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Comment: Chelsea's Loss to Manchester City Highlighted Mason Mount's Importance to Thomas Tuchel's System

A huge miss.
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Chelsea were clearly missing something as they fell to defeat against Manchester City on Saturday, losing out on the midfield battle.

Despite switching to a 3-5-2 formation to counter City's midfield, Chelsea registered just 41% possession, completing just 413 passes compared to the visitor's 598, and failed to have a single shot on target against the reigning Champions.

The performance was uncharacteristic of Tuchel's side, who have played brilliantly since the appointment of the German - so we ask, what was missing? Or more importantly, who was missing?

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Mason Tony Mount. 

The midfielder was ruled out of the match, having picked up a slight injury against Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup third round victory. 

Tuchel revealed that despite picking up an injury, Mount did not let the manager know until after the game and even stepped up to take, and score, a penalty in the shootout.

This is just one of the characteristics that the Chelsea side were missing against Manchester City, the pure grit and determination to leave it all on the field when stepping onto the pitch. The academy prospect knows what it means to be Chelsea, and with Reece James' injury forcing an early substitution, the Blues were without any of the Cobham boys during the match.

It would be unfair to say that the other players at the club don't get what it means to be Chelsea, as they clearly do, but Mount offers so much more to the side and Thomas Tuchel's system than just 'passion'.


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Despite switching to having three central midfielders, a system that worked away at Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea struggled for possession in the first half and it was clear to see what was missing.

Tuchel relies heavily on a counter-pressing game and needs the players to do so. Chelsea struggled in Tuchel's first game in charge against Wolverhampton Wanderers, which saw Mount benched. Since then the midfielder has proven his worth to the German boss and become a vital key in the Chelsea cog.

Mount does the dirty work when playing in the front three to allow the other players to become free. 

With Mount out of the side and Timo Werner operating in a strike partnership with Romelu Lukaku, there was nobody keen to press from the front. 

Tuchel declared that his side 'lacked energy' against the Citizens, a trait that Mount has in abundance.

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Manchester City were given ample time on the ball, controlling the game and putting pressure on Chelsea whilst Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic and N'Golo Kante struggled to launch attacks.

Mount is used as the bridge between the midfield and attack for Chelsea, and with him taken out of the side, the team struggled in transition. Werner broke on several occasions and looked up to find the only player in support of him was a man-marked Lukaku. This often led to Tuchel's losing the ball as Werner had no support, much to Tuchel's frustration.

Tuchel argued that the change in system was not the reason for the loss as he said: "We can debate this endlessly and never have the answers.

"We decided for 3-5-2 but I don't think it is a matter of structure."

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Several argued that the forced change that saw Mount miss out would be positive for Chelsea, due to the 22-year-old's poor goal contribution rate this season.

However, the match against Pep Guardiola's side showed just how much Tuchel's team miss Mount's prescience as the bridge between Kante, Jorginho or Kovacic and the attacking players, as well as badly missing out on his ability to press the opposition for 90 minutes and not grant them with so much time on the ball.

Tuchel declared that his side 'lacked energy' against the Citizens, a trait that Mount has in abundance.

While it will never be known as to whether Chelsea would have got a point or win against City with Mount, the Blues will be hoping to have their midfielder back sooner rather than later as they look to mount a Premier League title challenge.


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