Marc Cucurella was fully written off but he’s leading the fight to get Chelsea back to the top.

Mauricio Pochettino has improved Conor Gallagher but it is the form of Marc Cucurella who turned down the chance to move to Newcastle and Manchester United in the summer that has caught the eye.

Chelsea are yet to lose a game that Cucurella has started this season and the Spanish defender who struggled after signing from Brighton is flourishing when playing either right-back or even left-back.

The 25-year-old has shut out the noise that came from his price tag and reminded many why Chelsea and Manchester City were neck-on-neck for his signature after his first season in the Premier.

After impressive performances against Fulham and Burnley, it was his best performance against Arsenal that is beginning to show that he deserves more respect and certainly now a place in the starting team.

Pochettino admitted he was happy to continue giving him minutes because was training well and most importantly playing well too.

The Chelsea boss said: “It’s a natural process. When we arrived here three months ago, some players were in a position where they maybe stay or maybe go.

“I didn’t know the past, I can only choose the players that we believe can perform. Marc and the club decided to stay in the last transfer window.

“He is training really well, that is why he playing like today, against a very good player like Saka.

“That is him, he deserves the credit because, in the last few months, he has worked hard and was able to play on the right side, yes, in this way, the only that can happen is the team will be better.”

Cucurella’s transformation started in the summer when he made it clear he didn’t want a move away when the easy choice would have been to go away and try somehwere else but instead, he worked hard and took his chance.

Against Wimbledon in the League Cup, the atmosphere was fragile, you got a sense the fans turned on every mistake he made but instead of shrink, in he expanded from it.

He then impressive heavily against his former side Brighton which gave birth to starts against Burnley and Fulham in the league where he was simply unbeatable in on-on-one duals.

It’s evident that he is on a mission but it is his mindset which has impressed the coaching team and he was one of the first to admit that drawing 2-2 after leading for larger parts of the game was a letdown.

He told reporters after the game: “I know we drew the game but it feels like a loss because we were in control. We played very well, everybody put in a good performance but we need to improve in controlling the game better because we should have seen the result out and got the win.”

Top players are constantly improving and seeing Cucurella, taking in criticism and flourishing when he was literally being forced out is the turning point Chelsea might need if they are to meet targets.

Early days yet but from what has been displayed so far this season, it’s the rejected stones in Marc Cucurella and Conor Gallagher who are leading the fight to bring back the old Chelsea.

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