At first glance, it seems ironic to suggest an injury to one of Chelsea’s most influential players so far in Mason Mount might be any sort of positive. Of course, it’s not. But if it would mean more game time for another highly-rated youngster in Christian Pulisic, then why not?
Mount suffered an ankle injury after an unnecessary tackle from former Arsenal man Francis Coquelin, forcing him to come off after just 15 minutes on his Champions League debut.
That wasn’t the only negative as Chelsea went on to lose the game, aided by Ross Barkley’s “selfless” penalty incident. And thinking of getting back to winning ways, the Blues face Liverpool next in the Premier League, who will be eager to win after suffering a 2-0 defeat as well to Napoli in their Champions League encounter.
First things first, Mason Mount faces a race against time to be fit for the Liverpool clash on Saturday.
The 20-year-old, who has enjoyed a stunning start to the season with three goals in five games (via Whoscored), tried to continue but was forced to limp off making him a serious doubt for Sunday’s clash with Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.
As per football.london, Lampard was quoted as saying
“He has got an ankle injury, we don’t know how bad it is, we are going to have to assess it in the next 24-48 hours to see the scale of the injury. To see how it is,” he said
“It’s too soon to say, obviously it was a shame because he was playing so well and started well and we had to make the change early.”
But an update via the same source has quelled any long term injury fears. It’s reported that Mason Mount walked through the mixed zone at Stamford Bridge after the game with a mild limp and there were no crutches, protective boot or strapping in sight. Good news to say the least.
It remains to be seen if Mount does get fit in time for the Liverpool game but if he doesn’t, it’s not all that bad. Which takes us to the first thought. Christian Pulisic can easily fill the void Mount would leave, should he go on to miss the Liverpool game or even further. No one likes to see anyone injured but sometimes it’s the only route some players have to get game time.
How an injury to Mason Mount could benefit Christian Pulisic
After sitting out Chelsea’s 5-2 win over Wolves on Saturday, Christian Pulisic might have expected to be called upon for Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Valencia. Instead, the £58m summer signing from Borussia Dortmund spent his final night before turning 21 sat warming the Stamford Bridge bench in a 1-0 defeat. As at the time of writing, Pulisic’s birthday is today and it won’t be out of place to send him some wishes in that regard.
Back to the context. For a player who was widely expected to fill the Hazard void, Pulisic hasn’t lived up to the hype so far. He hasn’t even had enough time to prove himself in the first place.
Given Chelsea’s much-discussed transfer ban, it would have been natural for the only expensive new addition to the squad to be at the forefront of the conversation during the early part of the season. However, Pulisic has made a low-key start to life at the club since being omitted from the starting line-up for the 4-0 opening-day defeat at Manchester United. The emergence of Mason Mount coupled with Tammy Abraham’s revelation have not helped either as the pair have dominated the mainstay of affairs in the Chelsea fan base of recent.
Since coming on in the defeat to Manchester United, the American did go on to start Chelsea’s next four games (including the Super Cup). He’s had two assists so far in all competitions (via Transfermarkt) but that’s just about it. He’s shown glimpses of brilliance but the final edge has been lacking. And now, the absence of Mason Mount could be the room for Pulisic open his account and fully show what he’s made of.
After the Champions League defeat, Lampard claimed he opted for Willian and Pedro over the 21-year-old for the sole reason of experience but a friendly reminder that Pulisic already has 24 appearances in the Champions League (via Whoscored) since making his debut with Dortmund as an 18-year-old in the 2016/17 season.
The transfer ban imposed on Chelsea makes it an ideal time for Lampard to throw in his youngsters and many have benefited including Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori and a certain Billy Gilmour who is on course for more action in due time. The Blues do need experience in the squad but so far the “experienced” ones have not been leading by expectations. The likes of Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso to mention a few have not impressed and there are even rumours of the former being replaced by Reece James (when he gets fit) who is only just 19 years of age. If these crop of players are being fully trusted, why not Christian Pulisic?
When talks of a teenager replacing 30-year-old captain surfaces, it shows that Chelsea’s reliance on youth will be heavily stretched this season and if there’s a 21-year-old who happens to be a £58m rated player in the ranks, he should be getting the nod as much as possible.
Afterall, Pulisic, now 21, had already made a good number of appearances in both the Champions League and the Europa League at the age of 19 (via Marca) – easily a better rap sheet than the majority of Chelsea’s youngsters can boast at the moment.
It’s a given that if Chelsea do get their transfer ban reviewed with a positive result come January, the floodgates will be open and Lampard will probably get as many reinforcements as he can. Meaning the chances afforded to some of these youngsters might greatly reduce or even evaporate completely in the aftermath of such events.
And if Pulisic has not made his mark on the team by then, what happens to his chances in the squad ultimately?
The Chelsea fan base will be hoping the knock to Mason Mount is nothing concrete but if otherwise, now is the time for Pulisic to fully step into the fray.
Mount has hit top gear already and it won’t hurt to have yet another youngster dictating the midfield play as well. Thoughts of an in-form pair of Mount and Pulisic are indeed very savoury.
The narrative is simple. An injury to Mason Mount might not be good news but it does have potential positive repercussions in wait. One that would see Christian Pulisic benefit largely.