The Chelsea forward collected a pass from Everton defender Vitaly Mykolenko, before showcasing his individual brilliance to shrug off his marker and rifling a ferocious effort that nestled into the bottom corner.
Mudryk’s 85th-minute strike was his first for his country, coming 15 days after he bagged his maiden goal in Chelsea colours with a clean finish in the 2-0 win over Fulham.
Since arriving at Stamford Bridge in January last year, Mudryk has struggled to live up to expectations, with form and confidence proving a rare commodity for the Ukrainian.
Often crumbling under the weight of his enormous price tag, the former Shakhtar Donetsk prodigy has shown flashes of his brilliance but is yet to reach the heights he achieved with his former employers.
However, there are signs that the tide is turning in Mudryk’s favour, particularly following his recent goal-scoring exploits for club and country.
In addition to his sensational strike against Malta, Mudryk produced a decent performance all-round, boasting an 83% pass completion rate and was heavily involved in proceedings with 72 touches.
He completed two of his three attempted long balls, had a 50% success rate in ground battles, and won a penalty, while three of his five shots hit the target.
Mudryk stands on the precipice of regaining his previous form that earned him recognition from the Premier League’s heavy hitters and will hope to maintain his resurgence when facing former admirers Arsenal.
However, English duo Raheem Sterling and Cole Palmer pose a stumbling block to his place in Mauricio Pochettino’s starting XI following their performance in the recent 4-1 victory over Burnley.
Sterling was particularly eye-catching as he was heavily involved in all four goals.
He forced an own goal from Ameen Al-Dakhil, won a penalty and netted a goal while Palmer orchestrated the play on the opposite flank.
Pochettino is well within his rights to forge ahead with the pair on both flanks, but that leaves Mudryk having to settle for a spot on the bench.
The manager could opt to deploy Palmer in the number ten role, shift Sterling to the right and slot in Mudryk on the left.
However, this tactical adjustment may require benching stand-in skipper Conor Gallagher, who has been one of Chelsea’s standout performers this season.
Of every Chelsea player to have clocked up 400+ minutes of football, Gallagher boasts the highest WhoScored rating (7.17).
The Englishman has also won possession more times in the attacking third (13) than any other player in the Premier League, which further emphasises his importance to Pochettino’s style of play.
Lining up alongside Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo in the middle of the park, Gallagher adds physicality and energy to Chelsea’s midfield, establishing him as a pivotal member of Pochettino’s line-up.
Chelsea are currently enjoying a resurgence, securing three consecutive wins in all competitions for the first time since Graham Potter’s early days at the club.
With the defensive set-up already sorted, Pochettino faces a welcome selection headache concerning his attacking options for the upcoming Arsenal clash.
As a man with several points to prove, Mudryk will be itching for a place in the starting XI, and supporters will be watching with keen interest to see how Pochettino’s line-up for the Arsenal game unfolds.
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