Yes, that is Callum Hudson-Odoi coming on, and yes that is Morrie Sarri - standing in front of Rafa Benitez's technical area, in full roaming mode (to the occasional exasperation of the Newcastle manager). Blues fans serenaded the exciting young winger who they see as the future of the club, but who is being wooed
Yes, that is Callum Hudson-Odoi coming on, and yes that is Morrie Sarri – standing in front of Rafa Benitez’s technical area, in full roaming mode (to the occasional exasperation of the Newcastle manager).
Blues fans serenaded the exciting young winger who they see as the future of the club, but who is being wooed by Germany, with 10 minutes remaining of the Chelsea v Newcastle match, which Sarri’s men scraped, rather than won, 2-1.
“We want you to stay, we want you to stay! Hudson-Odoi, we want you to stay,” they sang. Will it do any good?
The player, wanted by Bayern Munich for £35m, is still just 18, and has another 18 months to go on his contract. He has a serious decision to make.
He began his 10-minute cameo on the left, but Sarri immediately switched him over to the right wing with William coming across to the left. It wasn’t really enough time on the pitch to make any significant difference, but it reminded everyone of the issue.
For all Sarri’s indignation at Bayern disrespecting Chelsea by talking openly of wanting the player, the Blues haven’t made any serious effort to talk him into remaining with the club, and if he is going to be denied progress in the current team, then frankly he may as well be cashed in.
Saturday afternoon’s win was unconvincing, as have been so many recent Chelsea performances.
There was a bright start, with Pedro lobbing Martin Dubravka in the ninth minute after a route one pass from David Luiz, but the Toon Army were singing lustily again before half-time as Newcastle levelled from a corner when Matt Ritchie pushed his way through the central defenders Luiz and Tony Rudiger to head home.
Willian scored the winner in the 57th minute, curling a lovely shot past the keeper with virtually no backlift; a real gem.
Then the game inched towards the final whistle, with very little else to report.
The Blues are going to have to up their game with serious away fixtures looming, or there’s a risk they will fade out of contention for the top slots altogether.
The issue is clear. For all their passing and possession, it is proving harder and harder for Chelsea to turn advantage into goals as opponents suss their methods, and work to neutralise them. It’s Arsenal away next.