 minutes.

    Ryan Porteous was then sent off for a dismal lunge on Ilkay Gundogan shortly before half-time, allowing Kai Havertz to kill the game as a contest from the penalty spot. 

    Niclas Fullkrug came off the bench to score a tremendous fourth for Julian Nagelsmann's hosts, though Antonio Rudiger's own goal gave Scotland's supporters some small comfort late on.

    However, Emre Can – a late call-up to the squad – added further gloss to the scoreline in stoppage time, giving Germany the biggest ever win in an opening match at the Euros. 

    Germany needed just 10 minutes to go ahead, with Angus Gunn tipping Wirtz's low strike onto the post and in after Joshua Kimmich found the Bayer Leverkusen star unmarked on the edge of the area.

    Within nine further minutes, Germany were two up. Gundogan slipped Havertz into the area, and he kept his cool to tee up Musiala for a slammed finish high into the net.

    Gunn made a reflex save to keep out Gundogan's header, but Porteous caught the Barcelona midfielder with a high challenge from the rebound, causing referee Clement Turpin to award a penalty and brandish a red card following VAR review. 

    Havertz stepped up to take the spot-kick in first-half stoppage time, striking it straight down the middle as Gunn dived left to make it a case of damage limitation for Scotland. 

    Rudiger's 35-yard strike had Gunn at full stretch early in the second half, then Wirtz sent a half-volley over when presented with a golden chance at the back post.

    The outstanding Musiala was involved again as Germany got their fourth after 68 minutes, linking up with Gundogan before Fullkrug blasted his finish into the top-right corner.

    Scotland pulled one back with three minutes left as Rudiger put through his own net after a deep free-kick caused a goalmouth scramble, but Can restored Germany's four-goal cushion at the death, curling a 20-yard strike out of Gunn's reach and into the bottom-right corner.

    Wirtz and Musiala Germany's shining lights

    With an average age of 29 years and 22 days, Nagelsmann named Germany's oldest starting lineup for a World Cup or Euros match since a 1-1 draw with Romania at Euro 2000 (30 years, 86 days).

    However, in Wirtz and Musiala, Germany also started two players aged 21 or under at the Euros for the first time since 2004, when Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger faced Czechia. 

    Their two young guns led the way.

    Wirtz's strike made him the youngest player to ever score the opening goal at a European Championship (21 years, 42 days), but Musiala – just over two months Wirtz's senior – refused to be upstaged as he capped a flowing move with a powerful finish for 2-0.

    This is the first time two players aged 21 or under have scored for the same team in a Euros match.

    Porteous red caps miserable Scotland start

    Scotland arrived in Munich targeting their first Euros victory since 1996, having only won two of their previous nine matches at the tournament (two draws, five defeats).

    The gulf in quality between the sides was soon apparent, though, as Germany became just the second team to net three first-half goals in a Euros match. France have previously done so twice, scoring three against Belgium in 1984 and four versus Iceland in 2016.

    Things barely improved in the second half, with Scotland conceding at least five goals in a competitive match for the first time since November 2003, when they were beaten 6-0 by the Netherlands in a Euro 2004 qualifier. 

    While this was always likely to be Scotland's toughest assignment, they will also feel the consequences of their display against Switzerland, with Porteous suspended.

    He is the first Scotland player to be sent off at a major tournament since Craig Burley versus Morocco at the 1998 World Cup.

  • Euro 2024 social round-up: Mou and Fergie link up, Pickford's quiz and Pavard the photographer Euro 2024 social round-up: Mou and Fergie link up, Pickford's quiz and Pavard the photographer

    Euro 2024 hosts Germany got off to a flying start as they comprehensively dispatched Scotland 5-1 on Friday.

    Goals from Florian Wirtz, Jamal Musiala, Kai Havertz and Niclas Fullkrug blew Scotland away at the Allianz Arena.

    But while the football entertained, there was also plenty of action on social media.

    Here's a pick of the best posts.

    The special... two?

    Jose Mourinho and Alex Ferguson enjoyed a great rivalry on the touchline down the years, but there was no sign of that as the two watched on from the stands in Munich.

    Unfortunately for Ferguson, Scotland were on the receiving end of a hammering.

    We can only wonder what these two greats had to say about Scotland's sorry performance, though surely they will have been full of praise for Germany.

    Honouring a great

    Franz Beckenbauer passed away in January, and ahead of the opening game, his wife Heidi led a touching tribute to der Kaiser.

    Moral support

    Nathan Patterson is not fit to feature for Scotland, but the Everton full-back has travelled out to Germany to support his team-mates.

    Unfortunately for Scotland, it didn't quite work out, and Patterson will be needing to provide plenty of moral support after their heavy defeat in Munich.

    Pickford gets quizzed

    England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was fulfilling his media duties on Friday, and he stopped by to answer some fan questions ahead of the Three Lions' opener against Serbia.

    Pickford was quizzed on how he copes with the pressure as kick-off approaches - "Enjoy the moment", he said - while revealing former England shot-stopper Joe Hart, who retired last month, has served as an inspiration.

    Young guns exciting Schweinsteiger 

    Bastian Schweinsteiger helped Germany to World Cup glory in 2014, so it feels like he is pretty well placed to pass judgement on up and coming stars.

    And when asked on X for the players he was most excited to see in action at Euro 2024, the former Bayern Munich midfielder picked out Florian Wirtz, Cole Palmer and Rafael Leao.

    Wirtz certainly delivered, as he starred in Germany's big win over Scotland. Will Palmer and Leao be equally as impressive for England and Portugal respectively?

    Picture perfect

    Olivier Giroud is one handsome devil, so it's no surprise that he's a photographer's dream.

    That being said, it's rare that the person behind the camera is one of his team-mates, but Giroud could only smile, and offer a cheeky pose, as Benjamin Pavard sneakily grabbed a camera and tried to get the perfect shot while the France number nine was holding a press conference.

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