Mykhailo Mudryk was substituted after an hour of Chelsea’s 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa on Sunday afternoon and leaves Mauricio Pochettino with a decision to make after another underwhelming performance.
The 22-year-old is still without a goal in 22 games since joining from Shakhtar Donetsk in January and hasn’t managed an assist since April. Mudryk cost too much money to be discarded so readily, but he isn’t performing on the pitch.
Chelsea spent nearly £90m on the Ukrainian international who had a hand in 29 goals from 44 games at Shakhtar, but he’s managed only two assists in West London.
Chelsea’s problem isn’t just Mudryk
Mudryk has shown glimpses of quality, averaging more than a dribble per game in the Premier League this season, but he’s been wasteful with chances (0 shots on target) and has lacked an end product (15/18 inaccurate crosses).
Chelsea have been short of goals since the start of last season, scoring only 38 times in 2022/23 and five times this campaign, so the problem isn’t just Mudryk.
And although Chelsea have Raheem Sterling, Christopher Nkunku, Noni Madueke and Mudryk on the books, Nkunku is injured while Madueke has been short of playing time, so Pochettino has nobody else to call upon.
It’s easy to scapegoat one of Chelsea’s most expensive signings after another defeat without scoring, but it is accurate to say Mudryk hasn’t lived up to expectations. Pochettino has hauled the 22-year-old off within the hour of his last two starts, so he’s clearly not happy with his level of performances either.
Patience is a virtue
Chelsea have signed more than 30 players since Todd Boehly took over the club from Roman Abramovich, so it’s obvious why players haven’t settled in their new surroundings. The entire makeup of the side has changed so quickly, it will take at least one season for things to mould.
And Mudryk has only been at Chelsea for eight months, so it isn’t fair to call him a failure just yet. But what should Pochettino do in the meantime while he’s still settling? Should Mudryk be pushed to play through the bad form or be taken out of the spotlight?