Phil Foden and Callum Hudson-Odoi impress on full Premier League debuts for Man City and Chelsea
Foden hit woodwork, Hudson-Odoi produced assist
England’s rising stars Phil Foden and Callum Hudson-Odoi made their first-ever Premier League starts on Wednesday.
Foden made his full league debut for his boyhood club Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, hitting the post and going close on several other occasions during the 2-0 defeat of Cardiff, while Hudson-Odoi was trusted from the off in Chelsea’s home game with Brighton and repaid boss Maurizio Sarri by setting up the Blues’ first in a 3-0 win.
What was said before kick-off?
Phil Foden: “I’m trying to keep focused. I’ve been waiting for this moment. I’m trying to help the lads tonight but I’ll just enjoy it and play with a smile on my face.”
Man City boss Pep Guardiola: “For a guy who is 18 years old he has a lot of minutes this season. Today he has an opportunity but we have no doubts that he’s able to play to his quality.”
How did they play?
Foden had a few nice touches early on but failed to stamp his mark on the game in the early stages as City built the majority of their attacks through Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez. It took half an hour for Foden to settle, but it was worth the wait.
Fans were treated to a display of his ball-carrying skills as he picked up possession in midfield, drove forward and fired a left-footed shot a yard or so over. Foden then showed great close control to drive at the heart of the Cardiff defence before Lee Peltier brought him to ground before he could inflict more damage.
Hudson-Odoi, meanwhile, was man of the match. A constant threat throughout the 90 minutes, giving Chelsea energy and purpose they have been lacking in attack at times this season. The youngster created four chances for team-mates throughout the game, more than any other player on the Stamford Bridge pitch.
He was willing to run at defenders at any given opportunity, he constantly made himself available down the right, and gave Gaetan Bong plenty to ponder.
Foden’s second-half performance was a further illustration of the talent he possesses. The England U21 international created a great chance and could have scored three goals.
A flawless first touch on 51 minutes saw him take Fernandinho’s pass in his stride and, after fending off a Cardiff defender, he drew a fine save from Neil Etheridge. Foden then struck the woodwork from a corner before a long-range strike forced another decent save from Etheridge from 25 yards.
On another day Foden would have made it onto the scoresheet, but Etheridge – keen to atone for his role in De Bruyne’s opener – stood firm.
With Chelsea’s play ponderous once more, the Stamford Bridge faithful were growing restless early on, but Hudson-Odoi’s trickery and poise got him to the byline, before pulling a pinpoint cross back for Olivier Giroud to open the scoring.
From there-on-in, Chelsea never looked back. It is that direct play that fans have been yearning for under Sarri.