How Mason Mount silenced his critics: From Lampard’s ‘favourite’ to future captain

Allow us to cast your mind back to the start of the 2019/2020 Premier League season. Club legend Frank Lampard is set to take charge of his first Premier League game away at Manchester United. It is natural that his first lineup would come under criticism (as is the nature of football fans and pundits opinions) but one name on the sheet drew more scepticism than others – Mason Mount. Mount had worked under his idol the previous season whilst on loan at Derby County who mounted (no pun intended) an unsuccessful push for promotion, prompting both player and manager to return to Stamford Bridge. Cries of ‘favouritism’ circulated social media as the likes of N’golo Kante and Christian Pulisic were amongst the substitutes as the then 20 year old made his Premier League debut in a 4-0 defeat.

The result only added fuel to the fire with fans calling for more experienced players to be brought in to replace the ‘kids’ who they felt could not handle the pressure. However, by the time match-day 2 had come to an end, those fans were quickly starting to change their tune. Chelsea vs Leicester City at Stamford Bridge. Mount’s home league debut – and he was ready for it. Closing down Wilfried N’didi who had received the ball just outside his own box, Mount dispossessed him and slotted home his first Premier League goal emphatically and went on to be a standout performer during the rest of the campaign. Despite a number of below par performances from the blues that season, which saw them still secure a Champions League spot with a fourth-placed finish, Mason Mount was always consistent – displaying a combination of desire and work-rate with natural ability that saw him give his all each time he wore the shirt.

However, it was not just his desire and work-rate that stood out for fans and pundits alike. His talent and ability increased with each game he played until he found himself becoming one of the first names on the team-sheet. The pressure took another form as fans began drawing comparisons to that of his manager – hailing the return of an English goal-scoring attacking midfielder. No doubt receiving invaluable insight and advice from not only his manager, but from his club and international team-mates enabled the youngster to not let it affect his game as he continued to perform week in, week out.

Mason Mount: Letting the stats speak for themselves

The midfielder finished the season with an impressive number of both offensive and defensive stats that emphasise his overall impact on the team’s performance. With over 1241 completed passes, combined with an average pass success rate of 85.7% according to WhoScored, it is easy to see why Mount became the first academy graduate in the club’s history to make his first-team debut and complete 50 appearances in the same season. Furthermore, contributing seven goals and five assists, the midfielder also found himself creating eight additional clear goal-scoring chances whilst completing 26 accurate through balls. He also managed to complete over 126 crosses during the campaign.

Defensively, Mason Mount always put in a shift to help out at the back. He completed 37 tackles with an average success rate of 46%, which may not sound like much, but for an attacking player is admirable. Showing his versatility in defensive situations, Mount managed to block over 28 shots and intercept the ball from opponents 16 times – adding 18 clearances out of danger. Additionally, contesting over 125 duels successfully as well as 40 successful 50/50 challenges show that Mount is not scared to get his hands dirty when the situation calls for it.

Chelsea's English midfielder Mason Mount runs with the ball during the English FA Cup fourth round football match between Chelsea and Luton Town at Stamford Bridge in London on January 24, 2021. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP)
Chelsea’s English midfielder Mason Mount runs with the ball during the English FA Cup fourth round football match between Chelsea and Luton Town at Stamford Bridge in London on January 24, 2021. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP)

New season, new challenges

Mason Mount started the 2020/21 season well, as he featured in all of Chelsea’s opening fixtures, including an EFL Cup third round tie against Barnsley – which ended in a 6–0 win at Stamford Bridge. Three days later, Mount scored his first goal of the season against West Bromwich Albion in a 3–3 away draw in the Premier League. In his next fixture, however, Mason Mount missed the decisive penalty in Chelsea’s 5–4 shootout loss away to Tottenham Hotspur in the fourth round of the EFL Cup. He scored in back-to-back games in January – finding the net in a 4–0 win at Morecambe during a third round FA Cup tie, and then scored the match-winning goal away to Fulham in the Premier League. On 24 January 2021, Mount captained Chelsea for the first time in a 3–1 win at home over Luton Town in the FA Cup. This proved to be Frank Lampard’s last game in charge of the club as he was relieved of his managerial duties and replaced by Thomas Tuchel on 26 January 2021. On 4 March 2021, Mount scored the only goal in a 1–0 away league win over Liverpool, handing the Reds their fifth consecutive league defeat at Anfield for the first time in their history.

Upon his new managers arrival, Mason Mount found himself on the bench on a few occasions whilst Tuchel tested out all the players he had at his disposal in order to draw up his new tactics to get the Blues back competing amongst England and Europe’s elite as soon as possible. With the club up to fourth in the league alongside an FA Cup semi-final and Champions League Quarter-Final to look forward to, it is fair to say Tuchel has his players on the right track.

During that time Mount re-established himself as one of the first names on the team-sheet with consistent, quality performances. Tuchel has even identified the English International as a possible candidate for the captains armband – giving it to him during his sides 2-0 FA Cup Quarter-Final victory over Sheffield United. The midfielder has played over 39 games so far this season, contributing six goals and six assists in that time. His versatility has also come in handy which has seen him play on the left side of midfield alongside his more central position.

So far in the Premier League this season, Mount has played 28 matches (including three as a sub), producing 16 shots on target from a total of 40 shots and has found the net on five occasions – according to Transfermarkt. Additionally, the midfielder averages 48 passes per match with a completion rate of 87%, and has three assists to his name. Defensively, he has made 59 tackles with a 54% success rate, blocked 16 shots and intercepted 26 passes.

The hard-working midfielder has also made over 118 ball recoveries and won over 148 contested duels for possession. His average Infogol Player Rating is a 7.30, this proves the point about his high level of consistency he has within his game. The above mentioned stats also pay testament to how well he suits Tuchel’s philosophy of possession based domination with an urgent press to win the ball back whenever it has been lost.

Once a blue, always a blue

It is fair to say that Mason Mount has won over most blues fans with his consistent, high quality performances and will continue to produce such performances in many years to come. While he dons the blue of Chelsea Football Club the fans are safe with the knowledge that he will give everything he has to bring the success and silverware associated with the club, and who knows – perhaps we will see him with the captains armband on a permanent basis in the near future.

Written by Sean Gilmartin (@SeanGilmartin97)

Edited by Tom Coley (@tomcoley49)

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