Tag Archives: Willian

WHY HUDSON-ODOI IS NOT A REGULAR FOR CHELSEA

Many of you keep asking this question to yourselves. Why a rising star like Hudson-Odoi is not playing with consistence at Chelsea?

The 18-year-old winger, who burst into Chelsea first team last season under Antonio Conte has found limited space so far making most of his appereances from the bench. It is surely surprising to see how the youth-team graduate has yet to start a game in the Premier League this season. Only 74 minutes played in England top division, while most of his starts have came in the Europa League group stage. This is a question Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has overheard since the early days of his tenure at Stamford Bridge. Following Bayern Munich’s interest in the youngster the Italian manager had to come up with an answer in order to keep him in London. Jadon Sancho and Reiss Nelson’s displays in the Bundesliga have not helped either with many of England’s youngsters who want to follow them and seal a move to Germany. Hudson-Odoi tried to do the same handing in a transfer request which the club refused to accept, for how much longer that remains to be seen. Summer is coming closer with mounting speculation over the Germans’ interest in the talented winger. Should Sarri still be in charge when the transfer market reopens that would be a problem he will have to face and that could undermine his future at the club.

Sarri’s unwillingness to play him did not come as a surprise for the ones who know a bit about the Italian’s style of play and methods. In his 3-year spell with Serie A side Napoli he has been accused by press and fans to play always the same XI and to give very little space to the rest of the team with a few players reportedly unhappy about this. An example of this is Simone Verdi (now at Napoli but previously at Bologna) who refused to join them in January 2018 when last season Serie A runners up were looking for a winger to boost their chances of snapping up the title. He refused to join them saying he did want to stay at Bologna to help them avoid relegation. While part of this is true there’s also something else that needs to be said. The main reason why he did not join Napoli last winter despite they were fighting for the title is to be found in Sarri himself and his stubbornness. He knew he wasn’t going to find much space and preferred to wait a bit more in order to carry on developing before joining a much bigger club.

As seen in the first few months of his tenure at Stamford Bridge Sarri heavily relies on a core group of 13-14 players. He can count on wingers like Hazard, Pedro and Willian with Hudson-Odoi currently 4th choice in the pecking order. Now they have signed Higuain Hazard is back playing on the left wing and that has further limited the 18-year-old’s playing time. However whenever he played he showed what he is capable of scoring twice in the Europa League group stage while bagging one and setting up two more in just two FA Cup outings. Despite an encouraging start to the season the pressure is mounting on the Italian. His “Sarri-ball” style has failed to live up with the huge expectations coming from his successfull spell with Napoli. The signing of Jorginho should have turned the whole Chelsea side around being the main reason not to play Kante in a midfield deep-lying position. While Kante’s issue is a matter of discussion with the manager’s view supported by the Frenchman’s greater involvement in the attacking play most of the fans made it clear they want Hudson-Odoi to become a regular for Chelsea. Sarri warned that if the youngster is to play week in week out they need to sell another winger. This sums up his philosophy and the way he thinks about football. As long as Sarri will be in charge at Chelsea it is going to be difficult to see Hudson-Odoi start with consistence. Sarri’s assistant manager Gianfranco Zola pointed out that the youth-graduate featured 14 times for the Blues, not bad for an 18-year-old in a demanding club like Chelsea. Only Ryan Sessegnon at Fulham and Morgan Gibbs-White at Wolves have done better as players born in 2000. If you factor in that Sessegnon and Gibbs-White play with much smaller sides that Chelsea then Hudson-Odoi’s playing time does not look as bad as most of the press have been saying.

Whether Sarri will stay for next season remains to be seen, same for Hudson-Odoi. The Italian and the whole club will need to address this preferably before the summer with Bayern Munich pushing to secure his services. Furthermore FIFA has just handed a two-windows transfer ban to the West London club who will unable to bring in new players up until the end of January 2020 (if their appeal will be rejected). Pulisic will join them in the summer and that could be another problem. Chelsea will try everything to keep him at the club, it is not going to be easy though with many European giants chasing the England international.

Combined Man United and Chelsea XI

Ahead of Chelsea’s trip to Old Trafford this Sunday, in what could be a major game in the race for second place, we detail the combined XI of both Premier League giants.

GK David De Gea- One of the easier decisions of the combined XI, David De Gea is in most peoples view the best keeper in the world, and has been for the past few years. With no real weakness in his game, De Gea has vindicated the idea that to be a top team, you must have a top keeper.

RB Antonio Valencia- Valencia has been able to transition from an out and out winger, to one of the best fullbacks in the country seamlessly. The 32 year old is enjoying the best season of his career since becoming a defender, and is competent both defensively and going forward.

CB Cesar Azpilicueta- Spanish defender Azpilicueta has proven over the last few years that he can play and excel in any defensive position across the back four. A model of consistency for both club and country, he can genuinely stake a claim to being the best defender in the Premier League and the most versatile.

CB Phil Jones- Jones has had a tough time with injuries over his united career, and as a result has never really had an extended spell in the team with a consistent centre back partner. This season he has found top form in a defence that have conceded the least goals in the division, and he will be aiming to get into Gareth Southgate’s starting XI for the World Cup.

LB Marcos Alonso- Marcos Alonso is one of the most underrated players in the top flight, able to defend as well as contribute with goals and assists at the other end of the pitch. 13 goals over the past season and a half with Chelsea is a brilliant return for a left back, and his free kick ability has been used as a potent weapon for Chelsea.

CM Paul Pogba- On his day one of the best players in the world, his early season form had United fans excited that their £90 Million man was finally coming good. But after injuries and suspension stopped his momentum, Pogba has not been able to show the same form, and has even been dropped in recent weeks. But without question deserves a place in this team.

CM Nemanja Matic- Matic does the jobs nobody notices, and as a result doesn’t receive the same attention as the flair players. But without Matic, United would not be second in the league, and after his replacement at Chelsea has so far failed to impress, the decision to let Matic go seems a poor one. In the first half of the season Matic allowed Pogba to roam freely and steal all the headlines, but while Pogba’s form has dipped, Matic remains as consistent as ever.

CM N’Golo Kante- Everybody is well aware of what Kante brings to a team, his non stop work rate and tireless running has not gone unnoticed over the best two seasons. Kante very rarely has a bad game and is as consistent as they come, two Premier League titles in his first two seasons in England highlights his importance. He also has a knack of scoring against United, netting twice against them last season.

LW Eden Hazard- Sometimes deployed as a false nine but most comfortable on the left, Hazard is on course for his best goal scoring season in a Chelsea shirt this term. Now is the time for Hazard to move to the next level and become one of the best players in the world, something he is more than capable of doing. Whether he does that in London or moves on remains to be seen, but right now he is one of the best players in the country.

ST Romelu Lukaku- Despite receiving much criticism since his summer move to Old Trafford, Lukaku is not having a bad season by any means. The big Belgium has notched 21 goals so far in all competitions, but has at times failed to deliver in the big games. Compared to Chelsea’s number nine, Alvaro Morata who has only managed 12 goals, Lukaku is having a great season.

RW Willian- After his outstanding display in Chelsea’s first leg draw with Barcelona, it was very hard to not include the Brazil born winger. Willian is enjoying the best season of his career, already in double figures for both goals and assists, the winger has proven his world class credentials over the past 18 months. In the process he has gone from a flashy winger to a truly world class match winner.