Competition for places in Chelsea’s attack has never been stiffer.
The Blues already boasted one of the most potent forward lines in the Premier League, but the addition of Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech broadened Frank Lampard’s options even further. Nobody is assured of their place in the team.
It’s therefore important that when opportunities arise, they are grasped. Callum Hudson-Odoi did this with his goalscoring performance against Rennes on Tuesday night, finding the back of the net as Chelsea clinched their place in the Champions League last 16 with a 2-1 win. The 21-year-old reminded Lampard that even with so much expensive attacking talent at Stamford Bridge, he shouldn’t be overlooked.
Hudson-Odoi wasted little time in making a good impression against Rennes, putting a goalscoring opportunity on a plate for Werner after just three minutes. His first-time, right-footed cross into the six-yard box was perfect. The German striker somehow managed to send his close range shot over the bar when he should have found the back of the net as. Hudson-Odoi was denied an assist.
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Not long after that, Hudson-Odoi found the back of the net himself. The 20-year-old spotted the opportunity to run in behind the Rennes defence after the hosts were caught high up the pitch. Mason Mount spotted his teammate’s run and put the ball in his path with an excellent pass from deep. Hudson-Odoi still had a lot to do from there, but showed composure to slot a low finish past the goalkeeper.
Ben Chilwell provided Chelsea with width down the left side, pushing high up the pitch and permitting Werner to cut inside to link up with Tammy Abraham. On the right side, though, it was up to Hudson-Odoi to provide a wide outlet, with Cesar Azpilicueta far more reserved in his attacking ambition down the flank.
Rennes found a strong foothold…