A penny for Chelsea thoughts as Forest and Burnley wingers expose £88m flop

Hudson-Odoi Nottingham Forest Credit: Alamy
Hudson-Odoi Nottingham Forest Credit: Alamy

Chelsea fans can be forgiven for balling fists as they watched their academy graduate deny Burnley all three points on Monday night, though they also got a glimpse of a very impressive left winger who will presumably be signed by them at some point in the future.

While Mykhaylo Mudryk fails to understand Premier League football, Callum Hudson-Odoi, formerly of the Chelsea parish, nonchalantly flicked balls to teammates, ran at defenders, created chances, forced saves, and particularly gallingly for Chelsea fans, scored a bloody goal, and a bloody good one at that.

Burnley and Vincent Kompany’s compulsion to draw the opposition on to them at the City Ground on Monday night buoyed Forest and what now looks to be a pretty fearsome front four.

With Morgan Gibbs-White looking every inch a player capable of playing for the Big Six – as he almost always does – and Hudson-Odoi and ex-Manchester United star Anthony Elanga showing why they were able to beat off competition to emerge from their Big Six academies, it looked to be a case of when and not if Forest would score, as Taiwo Awoniyi tried to arrest a one-game goal drought having managed three in his first three games this season.

The Nigerian striker did though claim an assist last time out against Chelsea and did so again on Monday night, slight touch though it was for Hudson-Odoi to level the scores.

Having seemingly seen the confidence that had ebbed in the last two seasons on Chelsea’s books – including an inauspicious loan at Bayer Leverkusen which yielded neither a goal or an assist last term – return in just one hour of football for Forest, Hudson-Odoi scored the sort of goal worthy of the £50m player he was, rather than £3.5m player he has apparently become.

Callum Hudson-Odoi Forest Credit: Alamy
Callum Hudson-Odoi Forest Credit: Alamy

Callum Hudson-Odoi’s stunning strike for Nottingham Forest.

One touch to stand the Burnley defender up, a second to move the ball to create a yard of space and a third to curl the ball fiercely into the far corner. Cue a modicum of pleasure for Chelsea fans, infected by a huge dose of frustration at seeing one of their own prove to be so effective and decisive while £1bn worth of signings do very little indeed, with Mudryk – who now (sometimes) occupies the left-wing position Hudson-Odoi thrived in – perhaps chief among the anti-climaxes.

In their continuous search for young talent, you can put a wedge on Chelsea links with Burnley’s Luca Koleosho come Tuesday morning.

Burnley’s obstinacy of style started to bear fruit midway through the first half, with the confidence of Hudson-Odoi and Elanga to push on opening up space for another left winger, who based on this display may well be making the move up rather than taking the step down like his counterpart.

Gonzalo Montiel will have been wistfully remembering the challenge of Randal Kolo Muani, Marcus Thuram and Kylian Mbappe as 19-year-old Koleosho ran rings around him before Steve Cooper hooked the World Cup-winning right-back after 52 minutes.

Before that blessed relief, Montiel wasn’t even in the frame as Koleosho skipped past Joe Worrall with a sublime touch before his cross fell at the feet of Zeki Amdouni, who finished brilliantly into the corner.

It was the sort of moment Mudryk was producing for Shakhtar Donetsk this time last year, which saw Chelsea win a fight with Arsenal they may now wish they had lost.

Or he’ll come good – who knows? – but Hudson-Odoi illustrated in emphatic style on Monday what being set free from Chelsea can do, in a warning to Koleosho and others, who should avoid Stamford Bridge like the plague it has become for talented young footballers.

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