For the second time this season, Chelsea have been able to come away with a Premier League win. Goals from Mykhailo Mudryk and Armando Broja sealed victory for Mauricio Pochettino’s men.
Pochettino was pleased to see his side take three points and deserve it. He said: “We got what we deserved. The first half we were much better than Fulham.
“The second half we were in control. I’m so happy because the players needed this victory and so did the fans. We now have two victories in less than one week. We needed to feel the taste of victory, and another clean sheet also.” football.london takes a look at the talking points to arise from the victory.
The season starts now?
Pochettino said he would remain calm following a second victory but it’s impossible to not place some significance upon Chelsea’s result. Even following victory against Brighton, it was much-needed, with only Burnley now awaiting before a brutal stretch of games for the Blues.
The west London side won away for the first time since May, and have beaten a team starting the day above them in the Premier League for the first time since May 2021. While Chelsea weren’t particularly high in the table heading to their local rivals, it does not change it’s status as a landmark
Wins will make it easier to instill confidence in players, and hopefully more of the same is to come.
Midfield finds its groove
Chelsea’s midfield was delightful to watch at Craven Cottage, particularly in the opening half. The trio of Enzo Fernandez, Conor Gallagher and Moises Caicedo, each had a credible claim to be Man of the Match, as they looked at home alongside each other for the first time.
As times, they looked like a straight midfield three, at others it was clear on this occasion, Gallagher had been given the portfolio to feature higher up the pitch to press and attack, and even interchanging roles with Cole Palmer, between No.10 and right wing.
Each player looked to benefit with Fernandez returning to the peak of his powers in a deeper role while Caicedo dominated the midfield battle and showed plenty of sharpness.
Given two of that midfield three generated a cost in excess of £300million, it’s reasonable to say they should be good. Monday was the first signs that they could perhaps deliver upon their potential.
Mudryk will be a fan favourite
Did Mudryk start displaying a bit of confidence at the Craven Cottage turf? There looked to be only conviction in the way he took down Levi Colwill’s exquisite pass to slot through the legs of Bernd Leno.
It was not a faultless performance from the Ukraine international but one that should go along as Pochettino continues to trust him in his starting lineup.
The win over Fulham, showed how the 22-year-old could be utilised with Colwill down the left flank, even with the clamour for the Cobham product to take up his home in the centre of defence. It’s just a shame that Mudryk was only able to feature for the first 45 minutes due to injury.
Even without his gamechanging contribution, Mudryk continue to display the qualities that will ensure Chelsea fans have patience for his development. Alongside his sparks of quality, the young winger once again showed his determination to win the ball back. After 25 minutes Mudryk put in two slide tackles deep in his own half and by the Blues’ away supporters – earning their appreciation.
As much as the crowd are willing Mudryk to do well, no less is true of his teammates. Following the support he received against the Seagulls, the love of the squad for the January signing was once again on show.
Unsurprisingly, Colwill was quickest to Mudryk, embracing him, shouting in his ear as their teammates join, before relenting and place his hands around the back of his head, while delivering a forceful message. Axel Disasi too, like he did with Nicolas Jackson, ensured Mudryk knew how he felt about his goal, nodding and smiling as he passed a message of his own. That Fernandez and Caicedo could not withhold their joy was very telling too.
There has been understandable concern about the status of Chelsea’s academy and its products given the business completed in the summer. Mason Mount, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ethan Ampadu all departed the club, while there was a bid for Ian Maatsen accepted, and moves away for Trevoh Chalobah and Conor Gallagher also seemed possible.
However, seven games into the Premier League season, Cobham has proved vital. Colwill provided an assist and delivered plenty of leadership, Gallagher donned the armband and produced his best performance of the season, Armando Broja led the line on the return from a significant injury and score a goal that helped kill the game and Ian Maatsen delivered another disciplined performance to help secure a win.
There was even a debut for Alex Matos, who arrived from Norwich this summer, while Alfie Gilchrist, Josh Brooking and Deivid Washington helped Pochettino be able to utilise a full squad. That there was just one goalkeeper on the bench suggests that Pochettino is starting to trust those options too.
Matos’ minutes were fleeting, but it will be a signal to his development squad teammates there opportunity is alive, at least while Chelsea have so many injuries.
It felt poignant that Broja, Maatsena and Colwill led the crowd to the visiting supporters to show their appreciation however, and the crowd responded in kind. It’s a connection that can help lift the Blues through the season.