New Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard has hinted that he might think about using two of Chelsea’s top pre-season performers so far, in the same starting line-up.
Ross Barkley and Mason Mount have both had an impressive pre-season so far but both players play in the same position the central attacking midfield role where Lampard has used the 4-2-3-1 most so far in pre-season.
This means that the Chelsea legend may have to sacrifice one of his best performers so that he can stick with his preferred formation that has seen three out of five victories so far.
Lampard has a headache, but it’s the only type of pain he would want as he has two hungry English stars who want to impress the current Chelsea all-time leading goal scorer.
With the Premier League fast approaching for Chelsea where they begin their campaign away at Manchester United on August 11, Lampard will be hoping he knows his best XI and his first choice number 10.
On loan under Lampard during his one year spell at Derby County, Mount shone under his manager in a 4-1-4-1 formation. He was used as one of the central midfielders where he was able to control the game and showed his understanding of his manager’s system and shape was outstanding as he always looked comfortable on the ball in tight situations.
So far in the pre-season matches has shown that Lampard wants the high-intensity work rate that he quickly addressed in his Derby side by pressing his opponents from the front. The England star was a key part of Derby’s attacks where he would quickly win the ball back and begin an attack with a forward pass. This is shown when Mount has played where he has pressed the opponent’s defence which resulted in turning over play or an attack from his side.
Mount finished the season as the top central midfielder under the age of 21 in the championship, scoring an impressive 9 goals. He also creates a lot for his team with 1.9 key passes created for his teammates last season.
Comparing Barkley to Mount is that Barkley has had a full season and a half at Chelsea. Barkley signed from Everton in the January transfer window in 2018 for £15million. Most would say in today’s transfer market that this deal was an absolute steal for an experienced premier league player with more than 20 caps to his name.
However, Barkley hasn’t gone on to show why Chelsea signed him nearly two years ago as in some matches he looked short of confidence.
Since the appointment of Lampard and using Barkley in his preferred position in a number 10 role just behind the striker. The England international has thrived in pre-season and has given the Chelsea head coach a selection dilemma.
His stats from last season were below par after failing to cement his starting place under Maurizio Sarri. The Italian manager changed Barkley and Matteo Kovavic in the number eight position more times than any other player.
But Barkley has stepped up in pre-season scoring two goals out of four matches for Chelsea and looks like he is full of confidence again. He may not provide Lampard will the high press that Mount offers, but Barkley’s form in pre-season is something that Lampard is hoping to see from him this season.
Who does Frank Lampard choose or does he use both?
Both players warrant a place in Lampard’s starting line-up as both have impressed so far in the pre-season games. With two games left until the premier league returns, it is still up in the air who Lampard will choose for that number 10 role.
For me, it is absolutely essential that he gets Mount and Barkley in the same starting line-up for Manchester United.
Not just because they have been our best performers in pre-season, they’re also the two players with the most attacking threat currently in our squad.
We have to use them both. They’re full of confidence, desire, energy, and directness. They want to make something happen every time they get the ball, and both are a real attacking threat.
Willian has missed the majority of pre-season and might not be fit for the trip to Old Trafford. Pedro is reliable and a threat, but for me isn’t a starter. Christian Pulisic is finding his feet and will need time to show his attacking talent.
But until Callum Hudson-Odoi is back, we just have to use both Barkley and Mount in the same starting line-up.
So how does Lampard use both?
He has two options, stick with the 4-2-3-1 and use Mount wide on the left which Lampard has briefly looked at. Or, play the 4-4-2 diamond that he has also used a number of times so far in pre-season.
Personally, I think both elements will work, but the first option with Mount slightly wider cutting in on his dangerous right foot is my preference.
Not only do I think Mount can do well there, having the deep double pivot has actually been looking really good with Jorginho and Kovacic. This suits Kovacic a lot better than asking him to be more advanced.
Despite having a transfer ban, he finds himself with an array of in-form midfielders at his disposal. That’s not even including arguably the club’s best midfielder, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who is out with a long term injury and recently secured his long-term future at the club by signing a new five-year deal.