Mount makes Chelsea tick just like Modric does for Real Madrid

Mason Mount makes Chelsea tick just like Luka Modric does for Real Madrid… the young England star held his own against a midfielder at the opposite end of his career on his 100th appearance for the Blues

  • Mason Mount once again impressed in the heart of midfield for Chelsea
  • The young Englishman’s battle against Luka Modric was fascinating on Tuesday
  • Mount, who has already learned so much, has become integral to Chelsea
  • Real Madrid 1-1 Chelsea: Champions League semi-final tie finely poised 

Mason Mount will not forget the landmark of his 100th appearance for Chelsea.

Torrential rain in Spain and a Champions League semi-final played in eerie surroundings of an empty training ground and an honourable draw against the most illustrious of all European opponents.

He has made huge and impressive strides since his debut against Manchester United, at the start of last season. He has become a fixture in the team and earned the trust of Thomas Tuchel.

Mason Mount will have learned plenty during his battle with midfield great Luka Modric

When fresh legs were required for the closing stages and Tuchel made his first raft of changes it was Timo Werner and Chrisitan Pulisic, the goalscorer, who came off.

Still only 22, Mount has become integral to Chelsea. He is learning fast and will have taken so much from Tuesday night, and a close up with Luka Modric, a master of a very similar midfield craft. They can both make their teams tick.

Modric was the same age when he arrived at Tottenham, taking the Premier League in his elegant stride before moving on to Madrid, where he matured into the finest midfielder of his ilk.

Chelsea’s achievement here, was to limit his influence and ensure he did not settle into a groove and dictate affairs, as he has so often in the past and still can.

The midfield tussle was always going to be the key to this tie.

Modric, Casemiro and Toni Kroos dominated Liverpool when they came to Madrid. Real’s midfield trio supplied the platform from which Vinicius could torment Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Mount, who has now played 100 times for Chelsea, has become integral to the side

Kroos was back after missing two games and Tuchel’s plan to avoid the same trap included Cesar Azpilicueta at right-wing back. The Chelsea boss gave this formula a trial run at West Ham on Saturday and liked what he saw.

‘He’s humble, he’s a fighter, he thinks constantly about winning,’ he said about his captain after the 1-0 win at the London Stadium. ‘Everything that Chelsea means, from my point of view.

‘He has the mentality of a water carrier. For him, no work is too hard, no distance he goes is too long.’

What Azpilicueta might lack is pace when exposed in the wide areas, and there was Andreas Christensen deployed on the right side of three central defenders to help him out.

Between them, they closed down spaces Liverpool had dared to leave open.

Zinedine Zidane paid Tuchel the compliment of changing his team shape to mirror Chelsea’s three centre-halves and it created a more fluent contest than anyone was predicting.

Vinicius flickered in and around Karim Benzema, the central striker, always searching to dart in behind the back line just as Pulisic did around Werner.

The young England international is one of Thomas Tuchel’s go-to men already in west London

They occupied the three central defenders, stretched them and pulled them into unfamiliar positions, Mount and N’Golo Kante sought to exploit the spaces created.

For almost half an hour they were on top, and Mount launched the break that led to Werner’s early miss with a shimmy and acceleration to carry the ball into Real’s penalty area.

It was a perfect example of his influence on the turnover of possession. His touch is sure and his mind is quick. More often than not, he is ready to play forward on his second touch.

He buzzes with energy, reads the rhythms of the game and has the vision and passing range to make it count.

Modric has carved a fabulous career with a similar collection of technical qualities, combined with a quiet resilience and steely will to win.

Whether or not Mount can rise to those heights remains to be seen. The path will not be smooth and even, and the key moments may come in adversity as much as in victory.

Modric was contained through the opening exchanges as Real struggled to come to terms with their new system.

Mount will be desperate to get the better of Modric next week as Chelsea eye their place in the Champions League final

With Kante at his relentless best, Chelsea hustled and pressed and took the lead when Pulisic latched onto a long pass from Antonio Rudiger, but Zidane’s team had simply too much experience to go under without a fight.

As the rain pounded down on the stadium at their training ground, the home pitch this season as they upgrade the Bernabeu, their celebrated midfielders started to get on the ball.

Real Madrid grew into the game and Chelsea lost a fraction of their intensity. Benzema volleyed in a brilliant equaliser and the second half opened with the sort of caution absent in the first.

Modric drifted and probed, a perceptive passer of the ball, testing angles and searching for openings.

Mount chased and Kante thrived as Chelsea defended what they had, a crucial away goal and a tie in the balance as they return to Stamford Bridge next week.

An honourably even contest between two midfielders at opposite ends of their careers.

They will be meet again in the summer when England and Croatia clash once more at the Euros. They will meet again next week when one of them will take the prize of a place in a Champions League final.

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