Chelsea has traditionally been known as a defensive team. Under the tactical prowess of managers like Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte, the club’s success has been built off defensive stability and blistering, counter-attacking prowess.
However, under Frank Lampard, it seems as if Chelsea is trying to build a new identity. He is a manager known for his admiration of attacking football, and a high-press, which allows Chelsea to defend from the front of the pitch. Mason Mount is a player known for his high-work ethic and ability to press the ball in the attacking areas of the field. He has thrived under Lampard at both Derby County and Chelsea.
Although Mount is one of Chelsea’s best youngsters and academy talents, his impact on the team’s success has recently gone unnoticed and he has been at the centre of attacks from many fans online.
Mount is one of the best young talents in world football, and one of Lampard’s favourite players because of the effort and aggression he brings to the team. He is a regular selection over the likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi, which has frustrated some fans who cannot nail down exactly what he brings to the team that Hudson-Odoi does not. Mount is a hard-worker on the pitch, a player that works as much off the ball as he does on it. His selection on the left-wing isn’t just for attacking purposes, but is also related to how the team defends overall. Lampard knows that without Ben Chilwell, the Blues are left with weaker left-backs that have less defensive knowledge compared to their attacking strengths. A player like Mount not only supports the attack by allowing Kai Havertz to press less, but he is able to create more.
Mount also allows a weak defensive left-back like Marcos Alonso to not be caught out of position. If an attack breaks down, with Marcos Alonso is in a more advanced position, Mason Mount will provide cover. This as whole assists greatly with the team press, allowing the defense to get into their positions for the opponents attack. In addition to Mount’s high-press work and high-reward attitude, he also allows Chelsea to open the pitch more in certain scenarios, like when they are playing with the ball. That allows Alonso to push further up the pitch alongside Havertz and Reece James, depending on if he’s playing on the left or the right wing. Mount has almost a 50 per cent tackle win ratio, and while pressing the ball up the pitch, he allows midfielders to get into more advanced roles for a counter.
Mount also brings goals and assists to the team. He scored seven times and also accumulated five assists last season, which means that he is not there only to press the ball but also to create for his team. He is tireless, playing 37 games last season, while being able to consistently help Chelsea score goals throughout a season in which the defense looked shaky. He is a proper number 8 but also brings the traits of a 10 and a wing-back. In the recent match with Liverpool, one of the biggest critiques was Lampard’s decision to take Havertz off and keep Mount on. But going against the best team in the Premier League with 10 men in that second half, it was likely a strategy designed to snatch a draw by not conceding again. Chelsea could have grown into the game with 11 men, but with a player down, the best idea was to sit deeper and allow Mount and Werner to aggressively press up the pitch when needed.
Mount is the system and the fans need to acknowledge this. His work ethic is second-to-none and he will not stop until he is taken off. Lampard knows this from their time together at Derby and last season, where the mentalities of individuals like Mount in that squad allowed the team to reach that goal. The hate that Mount gets for being selected is not justified. He is a key to the system, like Jorginho was to Maurizio Sarri. He is the engine of the team and a key to Lampard’s past and present success.