The Blues beat Fulham with goals from Mykhailo Mudryk and Armando Broja. This was only their second league win of the season.
Since joining Chelsea for £89 million from Shakhtar Donetsk in January, Mudryk has had a mixed time at Stamford Bridge. However, his performance in the first half looked like it could be a turning point in his Chelsea career.
In the 18th minute, the Ukrainian gave the away team the lead when he caught Levi Colwill’s chipped cross with his chest and put the ball past Bernd Leno.
Broja scored a goal for Chelsea a minute later, giving them a 2-0 lead. It was his first goal since October 2022, when he hurt his knee badly, and it helped Chelsea move up to 11th in the Premier League.
Fulham didn’t do much, and Sasa Lukic’s shot from inside the six-yard box in the second half was their best chance. However, Robert Sanchez saved it well.
Mudryk was taken off at halftime because he hurt his quad, but manager Mauricio Pochettino was hoping that the winger would be able to play on Saturday at Burnley.
Have faith in Mudryk
This was Mudryk’s third start in a row, and the 22-year-old looked like he was getting better with every game. He was always a threat in the first half.
Pochettino has said that Mudryk’s confidence needs to be boosted, so he has been playing the “crossbar challenge” with the player after practice to help. It seems to be working.
Mudryk has only played 24 games for Chelsea, but at times it has seemed like he wasn’t sure of what to do. In this game, however, he was very sure of himself, as shown by the way he finished Colwill’s pass.
Pochettino said that Misha Mudryk played because he has shown in practice that he deserved to.
“He was very focused, and the way he did in practice gave us the confidence to put him on the field.” Misha and Armando should be happy.
“Misha scored his first goal in the Premier League, and Armando scored again after a long time out. The competition is great for the team.”
“Young people need time to adjust, and Misha has been through a lot of changes since he moved here.
“Settling down isn’t easy. It has to do with time and waiting. It’s about putting your faith in these young, skilled players.”
Chelsea dominated the first half, even though they were missing striker Nicolas Jackson and defender Malo Gusto because they were suspended. Cole Palmer also did well in his first league game since joining Chelsea from Manchester City.
Pochettino was glad he had Broja to call on in place of Jackson, especially when the striker took advantage of some sloppy defense by Fulham to make it 2-0 soon after Mudryk scored the first goal.
Tim Ream, the Fulham center back, gave the ball to Palmer and then kicked the Chelsea forward’s pass into Broja’s raised foot, which sent the ball back into the goal.
Broja, who is 22 years old and from Albania, has only scored twice for Chelsea. He is still getting back into shape after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in December.
At the end of the first half, Raul Jimenez’s header from a corner went well wide of Sanchez’s goal. This was Fulham’s best chance of the first half.
As Chelsea tried to score a third goal in the second half, Mudryk was replaced by Ian Maatsen, who hit the Fulham post.
The last 15 minutes could have gone very differently if Lukic had made a better close-range shot when Tom Cairney sent him a pass in the Chelsea area, but in the end, Chelsea held on easily.