Chelsea: Mykhailo Mudryk's lack of belief leaves Mauricio Pochettino with a tough decision

Chelsea: Mykhailo Mudryk's lack of belief leaves Mauricio Pochettino with a tough decision

In the 95th minute at Wembley on Saturday, a free-kick from Mykhailo Mudryk pretty much summed up his Chelsea career so far.

With the Blues chasing an equaliser in their FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City and needing a quality delivery into the box with their last chance, Mudryk over-hit his cross straight out for a goal-kick.

Mudryk was not to blame for the 1-0 defeat, but that moment encapsulated his struggles.

The 23-year-old will be back in the spotlight when he faces Arsenal, the club he was poised to join in January last year before Chelsea hijacked the deal. Mudryk can expect a frosty reception at Emirates Stadium, but Chelsea might need him to step up as a matchwinner if Cole Palmer does not recover from illness.

It is still too early to write off Mudryk as a flop, and if the £62million signing is on his game, then he could cause Arsenal problems — although it is not certain that he will start.

Mudryk’s speed is an obvious weapon, and when he is confident he can be a goal threat. But he is clearly low on confidence and Mauricio Pochettino is still not convinced by his defensive work and tactical naivety.

Those doubts mean Mudryk is not guaranteed to start, even though Palmer may miss the match. If Palmer is out, then Pochettino must decide whether to use Mudryk or Raheem Sterling in place of the England international.

Sterling’s lack of form means he has not started a match since the March international break. Crucially, though, Sterling has the experience and tactical knowledge to play in a big game.

There may be part of Mudryk that wonders whether things would have been different had he moved to north London instead. There is little doubt that a more stable team structure and environment would have helped him adapt to English football.

The Gunners were reeling when they missed out on Mudryk, but there are no Arsenal fans who would rather have him than Leandro Trossard.

Since his £27m move from Brighton, Trossard has 15 goals and 12 assists in 63 games for Arsenal. In contrast, Mudryk has just six goals and four assists in 52 for Chelsea.