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Update Premier League: Chelsea register narrow win over Fulham; Leicester jump to 2nd

[Image: mount-1610841045.jpg]

Four months into the season and Chelsea manager Frank Lampard appears no closer to knowing his best lineup following a $300 million offseason spending spree that delivered him a squad bursting with quality.

One player he knows he cannot do without is Mason Mount.

The England international looked to be the man with the most to lose coming out of a summer when Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner arrived at Stamford Bridge at great expense to add competition to the attacking midfield and forward spots.

But there was Mount on Saturday, starting for Chelsea for the 12th straight English Premier League game — he has played 90 minutes in all of them — and grabbing a badly needed winner for Lampard against Fulham at Craven Cottage.

Mount’s 78th-minute goal in a 1-0 victory capped a man-of-the-match performance where Chelsea’s more high-profile players again came up short against a team which played the entire second half with 10 men, following the 44th-minute sending-off of U.S. international Antonee Robinson.

Werner came off the bench in the 75th and squandered a glorious, one-on-one chance in stoppage time, summing up a striker short of confidence after one goal in two months for club and country.

Havertz, signed for $92 million and supposedly a direct threat to Mount, never got onto the field in a sign that he is still not fully trusted by Lampard.

Ziyech was substituted after 75 minutes, having offered little.

Mount was there, of course, until the end. He is a trusted lieutenant of Lampard, who had the young, hard-working Englishman with him when manager of Derby County in the second-tier Championship in the 2018-19 season.

“His quality and attitude is brilliant,” Lampard said of Mount, who has started 16 of Chelsea’s 18 games — second only to N’Golo Kante.

Mount’s goal came when he drilled home a loose ball from a central position inside the area after Fulham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola scooped away a cross, and it brought Chelsea only its second win in its last seven league matches.

That poor recent run plunged Chelsea to ninth place and prompted scrutiny on Lampard, the club great who is in just his third year in senior soccer management and facing huge expectations this season.

“I won’t say I was blown away with the performance,” he said.


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