Premier League

Why Mason Mount is the only Chelsea player who can't be dropped

The Englishman has faced down fan criticism to shine at Stamford Bridge, despite his teammates' recent struggles.

10:00am on Thursday 21st January 2021
Cameron Smith

Frank Lampard’s job is on the line, there’s no doubting that.

Tuesday evening's 2-0 loss to Leicester only compounded the current issues for the Blues legend, and with Thomas Tuchel reportedly being viewed as an alternative, it looks like his time in the Stamford Bridge hotseat could be running out.

It was a lacklustre display, one that suggested all hope at Chelsea has dissipated, but one player stood out like a sore thumb. His name? Mason Mount.

Having received criticism in the early stages of the season - mainly due to external circumstances such as Gareth Southgate selecting him over Jack Grealish in the England set-up - Mount has proven his doubters wrong during Chelsea's worst run of form since Lampard took over.

Lionel Messi has said Mount “has the potential to be one of the best" and, if arguably the greatest ever player to grace the football pitch believes in your talent, it says a lot.

Despite over £200m being spent in the summer, Mount has played the most Premier League minutes for the Blues this season, and been their best player.

He’s a fan of the club, and the desire he shows every time he wears the shirt is unrivalled in the Chelsea squad, something that has endeared him to the Stamford Bridge faithful.

He looks like he cares, and that can’t be said for every Chelsea player in this recent run of bad results. After the Leicester loss, Lampard blamed his players saying: "The bare minimums are to run, to sprint, to cover ground and too many of our players didn't do it." But one player who is exempt from his manager’s criticism is the persistent English midfielder.

In the past week, Mount has been exceptional. In the 1-0 away win against Fulham, he scored the only goal, played seven key passes, took four shots, completed three dribbles, and made five tackles and interceptions. In the loss to Leicester, he managed a game-high four key passes, took one shot, completed one dribble, and made an incredible 12 tackles and interceptions.

In short, both games featured elite performances from the academy graduate.

The ideal blend of attacking ingenuity, and defensive awareness, Mount has everything you'd want in a No.8.

With Havertz struggling to adapt to football in England, Billy Gilmour injured at the start of the season, and Mateo Kovacic failing to continue his fine form from 2019/20, Mount has been a guaranteed starter, and for good reason.

His 2020/21:

Two goals and three assists in the league is a fairly minimal tally for such a talent, but it’s still a promising return for someone of Mount’s age. And if you dig a little deeper, it’s clear to see the ability that the Englishman possesses.

His 2.8 key passes per 90 is the highest in the Chelsea squad, and ranks fourth in the entire Premier League of players to play over 500 minutes, behind only the aforementioned Grealish, Kevin De Bruyne and Bruno Fernandes; he’s in truly elite company.

His creativity is a severely underrated facet of his game, and is one that will only grow as he develops as a player.

Completing 1.4 dribbles and taking 2.1 shots per 90, Mount’s attacking game is extremely well balanced, and his defensive nous is innate, quite unusual for someone who progressed through the academy system as primarily a No.10.

22 yrs - M, AM (C) - Chelsea
JavaScript chart by amChartsLDefendingCreativePassingAttackingShootingDecisiveAerialsPhysical10-10-5051015100%
Played matches
Shots P90
Dribbles P90
Successful passing %
Final third passes P90

Mount is averaging 2.4 tackles per 90, the third highest in the Chelsea squad, and combined with his 1.4 interceptions per 90, he completes more defensive actions than Rodri (3.2), and only 0.1 fewer than Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (3.9) at Tottenham.

Not all creative midfielders are diligent in their defensive work, Havertz is only making 1.7 tackles and interceptions per 90 in the same team for comparison, but Mount combines vision and attacking endeavour with discipline and an immense workrate; he’s the model of consistency, and adds so much value to this Chelsea side.

A stalwart in Chelsea’s season, Mount has been the standout player in a disappointing campaign that has seen the Blues recently slip to 9th place in the Premier League, and his place in the starting XI every game has never been more certain.

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