Premier League 2019-20: 3 players who have excelled for Chelsea this season
When Maurizio Sarri took over the Chelsea job after the departure of Antonio Conte in 2018, there was widespread excitement around West London. With the imminent arrival of 'Sarriball', it seemed as though Chelsea would turn a corner and go on to become a dominant force in English football once again. Blues' fans eagerly looked forward to Sarri bringing the eye-catching style of play he had showcased at Napoli to Stamford Bridge. They were even more sold once Sarri brought in the likes of Jorginho, Kepa Arrizabalaga and Mateo Kovacic to strengthen the squad.
However, the season did not go as planned and despite Chelsea winning the UEFA Europa League, Sarri departed as the calls for his head among fans grew louder and louder. They complained that his predictable style of play, uninspiring substitutions and blind faith in certain players (read Jorginho) was just not working and that the club needed a change.
The situation only got worse in the summer of 2019, as, just a week before Sarri left, Eden Hazard confirmed his move to Real Madrid, resulting in Chelsea losing one of their best player of this decade. Furthermore, the transfer ban imposed on the club in February meant that they would not be able to sign an immediate replacement.
Things looked bleak heading into the current season under new manager and club legend Frank Lampard with a relatively young and inexperienced squad at his disposal. A 4-0 opening day thrashing at the hands of Manchester United added to his woes. However, Chelsea have surprised one and all with their excellent performances so far and the integration of various youth players into the first team setup.
Indeed, for many pundits, who said that a top-half finish would be a job well done, Chelsea's form has come as a slap in the face. The West London side now faces a very real and exciting possibility of finishing as high as third in the league, which would truly be a fantastic achievement.
So, let us have a look at three players who have been crucial to Chelsea's superb form thus far this season.
#3: Mason Mount
Mason Mount may have been born in Portsmouth but there can be no doubt that he is a Chelsea lad, through and through. Mount joined the Blues' academy in 2005, at the age of 6, and remained there until 2017, when he got his first taste of senior football on loan at Vitesse Arnhem, in the Netherlands. Mount impressed and even won the club's player of the year award. The next season, he got the opportunity to work with Frank Lampard, at Derby County. Another loan spell, this time in the English Championship where he gave a good account of himself as the rams almost secured promotion to the Premier League.
Mount was handed his Chelsea debut by his idol on the opening day of this season, when Chelsea visited Old Trafford in the Premier League. It was a game which did not end well for the Blues but by the same token they were unlucky to lose. Since then, however, Mount has been absolutely sensational.
An attacking midfielder who often plays in the number 10 role in a 4-2-3-1 system, or as a creative outlet in the middle of the park in a 4-3-3, Mount has provided the spark which Chelsea have needed this season. He has pulled his fair share of weight defensively too, leading Lampard's press efficiently and tracking back to help his team win the ball back.
He has scored four goals and provided one assist in 10 matches thus far, averaging 2.4 shots a game and making 1.9 ball recoveries per game in the process. He also makes 33.2 passes per game at an 82.2% completion rate.
Mount is already a key player in this Chelsea team and can only get better, which is a frightening prospect for opposition teams and a delight for the Blues.