Graham Potter’s new Chelsea is unstoppable following Liverpool’s masterwork. Wesley Fofana’s issue
Following Chelsea’s goalless draw with Liverpool at Anfield, all eyes were rightly focused on Mykhailo Mudryk after his dazzling 35-minute cameo.
The Ukrainian made his debut at Anfield and made an immediate impact, almost winning the game with a magnificent solo run that resulted in him hitting the side-netting. It was a small indication of what the 22-year-old Mudryk is capable of, and it has delighted Chelsea fans all across the world.
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However, one man whose performance has almost been forgotten by some because of Mudryk’s exploits is Benoit Badiashile. The 21-year-old defender was signed by Chelsea earlier this month for around £34million, joining the club on a seven-and-a-half-year contract.
Badiashile made his Chelsea debut last weekend, scoring in a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge. While in possession, the young Frenchman displayed calm and serenity while also attempting multiple forward passes to try to bring Chelsea into some powerful attacking situations. You can’t ask for much more on your debut than a strong performance and a clean sheet.
Badiashile was expected to start against Anfield because of his performance at Stamford Bridge. That he did, once again with the great and experienced Thiago Silva.
It was a very different challenge against Liverpool, who have a more potent assault than Palace, although against an out-of-form Reds side. Badiashile, on the other hand, handled himself with grace and poise. It looked effortless.
Of course, having Silva nearby helps. Anyone would benefit from it; the Brazilian is that good. But respect to Badiashile for making his debut for Chelsea at such a young age. Also at Anfield.
He was physically dominant. Cody Gakpo, Liverpool’s substitute No. 9, was constantly pushed back if he wanted the ball because everytime it came the Dutchman’s way up the field, Badiashile or Silva would deal with it.
Badiashile was also a threat on the opposite end, winning many headers from set pieces in the Reds’ box. He should have scored his first goal for the club in the first half, but Alisson stopped his header.
The left-footed French centre-back has easily integrated into the Chelsea club, and it appears that he and Silva have the makings of a really solid connection at the heart of the defense. Such form, though, bodes ill for players like Kalidou Koulibaly and Wesley Fofana.
Before Badiashile’s arrival, Koulibaly was the man in the side, and the Senegal international was struggling, so a break from the team could help him. Meanwhile, Fofana is currently healing from a long-term injury.
The 22-year-old is undoubtedly a potential star, or Chelsea would not have paid £70 million – which might eventually increase to £80 million – for his services in August of last year. When he does heal, though, it could be some time before he comes back into the side with the way Badiashile is playing. Of course, a lot can happen in football between now and then, but if the Frenchman can continue his impressive form, then he should indeed stay in the team alongside Silva.