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The Importance of Mason Mount to Chelsea's Tactics

21-year-old Englishman Mason Mount is currently enjoying his first season with the first team setup after loan spells with Vitesse an...

21-year-old Englishman Mason Mount is currently enjoying his first season with the first team setup after loan spells with Vitesse and Derby County. Now a full England international after making his mark this season, there is a continuous talking point between Blues fans as we debate his importance to our team.

I imagine that a lot of you (like me) have come across opinions questioning Mount’s ability to operate as a playmaker; a traditional ‘number 10’ if you will. Sure, when you look at the underlying numbers it seems foolish to compare him to likes of prime Ozil, but is he being judged fairly? Is the criticism warranted? Personally, I don’t think comparisons even make sense. Sure his key passes aren’t reminiscent of an inform Eriksen, but he offers so much more to the team than just defence-splitting passes. Mount’s relentless pressing game plays a huge part in our general play and has been a catalyst for our chance creation.

Often acting as the trigger for the press across the front-line, Mount operates as the first line of defence and allows us to play the high line game Frank Lampard has attempted to implement into his setup. Maintaining a league average of 1.1 tackles and 0.4 from mainly offensive positions, as a point of reference, Mount is offering comparable numbers to Balon D’or finalist Virgil Van Dijk, whilst supporting the attack with 32.7 per match pass average and 85.1% pass completion coupled with 1.5 key passes per 90. Stats wise, Mount’s numbers paint a picture of a workhorse number 8 when first gazed upon. A role not too unfamiliar for the 21-year-old Englishman, who has been deployed in this position for 12 appearances this season alone.

So we’ve discussed the numbers. How does he fare on the eye test? Obviously, this is subject to opinions, however, in mine, Mount brings another dimension to our game we miss when he’s not on the pitch. Combining tiredness energy with astute technical ability, match experience with positional versatility. Mount is not without his flaws though. A drop in the hot prospect’s form coincidentally coincided with the team’s deteriorating match day performances. Though not single-handedly at fault, he is brought under heavier scrutiny than most teammates because of his “Lampard’s son” label branded on him as a consequence of the Chelsea manager’s inability to drop him; for performance or preservation.

When judging Chelsea’s number 19, it’s very important to factor in his age, a variable often overlooked in the mix of toxicity of over-reaction. Contributing 10 direct goal involvements in his first top-flight season in the country whilst constantly being shifted around the pitch to compensate the injury crisis the club has been plagued with is a fine feat, especially from a youngster. Another area for improvement for Mason Mount is decision making. Whether this was down to a  goal drought-induced frustration lead to him making snap decisions and snatching at chances in his pursuit to add to his tally is difficult to pin down right now. However, this theory is no more prevalent than the recent outing in the Champion League tie against Bayern Munich. Mount passed up at least 2 clear cut chances to assist a goal, instead opting to go for goal himself. There could be numerous factors contributing to poor decision making, but I feel in this case it can be attributed to young age and low confidence.

In conclusion, what’s my take on Mason Mount you ask? He’s a very level headed prospect with the world at his feet, possessing a fine attitude to absorb information and improving his game. When I watch Mount play for Chelsea, I feel he is a much more matured version since of himself compared to what we saw at the beginning he of the season. Sure he had the goal contributions in consecutive games for us to mask over some errors in his game, but they were still there. He has greatly improved on his ability to orchestrate a team press whereas before his inexperience would perhaps have dictated that he pressed alone rather than in unison with the team. Which of course would leave gaps within the midfield not helped by the high defensive line deployed and we would often get caught on the break. Once consistency retains in his game, I truly believe we have one of the most interesting midfield talents in world football in our ranks. The shackles of the “Lampard’s son” title will be difficult to overcome (we’ve all seen the abuse Jorginho suffered at times due to his affiliation to Maurizio Sarri), but as Chelsea fans, I know our judgement can often be blinded by our expectations and emotions. However I urge you to watch this space, cause make no doubt about it, he’s going to the very top.

Written by - @Pxnxshe
Edit by - @KristenPulisic

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