EPL

Marvellous Maddison and Mount highlight England's embarrassment of riches

By Sports Desk August 18, 2019

Amid a chaotic blend of defensive haplessness and rip-roaring counter-attacks, there was one thing discernible in Chelsea's 1-1 draw with Leicester City on Sunday – James Maddison and Mason Mount highlighted England have an embarrassment of riches in midfield.

While it was another underwhelming result for Chelsea, following the crushing 4-0 defeat by Manchester United last time out, again there were some positives.

Mount's display was arguably chief among them, as the young midfielder exhibited his wide-ranging abilities.

The standout performer was Maddison, however, as the playmaker carved through Chelsea almost singlehandedly.

Neither has played for England yet, but on Sunday's evidence they won't be waiting much longer for their first caps.

 

MAJESTIC MADDISON BACKS UP HIS SWAGGER

Maddison, 22, scored seven goals and set up another seven last term, impressing many with his creative talents.

Given his form, it was somewhat surprising how few bigger clubs were linked with him during the transfer window – but their loss is Leicester's gain.

The former Norwich City talent was the best player on the pitch at Stamford Bridge and by some distance, as he created three chances and set up Wilfred Ndidi's equaliser.

His ability on the ball had Chelsea's defence and midfield all over the place, as Maddison drove at them relentlessly.

One particularly highlight saw him slalom past several opponents in the penalty area, but he was unable to apply the finish, shooting over.

Leicester received big money for Harry Maguire in pre-season – before long it'll be Maddison attracting such interest, with already overdue England honours surely just around the corner.

Some have criticised Maddison for his bravado and perceived flashy nature, but at Stamford Bridge he certainly walked the walk.

 

MOUNT MAKES HIS MARK

Although he may not have been quite as eye-catching as Maddison, Mount was similarly effective but for different reasons.

When scoring the opening goal, he showed precisely what he's about – harrying Ndidi, robbing him of the ball and even applying a fine finish despite being off balance.

The well-rounded midfielder was Chelsea's biggest threat in the final third, having a total of five shots and getting three of them on target, also creating one other opportunity.

Off the ball, he gained possession five times, made two interceptions and three tackles, while he also found a team-mate with 90 per cent of his passes in the opposition's half.

What made his performance even more impressive was the backdrop of criticism from Jose Mourinho last week – the former Chelsea boss suggesting Frank Lampard shouldn't have started Mount over more experienced options at Old Trafford.

He kept his place and showed why.

Related items

  • Umtiti and Junior fit to return for Barcelona at Eibar Umtiti and Junior fit to return for Barcelona at Eibar

    Samuel Umtiti and Junior Firpo have been passed fit to play a part in Barcelona's LaLiga clash with Eibar on Saturday.

    Centre-back Umtiti is yet to feature this season and has been out for the past six weeks with a foot injury.

    Meanwhile, versatile left-back Junior last featured in the 2-0 win over Getafe on September 28, scoring his first Barca goal, before a hamstring complaint.

    Both players were named in Thursday's travelling squad and then took part in Friday's training session ahead of the early kick-off on Saturday.

    The LaLiga champions, who are second in the table after three straight wins, confirmed the duo had been cleared to play.

  • Guardiola concerned over player welfare following festive fixture changes Guardiola concerned over player welfare following festive fixture changes

    Pep Guardiola admitted "the broadcasters are the bosses" in response to Manchester City's rearranged festive fixture list - but again called for players to receive greater protection amid punishing schedules.

    City were initially set to travel to Wolves on Boxing Day but that game has been pushed back by 24 hours for live coverage, with the Sheffield United home game moved to December 29.

    Still, they have less than 48 hours of rest between those two fixtures - with the reigning Premier League champions then starting 2020 by hosting Everton on January 1.

    While a fan of playing during the Christmas period, a custom that he has become used to since moving to England, Guardiola fears the desire to squeeze in so many matches is a major concern.

    He used the example of Neymar - who suffered a hamstring injury while playing for Brazil in a friendly against Nigeria last week, ruling him out for up to four weeks - as an example of the risks of playing too often.

    Asked for his thoughts about City's fixture changes announced this week, Guardiola told the media: "It is what it is. Since I came here, every season it happened the same.

    "The broadcasters are the bosses in this situation. I love to play Boxing Day and winter time when everybody stops, when families and kids go the stadiums and enjoy the games. I like it.

    "The problem is the same. So now Neymar is injured again, but they travel for friendly games in Nigeria or Abu Dhabi, or wherever far away, then come back.

    "We don't protect the players – the system doesn't protect them. It's too much. Honestly, it's too much."

    Guardiola was speaking ahead of Saturday's trip to Crystal Palace - a game that could see both Kevin De Bruyne and John Stones return from injury.

    While stopping short of confirming the duo will be available to feature at Selhurst Park, the City boss was upbeat over their outlook.

    "Some of them are better. Kevin is back and John trained in the last two days and is good," he said. "[Benjamin] Mendy as well, maybe later, but as well."

    Sergio Aguero was involved in a minor car crash in midweek, but Guardiola had positive news on the striker's status: "He is fine. The car is not fine."

  • No laughing matter for Lampard as Kante set to miss Newcastle clash No laughing matter for Lampard as Kante set to miss Newcastle clash

    N'Golo Kante will miss Chelsea's Premier League clash with Newcastle United, with Frank Lampard expressing frustration he did not come back from international duty with France earlier.

    Kante sustained a groin injury in the warm-up for France's Euro 2020 qualifying clash with Iceland and did not return to Chelsea until after Les Bleus' game with Turkey on Monday.

    France coach Didier Deschamps had joked ahead of the qualifiers that Lampard could consider playing striker Olivier Giroud more often, having revealed the Chelsea boss had spoken to him about not selecting Kante.

    However, while Lampard was able to see the funny side of that comment, he was far from amused with the way the world champions handled the situation around Kante's injury.

    "Before the international break, Didier Deschamps mentioned in jest a little bit about Giroud and that was light-hearted and I get it. We all have our selection problems, he had his in the two games," Lampard told a news conference.

    "But the Kante one was not a laughing matter because we communicated before the last international break, because he was injured he couldn't go.

    "Let's think of what benefits [there are] to play, he didn't go, we both agreed on that. That's how things should work.

    "After the first game when he pulled out, he then had a fitness test the day before the second game, it was clear he couldn't play. He then sat on the bench the evening of the game, so that's not communication.

    "I understand that when a player is on international duty that they are their players, but it was clear that he wasn't fit."

    While Kante will be reduced to the role of spectator for the visit of the Magpies, Lampard may be able to call on Mateo Kovacic in the midfield, though Andreas Christensen (hamstring) and Antonio Rudiger (groin) are out.

    "Kovacic had a knock on his thigh but has trained the last couple of days so he's in contention," said Lampard.

    "Andreas Christensen has got a hamstring injury which will see him out for the next two weeks.

    "Rudiger is training outside with the physios, which is a progression for him. He had a tough injury with some stop-start [features], which has been unfortunate for everybody.

    "But he's outside, it's positive - a bit of work to be done for him for match fitness but it's really positive for us that he's outside."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.