Mason Mount Remains Integral to Chelsea Despite Massive Summer Outlay

Nov 24, 2020, 5:00 PM GMT
Mason Mount
Mount was once again excellent against Newcastle | Alex Livesey - Danehouse/Getty Images
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Chelsea are beginning to look like the real deal, with their comfortable win over Newcastle the latest example of the strides taken in recent weeks and months under Frank Lampard.

With the amount of money spent and the calibre of players signed during the last transfer window, there was an added pressure on Lampard to deliver. It is still early in the season, but Chelsea fans can rightly feel optimistic.

Lethal in attack and defensively sound, this is a cohesive squad heading in the right direction. The likes of Edouard Mendy, Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell, Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner have all had praise heaped on them for their impact since joining, but one player who has quietly continued to play an integral role is young Mason Mount.

Following the additions during the last transfer window, it was expected Mount - who ranked third for minutes played in the Premier League in 2019/20 for Chelsea - would be limited to more of a squad role this term. But he has held down a place in the starting lineup so far, whether it be on the wing or in a more central role.

Sure, he may not be every football fan's favourite player, but contrary to what some on Twitter may think, he isn't simply in the Chelsea team because he is given preferential treatment. Instead, it's because he sets the platform for those around him to shine, through his work rate, tenacity and quality on the ball.

Jacob Murphy, Mason Mount
Mount is key to the way Chelsea play | Alex Livesey - Danehouse/Getty Images

This was made abundantly clear again against Newcastle on Saturday.

The west Londoners took the lead through a fairly comical Federico Fernandez own goal, the defender producing a lovely finish to turn the ball into his own net. It was hardly a memorable goal, but it was Mount's awareness and quick thinking which forced Fernandez into making the mistake.

How many times do we see corner kick takers caught offside after taking a short set piece? The answer: far too often.

But Mount made no such mistake. As the ball came back to Werner, Mount was alert to the Magpies' efforts to push out and held his run excellently before the German played the ball back to him. The England international then produced a teasing cross which Fernandez couldn't deal with.

It was simple, but very effective.

He was outstanding all game, both on and off the ball. This time operating as a number eight, Mount covered just about every blade of grass on the pitch, tracking runs and never allowing the opposition's midfield to assert themselves.

As well as recovering the ball four times, he also created three chances and played 34 final third passes. These aren't the kind of figures of someone who is purely in the team due to 'favouritism' - instead, Mount brings energy, creativity and quality.

Lampard explained this after the victory over Newcastle, stating there are a hundred things in Mount's game which impress him - his ability to press being just one example. He said: “He doesn’t do too many treble step overs and flicks over the back of his head as he shouldn’t do.

Frank Lampard, Mason Mount
Lampard praised Mount's pressing ability | Robin Jones/Getty Images

"He makes really efficient, clean, sharp passes, he presses as well as any midfield player that I’ve worked with or played alongside. There are a hundred things within his game that impresses managers that he works for."

Those are quite the compliments.

As well as his efficient passing and pressing off the ball, Mount's ability to deliver in a number of different positions only further adds to his importance to this Chelsea team. His versatility allows Lampard to make tactical adjustments and switch formations when necessary without any hassle. The importance of having this type of player available to any manager cannot be understated, hence why he has become a regular at both club and international level already.

Mount has played on either flank, as the attacking midfielder and as an eight so far in 2020/21. But despite being utilised in a number of different positions, he has continued to deliver week after week. In fact, he ranks first in the Chelsea squad for key passes so far in 2020/21 and for progressive passes as well. He also ranks third for tackles (17) and interceptions (eight).

Mason Mount, Jacob Murphy
Mount constantly looks to press and force the opposition into a mistake | Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Considering the maturity with which Mount plays, it's easy to forget he is still just 21 and still learning. But one key attribute of his that has perhaps gone somewhat unnoticed is his leadership. He himself highlighted this after Saturday's win, explaining he made it clear to Werner he should have taken a golden chance during the first half.

He told the club's official website: "I said to Timo in the first half, 'that’s a goal for you, you need to score them' because I’ve seen them go in day-in and day-out in training. He’s a top player and he needs to be harsh on himself to score those. He knows that and, if it comes next week, he’ll put it away.

"I was disappointed with my one as well because I feel I should be scoring those. We’re all tough on each other and tough on ourselves because we want to be pushing to get number one."

Such a mentality for a player still so young is part of the reason why Gareth Southgate and Lampard have depended on Mount so heavily.

The new signings have made a real impact at the club, there's no denying that. But despite their arrivals, Mount has remained a vital part of the way this Chelsea team plays, no matter which position he is being deployed in.

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