Callum Hudson-Odoi’s disallowed goal against Bayern Munich in the Champions League defeat epitomised his last 18 months.
Just as he appeared to be making his mark, his progress was halted almost instantly. A moment of quality followed by a moment of misfortune.
Despite the arrivals of Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner, plus the likely arrival of Kai Havertz, Hudson-Odoi will be looking at next season as crucial in his development as a key player in Frank Lampard’s plans.
In 2019/20, Hudson-Odoi registered one goal and six assists in 1114 minutes across the Premier League and Champions League. This represents a disappointing return of a goal contribution every 159 minutes.
When compared with 2018/19, the 19-year-old recorded four goals and three assists in 808 minutes across the Premier League and Europa League at an average of 115 minutes per goal contribution. These numbers represent a dip in Hudson-Odoi’s output. His performance levels have also dropped in terms of general play and creative influence.
On the cusp
Since his Achilles tendon injury, Hudson-Odoi has seemed on the cusp of a big performance without this ever materialising.
During the 4-4 draw with Ajax, Hudson-Odoi was introduced as a 61st-minute substitute with Chelsea 4-1 down. He was arguably the key man in Chelsea’s comeback on this night. He provided wing play full of speed, directness and potency.
If Chelsea had won on that night, it would likely have come via the young Englishman on the left-hand side, while he also hit the post in the 89th minute. Tammy Abraham missed chances created by Hudson-Odoi on the night too.
Meanwhile, against Arsenal in a 2-2 in January, it was a similar story but with Michy Batshuayi. Hudson-Odoi contributed an assist, two key passes and a shot-on-target in what was an excellent performance.
However, Batshuayi’s missed chance late-on from Hudson-Odoi’s cross was another example of a standout showing but without a victory to confirm it. Despite impressing there, and playing 90 minutes at Leicester in the next league game, a hamstring injury ensured he missed six weeks between February and the beginning of lockdown.
Since then, opportunities have been limited for the England star. An assist against Liverpool showed a glimpse of his quality and reminded us of his talent.
It was only 18 months or so ago that Hudson-Odoi was linked with Bayern Munich, highlighting his serious potential. However, having signed a five-year contract at Chelsea, Hudson-Odoi will be expected to cement himself as a key player.
With the emergence of Christian Pulisic and signings of Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech, Chelsea are building a fearsome attack of which the academy graduate is a part of. However, Pulisic’s injury, as well as the departures of Willian and Pedro, forge an opening at the beginning of 2020/21 for Hudson-Odoi.
It is up to the youngster to grab the opportunity. He will be keen for next season to represent a new start after the difficulties he faced in 2019/20. What cannot be disputed, however, is that Hudson-Odoi is a precocious talent.
If he realises his potential, he can be a major part of a squad which is already shaping up to look very exciting under Frank Lampard. He now needs to turn glimpses and flashes of quality into match-winning contributions in order to establish himself as the top player he can be.