At one point this season, Mason Mount was in danger of becoming football’s marmite man.
Unfavourably compared to exciting acquisitions such as Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech at Chelsea and eclipsed by the rise of Jack Grealish at international level, Mount seemed destined to be damned by English football’s faintest praise: being a ‘hard-worker’.
To anyone who had seen him play, this label was palpably ridiculous. While Mount possesses stamina in abundance, diligently follows tactical instructions and isn’t afraid of getting his hands dirty, the midfielder can also kill a football stone dead and pick a pass beyond the comprehension of us mere mortals.
It’s no surprise that Mount is adored by Frank Lampard and Gareth Southgate, so there is perhaps no wonder how the perception of Mount as a ‘teacher’s pet’ has been leapt upon on social media.
Shock horror, it’s a load of bollocks. Mount has made himself an integral member of Chelsea’s team, providing both goals and assists to the cause this season.
Mason Mount’s game by numbers vs. Rennes:
100% shot accuracy
100% cross accuracy
100% take-ons completed
100% tackle success
2 chances created
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 24, 2020
What others may not realise is that Mount also provides sauce. Plenty of sauce.
During the first half, he received a zippy pass on the left flank that a lesser player would have let veer violently out of control. Not Mount.
Quickly assessing his surroundings, he flicked the ball over the head of one defender and touched it away from another. The latter movement disorientated Eduardo Camavinga to the extent that the teenage prodigy fell flat on his arse. Glorious.
Mason Mount leaving Eduardo Camavinga on his arse.
the movement & touch is outrageous. pic.twitter.com/jbIQ0Dllhg
— alarcón (@Juanin10i) November 24, 2020
Despite this signposted sign of impending danger, the Rennes defence slept blissfully through the next blaring fire alarm just minutes later.
Collecting the ball from deep, they afforded Mount the freedom of western France to ping a delightful curled pass into the path of Callum Hudson-Odoi.
It would have been rude for Hudson-Odoi to spurn the opportunity Mount’s pass had created, and the winger confidently slotted the ball past Alfred Gomis.
Callum Hudson-Odoi puts Chelsea 1-0 up with a fantastically taken goal.
Mason Mount also deserves massive credit – what an excellent assist. 🤩pic.twitter.com/2zjN8y19af
— LDN (@LDNFootbalI) November 24, 2020
Mount was substituted after 66 minutes, but even this can be taken as a compliment. With the fixture schedule more congested than the insides of Peter Griffin, every club needs to manage their squads with the utmost care.
By sacrificing Mount, Lampard was sending the signal that Mount is needed for crucial upcoming games with Tottenham and Leeds.
Chelsea ran out 2-1 winners in France, with no doubt over the identity of the man of the match. Mount was instrumental to everything good about Chelsea’s play and is fast becoming both the Blues’ engine room and source of creative inspiration.
Football’s marmite man? It’s all a matter of taste.
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