A contribution post by Dan Parr https://twitter.com/dan_parr1
Mason Mount and Ross Barkley: two players that are giving Frank Lampard a selection headache ahead of our visit to Old Trafford. For me, if the decision comes down to between the two, Lampard has to pick Mount.
Both players clearly have a lot of potential in our new-look side: Barkley has been fantastic in pre-season games against RB Salzburg and Reading in particular, picking up 4 goals and 3 assists overall, and Mount has been consistent throughout, registering three goals. This makes me think that either would work for us.
However, if Lampard goes with the 4-2-3-1 formation in Manchester, Mason Mount has to be the man to start the game.
Mount is the complete modern-day midfielder – his passing range, combined with his movement and finishing ability makes him the perfect all-rounder; his incredible work-rate also makes him perfect for the pressing style that Chelsea are trying to adopt.
Don’t get me wrong, Barkley will still have a major role to play this season; the 25-year-old has shown signs of the confident player we last saw at Everton, with an end-product coming back into his game. This is something we should all be excited about, but there are areas of Mount’s game that allow him to eclipse Barkley.
Mount has the ability to work in tight spaces that only comes to a player naturally: we saw last season that Barkley struggles in a deeper role, especially when room isn’t given to him. If Barkley hasn’t got space, he is a very limited player; Mount doesn’t face such problems.
If there comes a game where there is space for the number 10, then Barkley may be the better option. However, more often than not in the Premier League, there is never a lot of this room; this is why Mount has to get the nod against United.
With Mount there, we would be able to pass through United’s defensive lines; I don’t think Barkley has the same capabilities: while he has been brilliant in pre-season, there have been moments during this summer and last season where he has struggled to find the killer pass in the final third. In contrast, it was clear that Mount could make these passes; for example, I remember him picking out Tammy Abraham against Monchengladbach.
On top of this, at the age of 20, Mount has five years on Barkley, and therefore more time to develop into a better player. Mount reminds me a lot of Kevin de Bruyne, and I have no doubts that he could reach that level – I don’t believe Barkley has quite the same potential.
Not only does Mount improve our attacking chances more than Barkley, but he also enhances our defensive press with his energy and defensive awareness; the versatility that our academy graduate brings is also a major plus, meaning that he could be deployed either in a wider or deeper role in the team.
The mixture of the player’s energy, technical ability and versatility makes Mount the perfect midfielder for Lampard’s team – while Barkley will be useful this season, this has to put Mount in the starting XI on Sunday.