2. Callum Hudson-Odoi makes another statement
Another day, another Man of the Match performance from Hudson-Odoi. People can debate which flank he truly belongs on, but there’s no question he can at least do a job as a right wingback. No one, including Huson-Odoi himself, presumably, ever pegged him for that role.
Hudson-Odoi has been known for his quick feet and ability to beat players off the dribble since he first came on the scene two seasons ago. It’s a classic noteworthy skill to get a young player some recognition via choppy YouTube hype videos. That said, it really isn’t all that important of a skill at the highest level. What matters more—and what Hudson-Odoi is showing he’s capable of—is range of passing and quickness of thought. Against Burnley, it was his quickness of thought that made the difference.
The most obvious example was his assist for Cesar Azpilicueta’s goal. There was nothing aesthetically outstanding about the run and the layoff, but he made every correct decision in the sequence at exactly the right time. Against an organized defense like Burnley, that type of precision is crucial.
These types of impressive, but understated, performances are becoming more and more common for Hudson-Odoi. A good run of form is always welcome, but it’s all the more meaningful and encouraging that he’s maintained this high level through the managerial turnover and tactical change. Versatility will be key to staying in Tuchel’s starting lineups given his tendency to switch formations to counter opponents. Chelsea has a glut of wide attacking options, so Hudson-Odoi’s ability to take on a less conventional position with less competition bodes well for his long-term future at the club.
Hudson-Odoi continues to make himself one of the first names on Tuchel’s team sheet. As other players try to find their feet under the new manager, Hudson-Odoi has put his head down and put in near-flawless performances. Every ounce of consistency will be needed in the early days of Tuchel’s reign, and while players like Thiago Silva and Cesar Azpilicueta have unsurprisingly provided just that at the back, Hudson-Odoi has overtaken veterans like Olivier Giroud and Hakim Ziyech as the most reliable option going forward. Here’s hoping that he can keep it up.