Mason Mount has had an up and down season in the opinion of many Chelsea fans. Of course, this is all relative as supporters are holding him to the standard he set for himself last season. While Mount is undoubtedly one of the best young talents in the Premier League, the reality is he cannot take home the club’s Player of the Season award every year—at least not yet. Mount plays in a highly competitive environment in SW6. Although he’s maybe not passed the eye test in terms of consistency in comparison to last year, he’s still growing rapidly as an individual player.
The England international has already surpassed his previous career high for goals scored in a single season. Factor in his assist numbers thus far and he’s tied his previous best (18 G + A) from the 2017/18 season he spent on loan at Vitesse. It’s baffling when hearing these numbers in isolation that anybody would consider the current campaign a step down for the youngster. Funnily enough, the argument that many football fans are using to try and justify their criticism of Mount actually works to support the claim that he’s exactly what the Blues have been searching for since Diego Costa’s departure in 2017.
Mason Mount looks to be the answer to Chelsea’s issues from the past
It’s not long ago that Chelsea shelled out nearly £100 million and shattered its club record fee to bring in Romelu Lukaku. Opposing fans immediately clowned the move, stating the Belgian’s record as a flat-track bully as a justification for stating the Blues overpaid. The main rebuttal from Chelsea supporters was that their side had dropped countless points to mid-table sides over the years. Thus, the addition of a clinical forward would go a long way in closing the gap between Thomas Tuchel’s side and the true title challengers.
Eight months removed from those discussions and the Blues have managed to remain within 10 points of the Premier League leader, Manchester City, for a majority of the campaign. This is because even when Chelsea was struggling, it managed to grind out results, seldom coming out on the losing end of a tie. Lukaku has struggled though, so what—or rather, who—has been keeping the Blues afloat all this time?
Every fan and pundit will have their own unique answer, but it’s hard to discount the impact Mount’s had throughout the campaign. Social media skeptics are quick to point out that nine of his 10 goals in the Premier League have come against teams currently positioned in the bottom half of the table. As do five of his eight assists in top flight contests. A deeper dive reveals a drastically different story about his contributions though.
The term flat-track bully has been used to describe Mount’s successes this season and portray them in a negative light. However, it must be said that without the 23-year-old, the Blues would be nine points worse off than they are right now. This would have them on the outside looking in at the top four, staring up at Arsenal and Tottenham in the league table. Instead, Chelsea is comfortably in third. If the Blues manage to beat the Gunners on April 20 in their game in hand, they’ll pull within single-digit points of Manchester City and Liverpool respectively.
While Lukaku has largely struggled to have an impact on the side, Mount has stepped up and assumed the role of the consistent playmaker in the Premier League. He’s helped pull his team out of some deep holes already this season. The versatile English international has been exactly what the doctor ordered for Chelsea as he’s won some important points down the stretch.
The UEFA Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup finals over the last two years have shown the Blues don’t need any help persevering under the brightest lights. Instead, it’s the cold, wet week nights in Norwich that require the most effort for one reason or another. Mount may have only scored against some of the worst defenses that the English top flight has to offer, but he’s consistently shown that he’s able to lace up his boots and put in a shift when nobody else in his team is feeling up to it. This is an invaluable quality in west London. It’s proven to be the difference between a comfortable top four finish and a stressful late season push.
What have you made of Mount’s performances this season? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter!