Mason Mount & Frank Lampard 0394
AFP - DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS

Chelsea were forced to withdraw Mason Mount just 15 minutes into their Champions League campaign against Valencia, after a heavy tackle from Francis Coquelin ended his night.

The midfielder was treated on the field and tried to continue, before eventually giving up and allowing himself to be replaced in those early moments of his European career. It’s still unclear how severe the problem is, but if it was bad enough to force him off, we suspect it will be at least bad enough to rule him out from this weekend’s game against Liverpool.

If that is the case, there are a number of options on the table for Frank Lampard. Mount has been an integral part of his team’s success, both in his creativity and goalscoring; but also through his willingness to press and defend.

After 5 Premier League games, he has 3 goals, and high numbers in the key attacking stats – dribbles and key passes. But don’t miss the fact that he’s got 2.2 tackles a game too, comparable with any of the divisions top defensive minded midfielders.

His flexibility his also been vital to Lampard’s success. After starting the season as an attacking midfielder in a 433, he’s also played as a winger, as as a kind of inside forward in the 343 as we saw against Wolves at the weekend, and at Stamford Bridge tonight for the first few minutes.

Those qualities will all be missed, and the manager will first have to decide whether to stick with this wing back based system. It has suited Marcos Alonso and the centre-backs, but it also takes an attacking player off the field. The fact that Mount is now out means that the former Derby boss is likely to stick with this system.

With Tammy Abraham leading the line, it will be between Willian, Pedro and Christian Pulisic to flank him, giving a more natural balance to the team. Mateo Kovacic, anchoring the midfield with Jorginho, might be asked to step forward more often into the spaces that Mount has occupied, to better link the team together.

On the other hand, the return of N’Golo Kane and Antonio Rudiger could change everything. A 433, with Kante, Jorginho and Kovacic in the middle, would be very solid, if a little lacking in goals.

Whatever move our manager makes, it will be only be able to partially mitigate the loss of a player who had starred for us this season. Let’s pray he’s fit for this weekend. He’s the beating heat of this team in midfield, and we looked lifeless and lacking ideas once he was withdrawn against Valencia.

God knows what Liverpool will do to us.

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