When Chelsea fans saw Mason Mount start over Callum Hudson-Odoi on the wing for last night’s game against West Brom, they began to ask what it would take for their talented wide man to get his first start of the season.
Mount is no natural winger himself, but has proved that he can play there if needed.
Everybody has been questioning Frank Lampard’s decision making to play Mount out wide when fans have been begging for him to play in their dream scenario - as an attacking eight alongside Kai Havertz, but Lampard has been hesitant to try that straight away.
Havertz himself has been playing on the right but the fans aren’t as concerned in that regard as they are with Mount. Havertz has shown at Bayer Leverkusen that he can play almost anywhere on the front line when required and this versatility is perfect when there is so much competition in Chelsea’s attacking department.
A combination of Havertz and Mount on the flanks has been a result of the pre-season injuries to both Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic and despite the two former names deputising for the latters, it is clear that playing two central players out wide is affecting the potential of Chelsea’s wing play.
The opportunity IS there
Surely with the injuries to Ziyech and Pulisic, it would have made sense for Lampard to deploy Hudson-Odoi alongside one of either Mount or Havertz as opposed to both Mount and Havertz to allow for at least some natural wing play.
Unfortunately, CHO was placed on the bench for the first two games of the season against Brighton and Liverpool, only coming off the bench against the Seagulls, but was given a much expected start against Barnsley in the League Cup following the Liverpool defeat. Against Barnsley, Hudson-Odoi looked bright in parts, taking people on and being aggressive but it could have been a lot better.
Along came the West Brom game and the first half of that game was certainly one to forget. Chelsea found themselves 3-0 down at halftime and Lampard needed to respond. He sacrificed Mateo Kovacic and Marcos Alonso - the latter seriously at fault for two of West Brom’s goals in the first half - and brought on Cesar Azpilicueta and Hudson-Odoi.
With the substitutions came a breath of fresh air, as Chelsea began to express themselves more and put West Brom under much more pressure than in the first half. The introduction of Hudson-Odoi made a huge difference as the game became much more stretched with a natural winger on the pitch and his link up play with the likes of Timo Werner and Havertz was at times superb.
CHO’s one-two with Havertz which allowed him to score Chelsea’s second goal was excellent - a fine example of the skill and creativity that wingers offer when combining with the central players.
In terms of 'man of the second half' for Chelsea, Mason Mount took most of, if not all the fans’ votes and I wouldn’t be opposed to saying Hudson-Odoi was a close second to Mount. His introduction off of the bench arguably changed the entire dynamic of the game and it was refreshing to see a winger with his energy driving at defenders and causing problems for the opposition.
His goal was a fantastic way to show what he is capable of in front of goal when the pressure is on and Lampard must now be looking at that performance from him thinking that the time is now for him to stake a claim as a first team regular. If Lampard can put some faith in Hudson-Odoi, the winger's confidence will skyrocket and if he can push on from his classy second half audition against West Brom, Chelsea will have a serious player on their hands in no time at all.