3. The Mykhailo Mudryk factor
I think we all thought Mudryk was going to be a Gooner.
But, in the end, west, not north, London proved to be the highly-touted Ukrainian’s destination. There was initially bitterness and resentment among the Arsenal fan base, but initial envy turned into jovial laughter once Mudryk took the field. Admittedly, it was not an easy situation to come into, but the winger looked woefully out of his depth.
His 2022/23 campaign would end without a Chelsea goal.
Now, while Mudryk’s start was dire, we cannot deny the raw talent and promise he’s shown at the start of the new campaign. Mudryk still has a very long way to go until he can justify his hefty price tag, but he’s certainly now better placed for maximising his talent at Stamford Bridge with Pochettino at the helm.
Before the break, Mudryk scored his first competitive Chelsea goal away at Fulham before scoring his first for Ukraine with a wonderful strike in Malta. After making what Poch described as a “massive effort” to integrate himself into the manager’s framework, the recent signs suggest Mudryk might be reaping the rewards.
He’ll undoubtedly head into Saturday’s game with more confidence than he’s ever possessed in a Chelsea shirt, and although a start isn’t guaranteed, Mudryk will be determined to impress against the club whom he thought he’d be joining in January.