As Mason Mount goes, so do Chelsea.
Don’t believe me? I’m not sure you should, but let’s see what the numbers say.
Mount started 16 of Chelsea’s first 19 games in all competitions. We lost just 3 of those 16, all in the first few weeks (Manchester United, Valencia, Liverpool). We lost 2 of the 3 he did not start, and the one we did win was against Grimsby Town.
Match No.20 was the 2-1 loss to Manchester City, which started the current malaise (7-4-7 in all competitions since). Mount did not start that day. Today’s Spurs match will be the 19th match since. Mount has started just 11 of those, with Chelsea winning 5. We’ve won just 2 of the games he did not start (Lille, Nottingham Forest).
Obviously that’s an oversimplification, but there’s at least a correlation.
That also makes the criticisms of Mount’s waning influence not wholly unreasonable. Any scapegoating or suggestions of undue favoritism are obviously not cool — football fans seemingly cannot exist without scapegoats — but Mount’s production has dropped noticeably from the first 19 games (4 goals, 2 assists) to the last 18 as well (1 goal, 3 assists, two of which came on corners against Leicester City). More importantly, Mount’s overall game has suffered noticeably as well, from fatigue, poor decision-making, and lack of influence in general.
Fortunately, there were signs on Monday against Manchester United that he’s starting to find his feet again, as he was pressed into service early following N’Golo Kanté’s injury.
Now, Lampard wants more. He’s hardly alone in that regard.
“There’s competition in that area of the team so it’s not an easy selection for me week to week. I know Mason well through working with him and I know that he’s tough on himself. Probably since the last Tottenham game, he will want to have had more output in terms of assists and goals because that’s what he’s capable of.
“He’s fine and he’s very aware of that. I have very honest conversations with Mason and I know he wants the best for himself. I see it out there every day so even if those goals and assists aren’t coming now, he’ll fight himself through that.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Chelsea FC
Consistency is one of those qualities that tends to only develop with age, experience, and match practice. Mount has undoubtedly a great future ahead of him, but how he responds today and in the next few games will set the tone for the more immediate concerns around Chelsea for this season and next.