You never know. Mark Cucurella has exceeded expectations at right fullback instead of his usual left fullback position.

Chelsea defeated Fulham 2-0 in the seventh round of the 2023-24 Premier League (PL) at Craven Cottage in London, England, at 4 a.m. ET on Wednesday. The win leaves Chelsea in 11th place in the league with two wins, two draws, and three defeats (8 points), while also securing their first league win in four games.

Mauricio Pochettino once again started Kukurela at right fullback. Cucurella is a left-back from Barcelona. He grew up with Lee Seung-woo and Baek Seung-ho at Barcelona, but it was during his loan spells at Eibar and Getafe that he really shined. After a permanent move to Getafe, Cucurella became a top-level left-back in Spanish La Liga and joined Brighton in the PL in 2021.

He quickly became a hot commodity with the Seagulls. Chelsea snapped him up for a whopping €65.3 million. When he joined Brighton from Getafe just over a year ago, his transfer fee was €18 million. Within a year, his price tag had skyrocketed, and while he seemed to have established himself at Chelsea as a first-team regular, he lacked the mobility and quality offensively that he had shown at Brighton. He looked colorless and was pushed aside by Ben Chilwell. 먹튀검증

This season, he lost his place to Levi Colwill. There was talk of him not being in Pochettino’s plans and he was coveted by Manchester United in the summer after losing Luke Shaw to injury. There was talk of a loan, but Kukurela stayed and Tottenham Hotspur’s Sergio Reguilon went instead. Kukurela was more comfortable on the bench than starting. Pochettino prioritized Colwill and Chilwell, and even after Chilwell was injured, he left the left side to Colwill.

Cucurella won the starting spot in an unexpected way. He started at right-back instead of left-back. With Leith James out with a long-term injury and Marlo Gusto out with an accumulation of cautions, Pochettino experimented with Cucurella on the right side of defense. In the EFL Cup against Brighton at right fullback, Kukurela earned a passing grade as he completely shut down Kaoru Mitoma.