Mykhailo Mudryk came on as a second half substitute against Arsenal on Tuesday evening, but not before the Sky Sports cameras picked up on Arsenal fans shining a laser pen in the winger’s face on two separate occasions. Mudryk had been destined to sign for the Gunners earlier this year, only for Chelsea to hijack his move and bring him to west London instead. The Ukraine international has made a disappointing start to his Stamford Bridge career and shown only fleeting glimpses of the ability that persuaded Chelsea to pay nearly £90million for his services.
Mudryk entered the fray with his side in a pretty hapless situation, trailing 3-1 after a wretched first 45 minutes. Noni Madueke had hauled his side back into the contest and Mudryk looked the player most likely to spark a real comeback with a couple of exciting bursts. Thankfully, Mudryk showed no ill-effects after the laser incident.
Martin Odegaard scored twice in the opening 31 minutes to underline the gap between the two London rivals. ‘Especially the first half was brilliant,’ said the Arsenal captain. ‘We came out and showed a different spirit to last time [the 4-1 loss to Manchester City]. We used the anger and the disappointment to get back into this game. You can lose games but the way we lost, we didn’t play our game and weren’t ourselves, that was the most painful thing, and we wanted to show a different side and we definitely did.’
Odegaard continued, ‘I just try to help the team. This year I’ve scored more goals, Granit with two good passes and that made it easier. I just tried to be in the right area and as soon as I see him attacking the space I just have to be in the right place. In the second half we didn’t keep the ball enough. They went a bit more direct and after the duels we didn’t keep the ball. We have to fight and keep going. We believe and will fight until the end.’