Three players are in danger of missing out on game-time thanks to the performance of Callum Hudson-Odoi against Aston Villa. Thomas Tuchel has treated the winger with tough love but seems to be reaping the rewards now.
Chelsea star Hudson-Odoi might just have stamped himself down as a first-team regular after his display on Boxing Day.
The 21-year-old had a hand in all three goals and Tuchel called him “outstanding” in his post-match press conference.
There have been question marks over the Englishman at Stamford Bridge but this is a chance to finally become the star man they need.
With so many academy graduates in the squad now, it is easy to forget that Hudson-Odoi was the first to make his mark in the first-team.
The youngster made his debut in the Premier League in January 2018, way before the likes of Mason Mount and Reece James had even entered the conversation.
There have been good and bad times and this season has felt like the one where the Chelsea ace has had to step up – and he has.
It was Hudson-Odoi’s pace that forced Matty Cash into fouling him for the first penalty and his sumptuous cross that gave Romelu Lukaku the simple task of heading home.
His inventive pass gave the Belgian the chance to dash towards the Villa goal that led to Ezri Konsa’s foul and second penalty.
Tuchel was full of praise for the England international, saying: “Hudson-Odoi was outstanding today, one of his very best performances. We were in doubt he can play one half, but he played 90 minutes.
“I think he was brilliant today and we forced him. Normally it was clear that he plays one half to a maximum of 60 minutes.
“That was a big game, a very important game from him. We took a kind of a risk here because he just came back from Covid.”
However, for all of Hudson-Odoi’s new adulation, there is the other side of the coin that three players might not quite like.
The forward turned in a display at left-wing – his preferred position – but that is shared by three others.
Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic have all struggled for minutes anyway this season but that has taken another hit.
The trio have all also been linked with moves away due to their lack of impact on the pitch.
And those rumours are likely to amplify if Hudson-Odoi continues to be the jewel of Tuchel’s eye, though with plenty of games coming up, rotation will be important.
But when called upon, the three have failed to impress and have scored a combined nine times – for context, Jorginho has scored the same amount of penalties.
Having plenty of options can only help Chelsea but, for those spent on the sidelines, it might be worth being somewhere else.