Chelsea fans were buzzing with excitement around 1 pm on Sunday when Mauricio Pochettino revealed the starting lineup for their match against AFC Bournemouth.
Though Moises Caicedo was absent due to injury, the absence of Chelsea’s record signing didn’t dampen spirits because Mykhailo Mudryk had secured a spot in the team.
This marked Mudryk’s first start of the season, and many had high hopes for the 22-year-old winger to have a breakthrough season at Stamford Bridge.
His journey with Chelsea had been rocky since his signing in the January transfer window, with nine starts, 876 minutes played, no goals, and just two assists – far from impressive stats. His confidence had taken a hit as a result.
However, Mudryk’s path to regaining confidence required more playing time, and Sunday’s match was a significant step in that direction.
He played for over an hour and left his mark on the game.
While he didn’t directly contribute to Chelsea’s goals, Mudryk showcased his potential when playing on the left flank.
Mudryk played a crucial role in creating two of Chelsea’s best opportunities during the match.
His link-up play with Nicolas Jackson almost resulted in a goal in the first half, and he later set up Conor Gallagher, whose shot was well saved by Neto.
Throughout the game, Mudryk attempted four dribbles, successfully completing three.
One standout moment occurred on the 16th minute when he skillfully forced Max Aarons, Bournemouth’s right-back, to follow him into the center of the pitch, creating space behind them.
However, Mudryk struggled to turn these moments into tangible results, a recurring theme during his time at Chelsea.
This inconsistency had led to criticism, some of which may have been harsh given the circumstances.
Despite the scrutiny, Mauricio Pochettino expressed his belief in Mudryk’s potential.
He acknowledged that the Premier League’s pace presented a challenge, emphasizing the need for Mudryk to understand the game better and connect with his team.
Fans had been eagerly awaiting Mudryk’s start, and although it showed promise, there was also a sense of impatience.
Mudryk’s development required consistent playing time and faith from the head coach, Pochettino.
The challenge now was for Mudryk to seize this opportunity and prove his worth.
If he succeeded, it would be a great achievement, but if not, he would have no one to blame but himself.