Highly-requested for months and fully-deserved, Callum Hudson-Odoi finally makes his full Premier League debut for Chelsea. The 18-year-old wonderkid had been in the very unusual situation of making his full international debut before his first league start.
On Wednesday, Maurizio Sarri made six changes to his side for the home game against Brighton, one being Hudson-Odoi. Our statistical analysis dissects his impact on the game.
Callum Hudson-Odoi started the game on the right side of a front three consisting of Olivier Giroud and Eden Hazard. He aimed to isolate his fullback in 1v1s so as to provide width and stretch Brighton’s deep defensive block.
This exact tactic provided the first goal, as play was switched to his side; he dribbled past his man and provided a low cross that was flicked into the near post by Giroud. In doing so, Hudson-Odoi became the youngest player to assist a Premier League goal this season.
As the game wore on, Hudson-Odoi regularly swapped wings with Hazard and tormented the Brighton back-line each time he got on the ball. The youngster found so much joy down the flanks that Bernardo, a natural left back, was brought on to double-up with Gaetan Bong.
What do the stats say?
Callum Hudson-Odoi had a mature all-round game; shinning as an attacking force, being a creative outlet as well as helping out defensively. His heat map shows he stuck to his wide positions but cut inside regularly from the right wing; he also had a strong impact defending in Chelsea’s half of the pitch
In his 90 minutes on the pitch, Hudson-Odoi grabbed one assist, shot on target and successful dribble each; he was also fouled twice and got dispossessed twice, missing one big chance. He completed 60 (92.3%) of his passes, created the most chances of anyone on the pitch (four) and three out of seven crosses were accurate. Hudson-Odoi also attempted two long passes, one of which found its intended target.
Maurizio Sarri has urged defensive improvement from Callum Hudson-Odoi, and he didn’t fail to impress on his full league debut. The winger was successful in all three total tackles and won seven of 12 the duels he was involved.
Being the most creative player on the pitch during his full league debut, Callum Hudson-Odoi showed he is ready. Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Andreas Christensen also started the game in what was a win for the Chelsea academy on the night. I called it Chelsea’s strongest line-up without Antonio Rüdiger before kick-off and the team showed true promise; accepted it was only Brighton, with all due respect.
Loftus-Cheek took his goal well and it was the first time he would score and assist in the same game. Christensen was typically assured in defence and received praise from his manager. Hazard and Loftus-Cheek had an exciting link-up along that left channel, assisting each other’s goals; they had the reliable presence of Emerson behind them.
Callum Hudson-Odoi wreaking havoc on the right of the above mentioned two; with N’Golo Kanté combining with him and Willian and Pedro’s experience available on the bench, opponents have much to think about.
If only Sarri were less stubborn.