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Why Reece James was my MOTM and Odoi’s goal was not Saturday’s proof of his resurgence

Chelsea returned to winning ways at home with a dominant 3-0 victory over an underwhelming Burnley. It was their first victory since a 2-...

Chelsea returned to winning ways at home with a dominant 3-0 victory over an underwhelming Burnley. It was their first victory since a 2-1 win over Aston Villa on December 4. It was a much-needed result in front of the home fans.

However, the victory was not the only good thing to take out of that game. In fact, on the back of recent disappointing results, the 90 performance from specific players was a reminder of just how much-untapped talent Chelsea still has in their tank.

This certainly wasn’t the team’s best performance so far this season but two academy graduates particularly stood out for their contribution in the game.

Callum Hudson Odoi scored Chelsea’s second goal of the game but that goal isn’t what has earned him recognition in this article. Since his return from injury, 19-year old Odoi has been a far shadow of himself. Despite already hitting the back of the net in cup competitions, his performances were far from convincing with the youngster clumsily turning over possession severally and even directly causing the team to drop points along the way.

His poor performances resulted in several fans calling for him to be sent out on loan and rightly so.

Pulisic’s unfortunate absence meant an opportunity for the England international and I dare say, he took it with both hands.

At the end of the game, Lampard defended his selection which had raised a lot of eyebrows before kickoff. He insisted his decision was down to improving on the side’s recent attacking quality on the pitch and Odoi certainly did prove him right.

On Saturday, we saw a Callum Hudson Odoi that feels the trust of the manager, took upon himself the responsibility of creating for the team and showed flashes of his highly sort after talent. He is not the finished product yet especially off the ball, but we were able to see his mentality as he keeps working towards his perfect form. His energy and confidence on the ball was one of a hungry player ready to be thrown into the deep as the decision-maker.

He also made considerable improvement in his defensive contribution, an attribute he is yet to fully imbibe into his game and is one of the reasons Willian is ahead of him and every other winger in the team. He seemed to be finally getting the message.

At the end of the game, Lampard said: “This was the real Callum Hudson Odoi today and what he can be”. I agree with the boss, but not entirely. This was the best Callum Hudson Odoi we’ve seen this season and I know he can be more.

Reece James was another player that dictated the game through the right-wing, hugely contributing beyond his primary duty of protecting the goalpost. He was my man of the match not in the least because of his assist for Odoi’s goal but his many other contributions, especially in attack. His confidence has continued to grow with each minute he has played on the pitch and his ability is clear to see. He created the most chances (4), had the third-highest number of shots (3), two behind Willian in first. He made 48 accurate passes (81% success rate) with 27 of those coming in the opposition half all these while playing as a 19-year old right back. A Man of the Match performance.

Although the teenager still needs to improve including in his sense of urgency while on the ball, sometimes he comes off as too lackadaisical on the ball, he has continued to grow into the men’s game in his first attempt at the Premier League. Many Chelsea fans who were unable to watch him last season on his way to winning the player of the year as a loan player, can now see what his game is all about. He is unarguably and by far the best crosser of the ball currently at the club and does a good job of sending them flying in a number of times in every game. The dream of most attackers. Hopefully, Abraham and the rest of the team will get used to his game and begin to convert those chances.

Written by Sylvia @RoyalBlueChels1

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