Mason Mount is the next subject of our individual player review series at the end of a campaign in which he was voted Player of the Year by Chelsea supporters.
The boyhood Blue faced new challenges and scaled new heights in 2020/21, playing more minutes and making more appearances than any player in the squad across all competitions. Most of those were as an attacking player operating just behind the striker or from wide, although he did enjoy a run of 19 matches through the winter playing in central midfield.
Regardless of position on the pitch, Mount’s industry and invention made him an integral part of the team under both Frank Lampard and Thomas Tuchel.
When he started on the bench for the latter’s first match in charge in late January, the German described it as an ‘unfair’ decision given he had only one training session to pick a starting 11, though many observers jumped to the conclusion that the Academy product would fall out of favour.
Yet Mount’s self-belief and hard work paid dividends and he quickly regained his place in the team, scoring decisive goals in the Champions League quarter-finals and semi-finals as the Blues went all the way to lifting the trophy.
He finished the season with 21 combined goals and assists, an output that played a big part in him winning the award for outstanding performer at the end of the campaign.
Making a mark
His second season as a senior player at Stamford Bridge started brightly for the youngster, who didn’t turn 22 until the start of 2021. He played every minute of our opening five Premier League matches, scoring our first against West Brom as we came back to draw 3-3, before remaining an unused substitute for the victory over Crystal Palace in early October as he nursed an ankle knock.
That followed disappointment away at Tottenham when he missed the decisive penalty in a Carabao Cup shoot-out as we exited the competition in the fourth round.
Yet Mount’s durability shone through during a relentless autumn and winter schedule, and he was able to maintain a high level of performance even when results became more inconsistent. In fact, our number 19 featured in 12 straight matches through October and November, racking up three assists during that time.
His set-piece prowess was proving a useful threat for the Blues, with Kurt Zouma the beneficiary of two perfect corners in victories against Burnley and Leeds United.
Meanwhile, there was more spontaneous craft behind an assist for Callum Hudson-Odoi away at Rennes as Mount fought for possession and then floated a delightful ball over the top for his Cobham comrade to tuck away. The midfielder’s contribution offered yet more evidence of both sides of his developing game.
Taking the armband
The winter months were more difficult as points were dropped on the road and we slipped down the Premier League table, though it was Mount’s late strike away at Fulham that provided some punch and fight to a struggling side in mid-January. It proved to be our final league victory under Lampard.
The FA Cup provided some respite early in the calendar year and the midfielder opened the scoring in our third-round victory against Morecambe just a day after his 22nd birthday, before he was named captain in round four against Luton Town. Aged 22 years and 14 days, he became our youngest skipper since John Terry, and took the armband once again before the season's end, in the Cup quarter-final against Sheffield United.
Flying under Tuchel
After quickly winning favour under Tuchel, Mount remained a regular in the side, adapting to a new role in the Bavarian’s 3-4-2-1 system. His intelligent and intense pressing from the front won praise from the new boss, leading to him starting as a false nine with split strikers in our 1-0 win at Tottenham.
In the following match, away at the Blades, he opened the scoring with a smart left-footed finish from inside the box, taking his career Premier League goals tally into double figures. There was no looking back from there and the Portsmouth-born midfielder scored for the second successive season at Southampton, as well as crucial goals away to Liverpool and Porto.
'He has the full package - in terms of talent but also mentally and physically. The most important part is his character, he has his feet on the ground and he’s a nice guy.'
— Thomas Tuchel
It was undoubtedly his efforts on the big stage in Europe that stuck in the minds of Chelsea fans when they voted him their Player of the Year, particularly a memorable counter-attacking goal to seal our place in the final as Real Madrid were put to the sword at Stamford Bridge. In the first leg in the Spanish capital, Mount had made a milestone 100th Chelsea appearance.
To seal a hugely influential season in blue, it was his pass in the Champions League final that set Kai Havertz running clear for the only goal of the game. Class, character and composure, Mount demonstrated it all throughout a turbulent but triumphant campaign.
Mason Mount 2020/21 Chelsea stats
Unused sub: 2
Minutes played: 4,460
Mason Mount Premier League appearances 2020/21
Mason Mount played 36 games in the Premier League for Chelsea this season, coming off the bench for four of them.
Mason Mount Champions League appearances 2020/21
Mason Mount made 11 appearances in the Champions League this season, two of them as a substitute.
Mason Mount FA Cup appearances 2020/21
Mason Mount played five games in the FA Cup this season, all of them from the start.
Mason Mount Carabao Cup appearances 2020/21
Mason Mount played twice in the Carabao Cup this season, both from the start.
Mason Mount goals 2020/21
Mason Mount scored nine goals for Chelsea this season, one of which was a penalty.