Still Only 22, Mason Mount Already Feels Like Chelsea’s Old Reliable

Mason Mount’s superbly-taken strike against Liverpool at Anfield was his third goal in five Premier League games and lifted Chelsea back into the top four, drawing praise from fans and pundits alike. A vital cog in the Chelsea youth movement under former coach Frank Lampard, Mount now has critics everywhere acknowledging him as one of the Blues’ key contributors.

 

Although many saw Thomas Tuchel’s appointment as a power move by chairman Roman Abramovich to get big-money signings and fellow Germans Timo Werner and Kai Havertz firing on all cylinders, arguably Mount has been the standout of the former PSG boss’ early tenure at Stamford Bridge. A constant presence in Tuchel’s starting XI since taking over, Mount has rewarded the new manager’s faith in him with a string of stellar performances.

 

Mount’s contributions mean Chelsea are now fancied to finish comfortably in the top four, 4/9 in the Premier League betting markets after the Liverpool win at the beginning of March. Their quest for more Champions League football has been boosted by the stunning collapse of Liverpool out of both the title and top four races – their loss to Tuchel’s men was an unbelievable fifth straight at Anfield – while frequent European position challengers Leicester City have also been struck down with unfortunate injuries to key players and no longer show the form with which they started the season so brightly. Chelsea’s recent top four track record and European experience compared to other top four challengers Everton and West Ham is reflected in bookmakers’ confidence in the Blues to see out the job.

 

A rare constant in an ever-shifting Blues’ starting eleven as Tuchel tries to figure out his best team, Mount is already one of the first names on the team sheet despite his young age at 22. This season Mount has proved he can do it all – play in a deeper role linking play from the defence, both for England and against possession-heavy sides like Atletico Madrid in the Champions League, while playing further forward to provide service to strikers Werner and Olivier Giroud in games against smaller teams in the Premier League.

 

Surely England manager Gareth Southgate sees him as a certain inclusion for the Euro 2021 squad this summer? While his competition is fierce for the midfield places supporting Harry Kane, Mount has already shown this season he can fit into different systems and positions and fulfil a number of roles, the kind of flexibility international managers love to have in their squads for major competitions. If Mount continues this form – and especially the goal-scoring – into the Premier League run-in, he could be competing for a starting place when England open their tournament against Croatia at Wembley on the 13th June.

 

As Blues fans adjust to the new era, it’s looking like ‘Tuchelball’ will be characterised as much by the resurgence of players like Mount as it will by Tuchel’s stingy defence. Chelsea went unbeaten in Tuchel’s first ten games in charge, scoring eleven goals and conceding only twice.

Mixed feelings about Chelsea’s chances of winning the Premier League

The excellent run of results and form enjoyed by Chelsea is generating plenty of debate. After coming back from behind to produce a classy display against Leeds United, the 3-1 final score didn’t flatter Frank Lampard’s team, who could, and probably should, have won by a much bigger margin at Stamford Bridge.

As the Premier League table begins to take shape at the top, Chelsea are very much in the mix, having lost just one game. Interestingly, that one game was against reigning champions Liverpool in the second game of the season, yet Jurgen Klopp refuses to dismiss the Blues as potentially being the biggest rivals for his team.

After they briefly topped the Premier League table, Chelsea “look like the favourites” according to Klopp, in comments highlighted by the Daily Mail. “They have the bigger squad, great players, they’re playing well,” observed the German coach, suggesting that Lampard has a much better pool of talent available to him this season.

Regardless of what could simply be mind-games by the Liverpool boss, his team currently remain outright Premier League football betting favourites at 7/4 odds. Likewise, Manchester City are priced at 2/1 odds and are still considered the strongest contenders. Meanwhile, odds for Chelsea at 5/1 reflect their excellent recent form and consistency.

Having qualified for the next phase of the Champions League as Group E leaders, thanks to an emphatic 0-4 away win in Spain against Sevilla, the focus for Chelsea over the next couple of months can turn entirely to their domestic commitments. Buoyed by the confidence that seems to ooze from Lampard’s men of late, it’s hard to doubt their credentials as Premier League contenders.

Nevertheless, there are some who believe the Blues will eventually lose momentum. “Chelsea are probably the third-best team in England,” says Owen Hargreaves in thoughts noted by Metro. “I don’t think they’re good enough or consistent enough to compete,” he suggested, certain the Blues will not finish above Liverpool or Manchester City.

“I don’t think it will even be close,” insisted Hargreaves, who simply feels that Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola have much stronger squads, along with the experience and staying power to challenge for the Premier League title. The former Bayern Munich and Manchester United player did admit to admiring Lampard, and the team he is building. However, he just doesn’t see Chelsea as genuine contenders yet.

While the team’s chances of competing for the Premier League still remain up for debate, Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville has absolutely no doubts about the coaching ability of Lampard praising the tactical understanding of his former England colleague. Neville praised how well Chelsea contained Tottenham Hotspur during their 0-0 draw at the end of November, nullifying the attacking threats posed by Jose Mourinho’s team.

Given that Chelsea and Lampard are generating so many talking points, both the team and the manager are being taken very seriously. Opinions may still remain mixed, although it’s fair to say the Blues will definitely be there, or thereabouts, come the end of the campaign. If the recent form can be maintained, this could yet be a memorable season rewarded with silverware.

Thiago Silva: Chelsea’s Free-Transfer Gem

On August 27th, Chelsea announced the signing of Thiago Silva following the expiration of his Paris Saint-Germain contract. For much of the past decade, the 35-year-old Brazilian has been one of Europe’s most consistent defenders, helping PSG achieve seven league titles in eight years.

While questions will be asked of Silva’s physical capabilities heading to the Premier League in the latter stages of his career, few can argue that acquiring the Brazilian on a one-year deal is sensible business. So, let’s discuss how the former AC Milan defender can make the difference at Chelsea.

An Abundance of Experience

Following Chelsea’s recent transfer ban and fourth-place finish in the 2019-20 season, the Blues owner, Roman Abramovich, has shown his intent to close the gap at the top to Liverpool and Manchester City going forward. Along with Silva, the London club have also signed Ben Chilwell, Hakim Ziyech, Malang Sarr, and Timo Werner.

Unlike many of the Blues’ signings, Silva arrives at Stamford Bridge will little expectations having moved on a free transfer. Crucially, experience could be the key to Frank Lampard resolving his defensive issues. According to the official Premier League website, Chelsea were ranked twelfth for clean sheets, level with Brighton, Crystal Palace, Everton and Southampton.

Throughout his career, Silva has featured in 510 matches, with 204 of those coming in Ligue 1, as per Transfermarkt. Moreover, the 35-year-old has only been sent off three times in his career, so ill-discipline won’t be a concern for Lampard. Perhaps more importantly for Lampard’s youthful squad, the former Brazil captain has played in 80 Champions League matches, finishing as a runner-up once in that time. That experience could be crucial to Chelsea enjoying a fruitful European campaign next season, with the Blues currently priced at 20/1 in the football betting to win the tournament, as of August 28th.

Central to Teammate Development

Upon looking at Chelsea’s options regarding central defenders, it’s no surprise that the Blues struggled to keep clean sheets in 2019-20. Although Kepa Arrizabalaga didn’t always cover himself in glory, Antonio Rudiger was the club’s only centre-back aged 27 or above. Andreas Christensen and Fikayo Tomori are still relatively inexperienced concerning top-level English football, while Kurt Zouma is inconsistent. As such, the leadership of Silva is likely to serve them well.

Stamford Bridge” (CC BY 2.0) by footballvacancies

Furthermore, leadership may have been another factor behind Lampard’s desire to bring in Silva. While Cesar Azpilicueta is a captain who leads by example, the club have lacked an organiser at the heart of defence since John Terry left in 2017. Although the Brazilian is highly unlikely to become the Blues’ next Terry, he will undoubtedly provide Lampard with much-needed leadership at the back. In turn, this could be the difference in closing the gap to City and Liverpool.

PSG’s Loss is Chelsea’s Gain

At the time of writing, it remains to be seen as to whether Silva can adapt to Premier League football. However, on paper, his signing appears to be a stroke of genius from the six-time English league title winners. Silva will bring leadership and organisation to a backline that has too often been lacklustre and easily broken through.

French striker aiming to fire Chelsea into the top four

French striker Olivier Giroud hasn’t always been flavour of the month at Chelsea, but the experienced 33-year-old has shown his loyalty to the London club as he is set to extend his contract until 2021. Granted the stability that comes with a new deal and his short-term future decided, Giroud will be keen to fire his employers to a top-four finish in the English Premier League, securing Champions League football returns to Stamford Bridge next term.

Giroud answered the call

Sections of the media, including many tabloids, ran stories that suggested Giroud would exit Frank Lampard’s side in the winter transfer window, but a cruel twist of fate changed Chelsea’s plans. With Blues’ striker Tammy Abraham picking up an injury that forced him onto the sidelines, leaving the club short of attacking options, Giroud proved his professionalism and eye for goal beyond doubt.

The former Arsenal attacker – who scored 73 goals in 180 appearances across the city – hit the ground running upon his return to first-team action. He scored two goals in four games and turned in several eye-catching performances which helped him win over doubters in the crowd. Having rediscovered the form that has earned him 97 caps for France since 2011, Giroud will hope his patience and goals will be rewarded by Lampard and he does not find himself dumped back on the bench.

Chelsea coach Lampard certainly seemed to be giving it serious thought during a recent press chat. The former England and Chelsea midfielder credited Giroud’s character despite interest from Inter Milan late last year. The gaffer confessed his respect and admiration for the striker. That will be put to the test when Frank decides his next Chelsea starting XI line up.

Blues hoping to hold off Man Utd

Chelsea sit fourth in the Premier League after 29 games with a record reading 14 wins and six draws against nine defeats. They have scored 51 goals and conceded 39. The blues are five points behind Leicester City in third, having won two and drawn one of their last three. Man Utd in fifth are just three points behind, however, and that is a major concern. Prior to the break, Chelsea were ahead of the Red Devils in the football betting in the Premier League top four outright market, but it looks like the race for the Champions League places will go down to the wire.

Since suffering a hurtful 2-0 home defeat to rivals Man United, the lions of Chelsea have roared back. They upset the odds to defeat Tottenham and former manager Jose Mourinho less than a week later, edging a fiery London derby 2-1. Giroud broke the deadlock inside 15 minutes that day before Marcos Alonso doubled his side’s lead just after the break.

In their most recent league outing, Chelsea demolished Everton in a convincing 4-0 win to quickly erase memories of the disappointing 2-2 draw with Bournemouth. If they can continue where they left off prior to the break then they stand a good chance of maintaining their Champions League status. Giroud is likely to play a key role in this, although Abraham will challenge him all the way as he looks to win back his starting berth.

Which Chelsea Players Are Out of Contract This Summer?

Big screen inside Stamford Bridge” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Jason Bagley

Out-of-contract players at top clubs like Chelsea may be busy this summer with the Euro 2020 finals taking place. It could even be a shop window for those whose deals at Stamford Bridge are set to expire during the tournament.

Which Blues players have their contracts coming to an end? Let’s take a look.

Marco van Ginkel

Seven years during which time Netherlands midfielder Marco van Ginkel has spent more time injured and away from Chelsea on loan than in the first team are due to end this coming summer. He has played just four times for the Blues since signing in 2013.

Although loan spells with AC Milan and Stoke City weren’t particularly fruitful, Van Ginkel was prolific in a stint with PSV Eindhoven in his homeland last two and a half seasons. The Dutchman is still just 27 and there is time for him to rebuild his club career somewhere else.

Willian

Brazil winger Willian has been a fine servant and fan favourite at Chelsea following his £30,000,000 transfer from boom and bust Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala in 2013. With over 200 Premier League games and two titles under his belt, his time in West London has been hugely successful.

Besides those league crowns, Willian has EFL Cup and FA Cup winners’ medals and the 2019 Europa League. He has played for five different Blues bosses – Jose Mourinho, Guus Hiddink, Antonio Conte, Maurizio Sarri and former teammate Frank Lampard.

Now 31, Willian is unlikely to be offered a new long-term deal at Chelsea. The club’s policy under Roman Abramovich has been to only put one-year contract offers on the table for players over the age of 30.

If he does leave the Bridge, then Willian will not be short of suitors. He remains in favour under Lampard, however, and will look to help the Blues to a top four finish which they are 4/9 to get, according to the latest Premier League betting at bet365.

Pedro

Fellow winger Pedro isn’t always first-choice these days. The World Cup and European Championship winning Spaniard matched his best-ever scoring season last term with 13 goals, but Lampard isn’t giving him much game time now.

Youngsters such as Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic are ahead of Pedro, who signed for Chelsea from Barcelona in 2015, in the pecking order now. Although a senior player for the Blues, he hasn’t turned out for Spain since 2017 – with another generation now preferred at international level.

Olivier Giroud

France striker Olivier Giroud has also fallen out of favour under Lampard despite firing Chelsea to Europa League glory last season. The current Blues boss prefers Tammy Abraham as his centre forward.

Giroud offers a different kind of threat than those younger legs, but his physical presence is not really in keeping with Lampard’s style of play. He remains a key player for his country, however, and he may need to leave the Bridge even before his contract expires during the winter window to get first-team football.