Chelsea fell to a 1-0 defeat against Borussia Dortmund at the Signal Iduna Park on Wednesday night in a Champions League knockout tie first leg that compounded the club’s issues after a lucrative spending spree.
The loss in Germany signalled a new depth of obscurity for the Blues, who have now found victory in just two of their past 14 matches across all competitions; boss Graham Potter is reportedly relatively safe within his job, but further misfortune might force the hand of owner Todd Boehly, who could enforce the second managerial dismissal of the season.
And while the round-of-16 tie hangs firmly in the balance – Chelsea welcome Dortmund to Stamford Bridge in three weeks time – Chelsea’s most favourable route to a resurgent end to the campaign could wither and wilt if a turnaround does not occur.
The result is particularly chastening considering it is now the fourth match across all competitions that has left the west London outfit chasing victory since the respective arrivals of Mykhaylo Mudryk from Shakhtar Donetsk, who signed for £88.5m, and World Cup winner Enzo Fernandez, whose £107m transfer from SL Benfica broke the British transfer record, with the former the first to appear in the 0-0 draw against Liverpool.
How did Mykhaylo Mudryk do against Dortmund?
Despite sparking life into that cameo introduction at Anfield, Mudryk has failed to stoke the fire that the hordes of Chelsea faithful are still awaiting, with the 22-year-old still searching for his first direct contribution after four matches.
Will Mudryk become world-class at Chelsea?
There were promising signs collectively against the German Bundesliga opposition, but there were certainly a few lacklustre showings, and while goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga didn’t forge his greatest display, it was indeed Mudryk who could have made a difference, had he performed to the best of his ability.
And against the Yellow Wall, Mudryk could only muster a match rating of 6.6, as per Sofascore, with no outfield player on the pitch falling to a lower score, and managed just one blocked shot.
Completing just 1o passes – 61% of his total attempts – Mudryk did create two key chances, but that was about the extent of his success; winning five of his ten duels, the winger, who “wasn’t there” against Dortmund according to ESPN reporter Jeff Bozello, also failed with both of his attempted crosses and lost possession 14 times.
For Shakhtar, the “frightening” gem – as dubbed by journalist Josh Bunting – was in scintillating form this term for his homeland outfit, scoring ten goals and supplying eight assists from 19 appearances across all competitions and subsequently earning the intense bidding war between Arsenal and the Blues.
But he has indeed not quite found the key to unlock the potential that left his towering price tag erected at such a lofty height, and has only forged a lowly average Premier League rating of 6.57 across his first three fixtures in the English top-flight, and his wayward fortunes thus far in Chelsea colours are incongruous against the expectations for such a lucrative and talented young gem.
There is quality and exuberance in abundance just awaiting apt channelling for Mudryk, but thus far, the Ukrainian whiz has failed to make a positive impact on Chelsea’s travails.
It’s not quite going to plan for Boehly and co, and the Blues now require a monumental effort to overturn the deficit in the Champions League, and Mudryk will be expected to ramp up the gas for the pivotal clash.