When Frank Lampard left Chelsea’s managerial role in January 2021, questions were raised regarding the continuation of the integration of Academy graduates into the Blues’ first team. Following a transfer ban in 2019, Chelsea were banned from signing new players, which forced them to utilize players from their youth ranks and hand them a spot in the first team.
Lampard’s first season in charge was regarded as a successful one by many pundits, as despite the transfer ban, he was able to secure a top-four finish, thereby qualifying for the Champions League. The following season, when the transfer ban was lifted, Chelsea signed five new players. Many pundits were swift in pointing out that the Blues have reverted to their old ways of signing high-profile players and were overlooking the academy. But that has all changed since the arrival of Thomas Tuchel as the man in charge.
Since his appointment, Tuchel has not only continued the inclusion of Chelsea’s academy graduates in the starting eleven, but he also delivered a Champions League title for the Blues, utilizing a team that consisted of multiple players from the academy. The likes of Christensen, Mount and James, were all included in the team that secured Chelsea’s first Champions League title since 2012. Amongst Chelsea’s young ranks, one player who has gathered a lot of attention from many clubs, including the German giants Bayern Munich, is Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Hudson-Odoi was given a start in Tuchel’s first game in charge for the Blues, but since then, he hasn’t been able to secure his spot in the starting eleven. There were talks that Hudson-Odoi will leave on loan during the summer transfer window, but Chelsea convinced the winger to stay. Although Hudson-Odoi was limited to substitute appearances in Chelsea’s opening games, he has since been slowly integrated into the Blues starting eleven following injuries to many first-choice starters. Tuchel stated in a recent interview that only consistent performances can hand the winger a regular role in Chelsea’s starting eleven.
Let’s analyze Hudson-Odoi’s stats from last season and this season to gauge whether he can nail down a spot in Chelsea’s starting eleven.
Callum Hudson-Odoi: Attacking & Creativity 2020/2021
The winger made 23 appearances for the Blues, scoring two goals and adding a further three assists. Most of his attacking and creativity stats surpassed the league median value, with the most notable stats being touches in opponent penalty box per 90, dribbles per 90, and attacking actions per 90.
Callum Hudson-Odoi: Attacking & Creativity 2021/2022
This season although he has been involved in only four games, his attacking and creativity stats have been impressive. Hudson-Odoi is a brilliant progressor of the ball, capable of testing the defenders with his quick and threatening movement near the opposition box.
Callum Hudson-Odoi: Pass map 2020/2021
Hudson-Odoi’s pass map indicates the areas where he delivers his threatening passes. His athleticism and speed combined with his unpredictability allow him to deliver passes with high xT near the opposition box.
Callum Hudson-Odoi: Pass map 2021/2022
This season as well, he has continued to deliver threatening crosses from both left and right wing, indicating his brilliant movement and switch of play. Hudson-Odoi is at his most threatening level when he drives inside with his right foot with the ball, as the defenders have a hard time guessing whether he is going to aim for the target or find a teammate near the far post of the goal.
In his recent start against Newcastle United, he once again displayed his brilliant skills and created the highest xT from his dribbles while he also created the second-highest xT from passes.
With Chelsea’s main starting lineup crippled with injuries, Hudson-Odoi is sure to see more game time in their upcoming matches. His performances in the previous games against Norwich and Newcastle have inspired confidence amongst the Blues fanbase. Chelsea’s upcoming fixtures will indicate whether Hudson-Odoi can nail down a spot in Thomas Tuchel’s starting eleven. Although, if he continues his brilliant performances, he can expect a more regular role in the team.