Callum Hudson-Odoi, with doubts hanging over his future as Bayern Munich pursue the youngster, started Chelsea’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg with Tottenham and was substituted after 80 minutes with the Blues trailing 1-0. Here’s a look at his performance at Wembley.
The build-up to Tuesday’s match featured plenty of speculation on the future of Hudson-Odoi. Maurizio Sarri said Hudson-Odoi, who has 18 months to run on his contract, was now “ready” to challenge Willian and Pedro to play in big games. He started and faced the broadcasters pre-match, insisting his focus was on the game. If his desire is to play more and in the big games, the opportunity was now there.
Hudson-Odoi ran at England left-back Danny Rose and shot straight at Paulo Gazzaniga in the seventh minute. His positive approach continued as he took every opportunity to run at Spurs’ defence. Unfortunately for him and Chelsea, those chances did not come often enough.
Not quite exciting with Eden
Hudson-Odoi stuck to his task, hugging the right wing, which often meant he was isolated from his Chelsea team-mates as Tottenham enjoyed midfield supremacy. It was perhaps hoped he and Eden Hazard would link up, but Spurs’ stranglehold made that difficult. The Belgian’s future is in doubt, with his contract expiring at the same time as Hudson-Odoi’s, in June 2020.
Hudson-Odoi set up both goals for Alvaro Morata in last Saturday’s FA Cup win over Nottingham Forest with traditional wing play, finished by a traditional centre-forward. Chelsea did not have a recognised striker on the pitch and Hudson-Odoi was deprived of that option. Instead, his preference was to cut in and shoot. The nearest he came to scoring, though, was a deep cross which ballooned off Rose and was touched on to the post by Paulo Gazzaniga in first-half stoppage time.
It was Willian, not Hudson-Odoi, who made way for Pedro in the second half, with the teenager swapping wings. When Sarri did send on Olivier Giroud, Chelsea’s best header of the ball, it was Hudson-Odoi who was taken off. That was baffling to some.