Mykhailo Mudryk had himself an electric debut two weeks ago, coming off the bench against Liverpool at Anfield and quickly showing just why we spent upwards of €70m on his signature. That was his first competitive action in almost exactly two months, with Shakhtar Donetsk on winter break since the end of November, but if that was a somewhat “rusty” performance, we were surely in for some amazing times going forward.
Given all that, his 45 minutes of action last night against Fulham were all the more shocking. The 22-year-old was less than a shadow of himself, and he touched the ball less than even the Fulham goalkeeper, who spent a good bit of the game taking a nap and ruining his circadian cycle because you should never nap after 4pm.
You watch Mudryk for five minutes and it’s obvious why he’s exciting as a prospect. You watch him for 10 and it’s obvious why analytics folks are skeptical. No idea what that means for his career all in.— Mike L. Goodman (@TheM_L_G) February 3, 2023
Mudryk was hooked at half, much to the amusement of the non-Chelsea mob, but as it turned out, he had a pretty good reason for such a substandard showing. As head coach Graham Potter explained afterwards, Misha was hardly fully fit.
“He’s had a heavy cold all week. We thought 60 would be his maximum but he felt heavy-legged at half time. We’re still building him up in terms of his minutes because of the break he has had in his season so we thought 45 was about right for him.”
-Graham Potter; source: Football.London
A heavy cold and a lack of match fitness in general. So, another random lineup decision then that doesn’t really make sense and we end up paying for it some way, shape, or form? Got it.
Mykhailo Mudryk's full Premier League debut by numbers:— Squawka (@Squawka) February 3, 2023
0 fouls won
0 chances created
0 take-ons completed
0 passes into opp. box
Replaced at half-time... pic.twitter.com/97I5YG25zW