Arsenal and Chelsea were in Europa League action last night.
The Gunners were in Ukraine, where they beat Vorskla Poltava 3-0 with goals from youngsters Emile Smith Rowe and Joe Willock coming either side of an Aaron Ramsey penalty. Unai Emery opted to play a rotated team, with him clearly having more than one eye on Sunday’s north London derby. He left all his big players at home, unsurprisingly.
Emery gave chances to plenty of young players, and they seemingly took their chance. They’ll get another chance to shine in the group’s final game, as Arsenal now have the group won. They face Qarabag at the Emirates in a couple of weeks.
Chelsea played PAOK at Stamford Bridge and won 4-0. The Greek side had a lad sent off after just seven minutes. An Olivier Giroud double was followed by goals from Callum Hudson-Odoi and Alvaro Morata, with Hudson-Odoi also claiming an assist for Morata’s goal. The 18-year-old winger is a very exciting prospect, and it was good to see him get 90 minutes last night. But Maurizio Sarri doesn’t believe that hes ready to play in the Premier League yet.
“I don’t know if Hudson-Odoi is able for the Premier League at 18, especially in a big team,” Sarri said. “If he’s good enough to play in a big team in the Premier League at 18 then he could be the best player in Europe in two years. I think he played very well but the type of match was for his characteristics as they had 10 men after seven minutes. We only needed to play in the offensive phase, he’s very able to do this but I want to see him in a match when he has to play in a defensive phase.”
That’s more than once that Sarri has spoken about Hudson-Odoi defensively. He must feel that he doesn’t do enough and they could be caught out by that. But with him being just 18, that’s understandable. The winger has much more developing to do, and he’ll get better and better. Chelsea have to be patient with him, but they also have to give him chances to play whenever they can. He has all the potential to be a really good player for them in the future.
Cardiff vs Wolves
Cardiff host Wolves at the Cardiff City Stadium tonight, with their game set to kick off at 8pm. That could be a good game. Cardiff have actually been a lot better than I expected them to be, and maybe they won’t be the relegation certs that everyone expected them to be. It’s likely they’ll still go down, but it looks as though they’ll fight all the way. I don’t think they can be completely written off just yet. If they manage to win tonight, they’ll climb out of the bottom three. They’re currently 19th, but a win would see them rise to 15th. It’s very tight down there.
Wolves earned plenty of plaudits in the early weeks of the season, but have really dropped off recently. Nuno Espirito Santo’s team have managed to pick up just one point from their last five games. They’re still 11th in the table, but will be really disappointed with how things have gone in recent weeks. They’d like to be much higher than that, but it’s still early days. The newly promoted side will come good again and climb the table, surely. There are too many good players there for them to continue struggling.
The game really could go either way tonight. It’s a difficult one to predict. Cardiff will feel that they can win this one, given Wolves’ form. It could be a very important three points for Neil Warnock’s side if they do manage to win it.
Anyway, that’s that for this morning’s blog. I didn’t manage to get that in-depth piece written yet, but I’m going to start working on it now and should have it up by this afternoon at some stage. I’m off work today so that’s why I can get it done. For some reason, I’ve had a shocker all week when it comes to getting up on time. I’ve had time to write the blog, but not enough time to do much else. I don’t really know why, but I have to sort it out.
Anyway, I’ll get that up as soon as I can. It’s on the history of the north London derby. And if you haven’t read it yet, last week’s was on the history of the rivalry between Tottenham and Chelsea.
I’ll leave it there for now. I’ll be back tomorrow with a blog looking forward to the rest of the weekend’s games. Have a good Friday!