Graham Potter needs to repeat Mohamed Salah trick to get Eden Hazard reward at Chelsea
Chelsea’s two-time player of the season and one of their shining lights through an otherwise tough season, Mason Mount has started poorly this term.
It’s not an elephant in the room, it’s true of a lot of players, but it is disappointing. Bearing in mind that Mount’s longest run of not getting a goal or assist in the league since making his debut in 2019 is seven games , dating back to the end of the 2020/21 season, his current stretch of six games is baron for a player of his quality.
The entirety of Chelsea’s problems don’t come close to boiling down to just being on Mount’s shoulders, but the 23-year-old has generated quite a name for being a consistently high and reliable performer.
Year on year his attacking output has improved despite being shunted about, and Graham Potter looks set to cement the England star in his own XI too.
It’s an ode to Mount that no matter where he has gone or been asked to play he has always worked himself into starting matches . Be it in Holland at 17 or Chelsea at 20, England at a major tournament or breaking through into an attack worth £300m despite being a midfielder, he is unshakable when it comes to hanging around.
This is what has made his uncharacteristic slow start such a surprise . Even with forwards failing at the club, Mount has delivered numbers comparable and better than them, especially last season.
In 2021/22 he was one of just three Premier League players to get double digits for goals and assists, ending with 11 and 10 respectively. He now has 24 league goals and 22 league assists in just over three seasons, nearly averaging a goal contribution every other match.
For his struggles this season, which haven’t just come in the final third, with an xG and xA of just 0.6 each, it’s not like he’s warranted more. Mount, like his teammates, has struggled to create or find a cutting edge.
Potter’s first choice was to move him back into a deeper and more natural No.8 role that he started out as and it should be no surprise that he looked better and impacted the game more in an improved showing for Chelsea.
The question will be, can Mount generate stats comparable to last season from deeper? He will certainly hope so. A similarly slow start last term didn’t stop him.
After six games he was on just one assist and didn’t register a goal until the seventh match of the season, a hat-trick against Norwich, and he only scored in one of the first 10 matches before a run of four goals and two assists in four games sprang his season into life.
In total last season Mount contributed in just 12 of 32 games but still made 21 contributions, if there is to be a criticism of that it is that spreading those out throughout a season may well be more helpful for a side that struggles, but that’s being harsh.
Only Jarrod Bowen and Mohamed Salah would go on to get more than 10 in goals and assists last campaign and five players in the league had more than 21 contributions in total.
The last Chelsea player to hit double figures for both goals and assists in a season before Mason Mount was Eden Hazard. More than anything this is just proof of the high-standards Mount has set and the ones he is now expected to live up to. It also demonstrates a failure to replace Hazard in anyway and provides further damning evidence of attacking failure, but it is also quite an achievement.
The last Englishman to do it for Chelsea was Frank Lampard. Mount is in good company, so to speak.
If he can go on from here to hit similar heights then undoubtedly a slow start won’t be remembered, but Potter will be hoping that sooner rather than later he can start to break his duck and get the season going for Chelsea, he’s their main talisman after all.