Mason Mount: How did Chelsea wonderkid fare against Barcelona in the Rakuten Cup?

Chelsea beat Barcelona 2-1 on Tuesday morning to continue their first pre-season under Frank Lampard.

The Blues boss would have been undoubtedly delighted to see his team contain new signing Antoine Griezmann, while also looking dangerous themselves.

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The Chelsea players (including Mount) celebrate victory over Barcelona
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Tammy Abraham opened the scoring in the first half, pouncing on a mistake by Sergio Busquets, to give the Premier League side a half time lead.

Ross Barkley, who was one of several changes made by Frank Lampard throughout the match, sealed the victory with a fine curled finish in the closing stages of the match.

Ivan Rakitic’s stoppage time wonderstrike provided Barcelona with a reason to celebrate but ultimately it was too little, too late for the LaLiga champions.

Below, talkSPORT.com has compiled a scout report on 20-year-old midfielder Mason Mount as he looked to continue his fine pre-season form for the Blues.

Formation

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Chelsea started off in a 4-3-2-1 formation, with Mount in the No.10 role
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Mount started the game in a central attacking midfield role, just behind fellow starlet Tammy Abraham up front.

Behind him, Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho acted as the central pivots in midfield – with the Italy international massively benefiting from having a midfielder alongside him capable of carrying the ball out of tight situations.

Christian Pulisic and Pedro started on the flanks, with both men looking to cut inside at every opportunity, often swapping flanks.

Positioning

Mount started the game in a central attacking midfield role, tending to drift inside winger positions to receive the ball and draw the opposition midfielders out of place.

He linked particularly well with Pulisic in the first half, with his mobility and ability to interchange causing the Barca defence a headache. In particular, his movement created space for Emerson Palmieri to drive forward in the first half and force Samuel Umtiti into a very uncomfortable clearance.

What will have impressed Frank Lampard the most was the youngster’s work without the ball. Starting against Busquets, Mount was tasked with stopping the Spain international from dictating the game.

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Mount and Busquests (circled) were never more than ten yards apart when Barca were in possession

The diligence and discipline displayed by the England Under-21 international will have delighted Lampard, who will have entrusted Mount with the job of keeping Barca’s most important player quiet before the game.

While possession may have been hard to come by, the 20-year-old made sure to stop his opposite number from having a good game, something which justifies the faith shown in him by his manager.

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Busquets received similarly close attention from Lampard during his playing career
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Passing

Mount’s decision and first touch let him down a couple of times and are two key areas he must improve on. Too often, he tried to receive the ball with his back to goal, only to see the ball ricochet away after a heavy touch.

Last season, he averaged 2.1 poor touches per game in the Championship. In the Premier League, conceding possession so cheaply will be punished.

Similarly, Mount’s decision making when presented with an opportunity to shoot suggests he has more to learn before he is ready to start for the Blues.

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Mason Mount showed glimpses of promise for Chelsea fans
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Set-Pieces

As if to further emphasise the trust Lampard has in the youngster, who has been at Stamford Bridge since he was six, Mount was tasked with taking set-pieces for the Blues at the Saitama Stadium.

As mentioned previously, Chelsea did not have as much possession as they would have hoped so chances were few and far between. But Mount always looked to deliver flat and menacing crosses in towards the near post for David Luiz to flick on.

Shooting

As mentioned previously, Mount needs to work on his decision making, although he should not be deterred from having a go when the right opportunity presents itself.

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Mason Mount got goals from midfield for Derby and Vitesse in the Netherlands
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He scored 11 goals in all competitions for the Rams last season and his confidence in his ability was clear for all to see.

In one particular incident, he showed incredible athleticism to beat Gerard Pique and pluck a ball out of the air on his chest. After bringing it down, he had several options, but chose to take a 30-yard shot on with his weaker left foot. A pass would have been the better option.

But his desire to get into the box and get beyond Abraham was refreshing to see, there is perhaps no better individual at breaking into the box to teach the youngster than Lampard himself.

Match Rating – 6.5/10

Admittedly it is always hard for attacking midfielders to shine when facing Barcelona, but Mount showed enough discipline and diligence to suggest he can play a vital role for Chelsea this season.

There are plenty of things for him to work on, but there are surely no better teachers than his idol in the Stamford Bridge hot-seat.

Do not be surprised if Lampard deploys him from a deeper position as well this season, Mount’s attacking runs from deep would be far more difficult to stop and it would benefit the 20-year-old to see more of the ball.

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