Premier League club Chelsea ended the negative trend when they won against Fulham at the Craven Cottage stadium in the seventh week of the 2023/24 Premier League season. The last time Chelsea won in the Premier League was on August 26 when they played against promoted team, Luton Town (3-1).
So of the seven matches Chelsea have played in the Premier League this season, Chelsea have only recorded two wins, two draws and three defeats. This victory was Chelsea’s second victory in the last two matches. In the middle of last week in the Carabao Cup competition, the team coached by Coach Mauricio Pochettino narrowly won over Brighton.
Of course, it is very difficult to determine if the last two wins were the turning point for Chelsea to compete in the Premier League. The reason is, Chelsea often appear inconsistent. Pochettino has not found the right formula to declare his expensive squad. Moreover, there are 12 important players who are temporarily sidelined due to injury.
Pochettino’s tendency so far is to tinker with players which is still obvious. This was largely due to the performance of the players themselves and also the results achieved by Chelsea on the gridiron. Therefore, Pochettino is looking for the right formation and looking for players who are suitable for several positions. One of Chelsea’s biggest obstacles is the front line. In general, Chelsea usually controls the course of the match, but this is not accompanied by productivity in breaking into the opponent’s goal. In fact, Chelsea often loses because their opponents play more effectively.
The problem became a bit complicated for Chelsea when several players who were recruited earlier this season and were expected to be the solution for the front line suffered injuries. For example, Nicolas Jackson, who was often played by Pochettino earlier this season, suffered an injury like C. Nkunku. These two players were recruited to boost Chelsea’s front line. Therefore, Pochettino does not have many choices on the front lines. Mykhailo Mudryk, Armando Broja and Cole Palmer were used as attackers in a 4-3-3 formation.
These three strikers are not the main choice because the main players are injured. Broja and Palmer were introduced for the first time since the first minute this season. Interestingly, Pochettino left Raheem Sterling on the bench and introduced him as a substitute in the second half. Nevertheless, Chelsea actually achieved positive results. The shadow of defeat is far away. Chelsea’s second win in the Premier League this season was very significant.
Apart from the new attacking composition, Pochettino also experimented with playing left back M. Cucurella in the right back position. In the left back position, Pochettino played young defender, Levi Colwill. Colwill was one of the players who performed quite well in this match, including providing one assist for Mudryk.
Chelsea’s victory occurred when Pochettino had limited core players and had to experiment with his players. The road was successful and gave the impression that Chelsea could actually rise from adversity. The way to do this is by providing equal opportunities for all players, including young players. The aim is to build competition between players and distance the impression between players labeled as expensive and not. All players have the same opportunities and must appear convincing in order to get playing time.
Mudryk, who scored one of the goals against Fulham, certainly got positive energy. Unmitigated, this player who was bought last season just scored his first goal in 24 matches with Chelsea. The performance of this player from Ukraine has not been very consistent since arriving at Chelsea. Not a few people think that the purchase of Mudryk is one of Chelsea’s failures in the player transfer market. In fact, Chelsea’s steps to bring in Mudryk were not easy because they were competing with Arsenal.
Chelsea won the hunt for the 22-year-old player because they proposed a price that was relatively higher than Arsenal’s offer. Losing money, Arsenal turned around and bought Leandro Trossard from Brighton. Interestingly, when Mudryk was sluggish with Chelsea, Trossard appeared convincing at Arsenal. However, Chelsea still retains Mudryk. Pochettino also did not give up and often played Mudryk. The match against Fulham was the third match in a row for Mudryk to play as a starter.
In terms of age, Mudryk still has a lot of time to improve his performance. Pochettino himself recognizes Mudryk’s talent and only needs a moral injection so that his confidence can increase. Obviously, Pochettino trusted Mudryk and that trust began to pay off with Mudryk’s performance and his first goal as a Chelsea player.
For this reason, his first goal in a Chelsea uniform was very special and meaningful. Mudryk has the opportunity to bounce back and show why he was so hotly contested by Chelsea and Arsenal last season. Further, Mudryk’s journey is similar to Chelsea’s journey since last season. Being labeled a quality and expensive squad does not necessarily mean they have a convincing performance on the green field. For this reason, the result of the match against Fulham could be a moment for Chelsea and Mudryk to get up and get out of their downturn.