The first game of any manager at a club is often quite revealing. Who does he like the look of? Who has not impressed? Who might soon be heading to new pastures?
Having established himself as one of the key men on Frank Lampard’s side, Mason Mount was a surprise inclusion on the Chelsea bench for Thomas Tuchel’s first game at the helm against Wolves last month.
We’ll never really know if the decision was made with him playing the full 90 minutes of Chelsea’s last 13 league outings, although you’d be forgiven for assuming any new boss would choose to field his strongest. . team in their first game in charge.
After all, the longer the wait for a first win, the more pressure begins to build.
The youngster’s brief cameo towards the end of the draw with Wolves was enough to earn him a home start against Burnley the following game, and he was again lined up from the start in their 1-0 win over rivals London of the Spurs Thursday night.
Critics have criticized the Chelsea man’s status as an automatic starter during Lampard’s time at the club – and in truth, the former Blues boss has done little to dispel rumors that Mount was the professor’s pet as he was lyrical on him every time he was confronted by a mic – but the England international is starting to prove Lampard right. The mount is an integral part of Chelsea’s progression.
The 22-year-old played like a false nine at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, picking up small pockets of space between the Spurs backline and the midfielder.
His move and cunning proved too much for Spurs all evening, with Eric Dier and Toby Alderweireld too cautious to come out of defense to take him and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg unable to keep up with his runs.
Far from just sitting between Spurs’ center-backs all evening, Mount fell back to midfield whenever his team were ballless – something that really It didn’t happen very often if the truth was known – with Timo Werner firing from the left side to occupy Dier and Alderweireld.
Throughout the evening, Mount engaged in numerous brawls with mountain man Tanguy Ndombele, refusing to be kicked off the ball by the Spurs man.
Meanwhile, every time he pushed further forward he was just too quick, too quick and too cunning for Alderweireld, with the Belgian sometimes chasing shadows in his attempt to curtail the youngster’s progress.
The real victory of the evening goes to Tuchel, with the German boss orchestrating the system for which Jose Mourinho’s side simply had no answer.
But for that system to work, it needed a pivot, a player who was an integral part of the team that the rest of the team could nurture and work on – that man was Mason Mount.
All in all it was an absolutely superb performance from the former Derby man. It was a show full of courage, energy and quality, and he is without a doubt the most important player at the club.