For the first time this season, Mason Mount appeared on the left-wing for Chelsea, against Norwich City. Another fantastic display from the 20-year-old will have shown his manager Frank Lampard that he has a versatile attacker on his hands.
The initial Chelsea line-up had included former Spain international Pedro on the wing in a 4-2-3-1 formation. However, he pulled up in the warm-up and was unable to play in the match at all.
Lampard was therefore left with a difficult decision to make. He did have Willian, a wide man by trade, on the substitutes bench – he would have been the obvious option to take Pedro’s place. However, the former Derby County boss chose to use Mount on the flank instead, despite him having played in a similar position just nine other times so far during his career.
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Despite playing in an unfamiliar role, the 5 foot 8 midfielder excelled. In fact, this was his second-best performance of the campaign, registering an 8.16 rating against the Canaries. He also got himself on the scoresheet, netting in the 17th minute to put the Blues 2-1 up.
It was the nature of his goal that showed he adapted well to being on the left flank. Played in by Christian Pulisic, he cut inside across his marker and slotted past Tim Krul in goal.
As Mount’s heat map (courtesy of Whoscored) showed, he mostly stuck out on the flank, respecting Lampard’s wishes. However, he also moved inside when needed, as we saw with the combination play that ended in him putting the Blues in the lead. He influenced the game across the board, racking up five shots, two key passes and two dribbles along the way.
It would be unwise to suggest that Lampard should now deploy his prodigy in the same way each week. After all, he is naturally a central midfielder, whether that be attacking or slightly deeper. Also, with Callum Hudson-Odoi soon to return to add to the options of Willian, Pedro and Pulisic, there is enough competition and depth already.
However, the 41-year-old can be safe in the knowledge that, should he need him to, Mount can once again come to his team’s rescue. The Chelsea youngster has demonstrated yet another string to his bow and that versatility can be major asset for Lampard tactically – especially during a period in which he appears uncertain of what his best starting XI actually is.