Mykhailo Mudryk appears to have unveiled a significant weakness in Ange Postecoglou’s tactical approach, and this revelation could prove pivotal for Chelsea as they prepare to face Tottenham on Monday night. The 22-year-old winger, who recently returned to full training after recovering from a muscle injury that sidelined him against Brentford last weekend, has shed light on a potential vulnerability in the way Postecoglou’s team sets up.
Mudryk’s opportunities to start games were limited before the September international break, as he often appeared as a substitute in matches where Chelsea needed to break down defensively-minded opponents. To this day, he has only played a full 90 minutes in the Premier League once, starting 11 games and coming off the bench in 12.
Initially, Pochettino had opted to deploy Ben Chilwell on the left-wing in an attempt to accommodate Thiago Silva, Axel Disasi, and Levi Colwill in the defensive line. However, following Chilwell’s hamstring injury, Mudryk was given the opportunity to demonstrate his abilities.
Although Mudryk hasn’t been prolific in front of goal, his performances have shown steady improvement, making him a valuable asset for Chelsea. As he aims for a spot in the starting lineup against Tottenham on Monday, Mudryk has already given Pochettino insights into how to exploit Postecoglou’s defensive setup.
Just over a year ago, on September 14, 2022, Mudryk scored a crucial equalizer for Shakhtar Donetsk against a Celtic team managed by Postecoglou in the Champions League group stage. With just 30 minutes on the clock, the Chelsea star was played in behind Celtic’s defense and found the top right corner with a brilliant left-footed strike.
A month later, Mudryk struck again with another impressive goal against Postecoglou’s Celtic at Celtic Park in the return fixture. On that occasion, Shakhtar executed a counterattack, and Mudryk drove into Celtic’s half, cut inside from the left wing, and unleashed a fierce shot into the top right corner.
Mudryk has now exposed Postecoglou’s teams on two separate occasions, and he’ll be eager to exploit the Australian manager’s defensive approach on Monday night. Pochettino, when questioned about how he intends to enhance his team’s scoring record, emphasized the importance of building confidence and finding the right mindset. He expressed optimism that the team’s young players would adapt to the high demands of Chelsea and eventually deliver improved results.