Mason Mount Tactical Analysis Chelsea

In recent years, Chelsea’s youth teams have become synonymous with success. Those who’ve been involved have mostly had go on loan elsewhere before getting a chance in the first-team, namely Ruben Loftus-Cheek who has made a real case to fight for a place at Chelsea over the 2018/19 season.

Another one of those players who has to go elsewhere to impress is Mason Mount who will be playing his football under Chelsea legend, Frank Lampard, at Derby County this season. Mount impressed highly in the age groups at Chelsea where his technical ability on the ball caught the eye more than anything.

His first season of first-team football, like with many other Chelsea youngsters, came at Vitesse last season. Vitesse mostly played in a 4-3-3 with Mount being one of the more attacking central midfielders, a position Mount has said he feels most comfortable in, as you can tell from his 2017/18 heatmap.

Mason Mount Player Analysis Chelsea Derby County
Heatmap sourced from Wyscout

Mount excelled in this role and with 14 goals and 10 assists left Vitesse as their Player of the Season. This may be one of the reasons that Lampard wanted to bring Mount to Derby as he has played with a 4-3-3 setup for most of pre-season. But what does Mount specifically offer here?

Goal threat

As you can tell from his heat map, Mount didn’t hesitate to push forward last season. However, this wasn’t just done for the sake of it as he showed time and again to be an excellent navigator high up the pitch. Many of his goals came from his awareness and picking the right spaces to attack and here’s an example.

Mason Mount Player Analysis Chelsea Derby County
Here, the Groningen defenders are very compact as they’re occupied by the Vitesse striker and winger. After ghosting into the box, Mount notices this, spots where the space is and attacks it while calling for the ball.
Mason Mount Player Analysis Chelsea Derby County
Having noticed the weakness in the opposition defence early, this gives Mount a head start and the Groningen players are too slow to react once aware of his presence. Mount then has the time and space to put the ball in the bottom corner.

This season, Mount has a great chance to hone this skill and make it a real feature of his game. Under Lampard, who was probably the best at that, he can learn so much in training to help him with this.

Set Pieces/Delivery

One feature that is a very real aspect of Mount’s game is his precision from dead ball situations. Whether it’s free-kicks or corners, he always carries a major threat from set-pieces and this is one of the main attributes he’s known for.

Mason Mount Player Analysis Chelsea Derby County
In the Eredivisie last season, he scored from three direct free-kicks.

His delivery isn’t just spot on when the ball isn’t moving, however. With his accuracy and technique, his consistency from the set-piece translates into open play. Of his 10 assists last season, six came from crosses, and here’s an example of just how deadly his delivery is.

Mason Mount Player Analysis Chelsea Derby County
If there’s one thing an attacking midfielder needs, it’s vision, and Mount has it. He sees the left centre-back step out which opens the space between him and the right centre-back.
Mason Mount Player Analysis Chelsea Derby County
Rather than play the ball in behind where the Vitesse striker probably has a 50/50 chance of winning the ball, he plays a pinpoint ball into the highlighted space. Almost hit like a set piece, the accuracy of the ball means the striker only needs to take a few strides before directing his first-time shot into the bottom corner.

This is a great attribute for him to have as it can catch defences off-guard but it’ll be interesting to see if he can replicate this in a faster league.

As one of the more attacking midfielders in a 4-3-3, don’t be surprised to see Mount pull off to these areas to try and hit the Derby striker. He often tries this type of ball when he finds himself out on the right, however, so that may be a hotspot in terms of where he gains most of his assists this season.

Improvements

Although he is usually used as an attacking midfielder, this was as a #8 for Vitesse which is why his ventures upfield were so hard to track. In this role, he may not be the midfielder who is told to regain possession, but it is an area he can improve in if he wants to progress in that area of midfield. Here’s an example of how.

Mason Mount Player Analysis Chelsea Derby County
Naturally very athletic, Mount is able to track back and get into a good defensive position easily enough.
Mason Mount Player Analysis Chelsea Derby County
However, once alongside the Nice player, he sells himself too easily. Instead of continuing his run and getting goal-side, he misreads the situation and tries to steal the ball from the wrong side. This frees up the highlighted space for the Nice player to run through.

Although he won’t the one tasked with winning the ball back in midfield, he will be in situations where he’ll have to assert himself a bit more and be smarter out of possession. This wasn’t the only time where he sold himself too easily over the course of the season so that will be an area for improvement for this season.

Summary

Overall, Mount’s loan at Derby County looks like it’ll be an encouraging one. Going to a club that have consistently finished in the Championship’s top 10, he’ll have good players around him, and in what some consider to be the hardest league, he could gain some invaluable experience to help him on his return to Chelsea. Also, under the tutelage of Lampard, it’ll be interesting to see how his game develops in a system that looks like it is made for him to succeed.