H-O finally arrives

posted in: Chelsea | 0

He may look like Billy No Mates, stranded out on the right wing with only the linesman for company, but Callum Hudson-Odoi kept his wide position well – maturely standing his ground when lesser mortals would have been unable to stop themselves drifting in.

As a result, he was ready to receive the wide balls that dragged play his way as Brighton scampered to close the gap… freeing up the space that marksmen Olivier Giroud, Eden Hazard and Ruben Loftus-Cheek needed to steal in and score.

Result? A 3-0 win to Chelsea, a fake gloss on Sarriball and a comprehensive result (the Blues’ goal was never threatened) to announce Hudson-Odoi’s first-team 90-minute performance.

If manager Morrie Sarri felt sheepish about having delayed his young star’s full debut, he didn’t show it. But then again, he believes so comprehensively in his system that he doesn’t really entertain alternatives.

And that’s where comparisons with Theresa May and Brexit end. Hudson-Odoi was a masterful provider on a night of one-way traffic, making the right wing his own. Unlike Theresa.

Saluted from the stands and cheered every time his name was read out in the pre-match team announcements, H-O was in the thick of it from the start, having the first shot for the Blues in the 11th minute – after 11 minutes of build-up play.

The breakthrough came after 39 minutes, when H-O ran down the right and fired in a low, sharp, hard cross which Giroud side-flicked home.

The providing resumed in the second half. On the hour mark it was 2-0 after play was switched to the left and Hazard took the ball on his left, switched to his right foot to bamboozle the Brighton defence and planted the ball, right-footed, beyond Mat Ryan.

Four minutes later the win was complete as Loftus-Cheek, in an identical position, sent the ball flying past Ryan – a divine curler.

In the 80th minute, the Seagulls’ fans finally could chant ‘We’ve had a shot, we’ve had a shot’ as a tame Bernardo effort was fielded by the otherwise unemployed Kepa.

“Callum played very well and defended very well,” said Sarri. “He has improved during the season a lot. He’s ready to play 90 minutes in very important matches.”

Will he remain in the starting line-up on Monday night against West Ham at the Bridge? The fans firmly believe he should.