Five things learned as Mount double puts Gerrard on brink of sack

Aston Villa V Chelsea In Pictures

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

Mason Mount scored his first goals of the season as Chelsea beat Aston Villa 2-0 at Villa Park to leave Steven Gerrard on the brink of losing his job. The Blues midfielder scored in either half to hand Graham Potter his fifth straight win and continue his unbeaten record, but things look more bleak for Gerrard after another game without a win.

Mount opened the scoring following a horrendous error from Tyrone Mings that gifted the midfielder the chance to strike home after just six minutes. Villa responded well as Leon Bailey hit the top of the upright with a header before a string of saves from Kepa Arrizabalaga kept Chelsea’s lead in tact. Raheem Sterling then went close as he too hit the crossbar before half time.

But despite struggling to assert their dominance on the game, Mount added his second with a free-kick that Emiliano Martinez should have kept out to dash Villa’s hopes of an equaliser and condemn the hosts to a seventh defeat in 10 games this season.

Express Sport looks five things learned from the game at Villa Park.

Marvellous Mount back on song

“It’s one of those finishes that Mason Mount makes look incredibly easy,” Alan Smith remarked as Mount handed Chelsea an early lead. It might have been a gift, but it was anything but easy for a player who had gone nine games this season without a goal.

Tyrone Mings will feel responsible for his part in gifting Chelsea the lead after just six minutes when he misjudged his headed clearance and Mount volleyed home with aplomb. It was the type of finish a player would produce on a run of scoring nine games in a row, not nine games without.

Under Potter, Mount appears to have a new lease of life. The shackles have been taken off and. the 23-year-old is thriving in a central No 8 role, taking on the role as the link man between midfield and the front three. Potter has quickly recognised his value as a box-to-box attacking midfielder and he repaid his faith with a fine strike for the free-kick to finally end his barren run in front of goal.

Gerrard out of time

Seven defeats out of 10 and with chants of “Sacked in the morning, you’re getting sacked in the morning” ringing around the stadium, time has surely run out for Gerrard to save his job after nearly a year in charge at Aston Villa.

With a talented squad, it is fair to say the Liverpool legend has struggled to find the best way of getting them firing, although on this display he must be wondering how his side didn’t score.

Had it not been for some fine saves from Arrizabalaga, his side would have been in front and the story may be a different one entirely. But with Villa down in 16th position and showing no signs of improving their results, the 42-year-old can have no complaints if he is axed by the club’s hierarchy on Monday morning.

Blundering Mings fails in Southgate audition

Gareth Southgate was spotted looking suitably amused by the TV cameras before the game started at Villa Park as he took his seat in the director’s box. But what he saw from Mings, a centre-back he has brought through to the national team, just six minutes later was no laughing matter.

The 28-year-old would have been keen to put in a solid display at the back to prove his worth with England’s 26-man World Cup squad due to be announced on November 8. Instead, this performance only proved the centre-back should be nowhere near the starting XI.

He looked nervous and unsure of his own ability after making his huge error early on and while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a quiet afternoon, that was hardly down to Mings’ work. With Eric Dier, Harry Maguire and John Stones all fit, he seems to have lost his battle to convince Southgate he can still do a job at international level.

Kepa’s resurrection

Chelsea paid a world-record £71million fee to sign Arrizabalaga from Athletic Bilbao in 2018 and only now are the Blues finally reaping the rewards from their huge investment.

After years of uncertainty and disappointing displays, Arrizabalaga has found his best level as he enjoyed arguably his most influential display in between the sticks. Picked ahead of the fit-again Edouard Mendy, the Spaniard produced an incredible triple save to deny John McGinn twice and then Ollie Watkins in the space of five seconds.

If his critics thought it was a stroke of good fortune, the next save would silence them. At point-blank range, the 28-year-old skipped across his line to deny Danny Ings with a save Gordon Banks would have been proud of, somehow clawing the ball over the bar when it looked destined to cross the line. If he continues his current level of form, Arrizabalaga could prove to be No 1 Chelsea always wanted.

Chelsea have no formation

Graham Potter’s lineup left many scratching their heads about which players were playing where, but as long as the Blues continue winning, the 47-year-old will be happy enough to keep them guessing.

Aubameyang, Sterling, Mount and Kai Havertz all started and popped up in attacking positions throughout the game, but neither of Sterling or Mount had a set position as they moved around at will. The former seemed to be used as a right wing-back at times, but in other moments could be found the most advanced through the midddle.

Mount was allowed to trot about at will in the centre of the park, moving from a No 8 to a No 10 and filling the channels with his runs in behind. This setup appears to be entirely fluid and a huge departure from what Thomas Tuchel prioritised with his rigid 3-4-3 setup, showing just how much Potter has changed already.

Source: Read Full Article