The lack of senior goalscorers in the squad was likely the key reason behind Mauricio Pochettino’s decision to start Ben Chilwell at left wing in Chelsea’s 1-0 loss to Nottingham Forest. While the vice-captain didn’t do too bad in the role given how consistently he got into dangerous zones, he doesn’t have Marcos Alonso’s goalscoring abilities to regularly bury the ball into the back of the net if given enough chances to do so.
Enters Mykhailo Mudryk, the natural left winger who has yet to score his first Chelsea goal in now 19 senior matches for the Blues. The 22-year-old earned his first Chelsea start this season in our AFC Bournemouth encounter at Dean Court yesterday and while he did show some glimpses of good attacking instinct, greatly helped by his blistering speed, his game sense is still lacking as shown by Thiago Silva’s complaint after a second-half mistake that almost lead to a Cherries goal.
Surely Mudryk’s footballing knowledge won’t improve in a single day. As fast as his legs might be, Mauricio Pochettino is well aware that the Premier League’s rhythm can surpass the attacker’s speed. He will need more time to make his pace and acceleration only two of several tools he can rely on to be an effective player in England and beyond.
“[Mykhailo Mudryk] is improving. He still needs to learn; the Premier League is very fast, the speed of the game is so fast.
“I think it’s about understanding the game better, try to be more connected sometimes with the team.
“We need to give the time and to give the tools for him to improve during the season.”
-Mauricio Pochettino; Source: Sky Sports
In the past we could ask whether Chelsea are the place for Mudryk to try things out and fail in his development process. But we can see Mudryk’s own rocky path thus far at Stamford Bridge as a parable of how things have been for the current Blues ownership, where a reliance on speed and doing things as fast as possible can lead to spectacular and most often unexpected falls.
All of these issues will be things to be remembered upon and even laughed at once we get back to winning matches and trophies on a regular basis. Until then we just got to keep working and supporting the team while levying fair criticism on their past and present mistakes, hoping we can be fast learners just as much.