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Carney Chukwuemeka boost, tactical hint – three things spotted in Chelsea training for Fulham



Chelsea news as Mauricio Pochettino welcomes two stars back into training ahead of Fulham with other moments from Cobham spotted including a tactical hint

Chelsea are aiming to kick-start their Premier League season as they travel the short distance across west London to neighbours Fulham. For Mauricio Pochettino it is the perfect chance to secure what would be the first case of back-to-back wins since he took charge.

After a week of injuries and some off-field drama through Noni Madueke, he will be hoping to come through the game unscathed and in a position to attack the final fixture before an international break that might bring some luck in terms of returning players. The task first up is to get just a second win in the league.

Pochettino will be working without both of his star full-backs as Reece James and Ben Chilwell once more find themselves sidelined through injury. It leaves him with a dilemma in defence over just what selection he goes with, meanwhile there are also questions in attack.

Nicolas Jackson is suspended for the game having picked up five yellow cards in opening six games, leaving Pochettino without a first team striker fit enough to play 90 minutes. Armando Broja has come back into the mix but is not yet ready to start a game whilst Deivid Washington is still inexperienced and hasn’t made an appearance for the first team.

There is also a dilemma in the backline with who features in right-back and left-back due to Malo Gusto’s own absence after the red card he got against Aston Villa. It has left Pochettino once more scrambling around to make the most of his options and there are some interesting things to pick out from training that could give a hint as to the manager’s thinking.

Madueke involved

It hasn’t been a great week for Madueke. After missing out on the squad against Bournemouth following the last set of international fixtures he was then left out of the defeat to Aston Villa with more injury concerns. Pochettino then dropped the bombshell that it was simply a selection decision that cost him the place against Brighton.

He admitted that images of Madueke out partying whilst he was injured was the reason behind it, but the player has been back in training all week and is now expected to be in contention. The 21-year-old will be aiming to get back in his manager’s good books in the coming weeks and that starts in training. He was seen dribbling past Alex Matos and Washington in a drill.

Cucurella impact

The big surprise of Wednesday night, Cucurella is now in a position he didn’t expect. There is a chance that the 25-year-old will not only get a first Premier League appearance of the season away to Fulham but it might start a run in the side.

With the injury to Ben Chilwell and Ian Maatsen largely being used as an attacker, Cucurella is in contention to play once more despite not being favoured by Pochettino. Now he has an extra point to prove in training and was seen sprinting at Cobham.

Hair trailing him and in the slipstream, he pumped his arms and put in the effort just as he did throughout the win over Brighton. Next step for Cucurella, doing the same thing at Craven Cottage on Monday night.

Chukwuemeka returns

Alongside Madueke, but for different reasons, there was finally a return to training for Carney Chukwuemeka this week. The 19-year-old hasn’t played since the 3-1 defeat to West Ham, a game he played only for 45 minutes before hobbling off injured.

Now he is back in training and has been pictured dribbling away from Enzo Fernandez. He was also seen looking to get on the end of a pass from Broja and may well be hoping to do just that next time out. With Cole Palmer taking advantage of his first start in blue there is great competition for places in the attack but Chukwuemeka had made the spot his own during the early weeks of the season and has ambitions of doing the same again.

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Confirmed Chelsea line up vs Newcastle: Lesley Ugochukwu replaces Moises Caicedo as Palmer start with Gallagher in Midfield #NEWCHE




Mauricio Pochettino makes two changes to his Chelsea team for today’s game at Newcastle.

Benoit Badiashile comes in for his compatriot Axel Disasi in the heart of defence, while Lesley Ugochukwu replaces Moises Caicedo.

Otherwise, it is the same starting XI that began the 4-4 draw against Manchester City prior to the international break

That means Reece James, Thiago Silva and Marc Cucurella join Badiashile at the back, ahead of Robert Sanchez. Enzo Fernandezand Conor Gallagher continue in midfield, with Raheem Sterling and Cole Palmer supplying the width in attack, either side of Nicolas Jackson.

WhatsApp Image 2023 11 25 at 13 53 04

Caicedo and Levi Colwill, who was injured during the recent break, are among those named on the bench.

Alexander Isak returns for Newcastle after injury, but there is no Sean Longstaff.

Chelsea: Sanchez; James (c), Thiago Silva, Badiashile, Cucurella, Enzo, Ugochukwu, Gallagher, Palmer, Jackson, Sterling

Subs: Petrovic, Colwill, Disasi, Maatsen, Caicedo, Matos, Madueke, Mudryk, Broja

Newcastle: Pope, Livramento, Lascelles (c), Schar, Trippier, Guimaraes, Miley, Almiron, Joelinton, Isak, Gordon

Subs: Dubravka, Gillespie, Karius, Dummett, Ritchie, Diallo, Murphy, Ndiweni, Parkinson

Referee Simon Hooper

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How Palmer and Reece James Have Complemented Each Other in Chelsea’s Lineup This Season




Reece James just returned to action for Chelsea this season after recovering from an injury that kept him on the sidelines for weeks but the synergy between the Chelsea Skipper and Cole Palmer has emerged as a pivotal factor in Chelsea’s recent impressive performance.

Their relationship on the pitch showcases a dynamic partnership that has been significantly impacting the team’s overall performance.

One key element of this collaboration is the strategic placement of Cole Palmer in the middle, operating behind the striker.

This positioning capitalizes on Palmer’s unique skill set, acknowledging that he may not possess the blistering pace or sheer physicality to excel in isolated one-on-one situations with defenders.

Instead, Palmer’s strength lies in his ability to receive the ball on the half-turn, exhibiting clever passes that ignite the team’s attacking prowess.

Palmer’s fluid style, characterized by his adept use of pockets and floating movements, creates a symbiotic relationship with Reece James.

James, a versatile right-back, benefits from Palmer’s strategic play by having the freedom to occupy the wing.

This tactical understanding not only maximizes Palmer’s strengths but also amplifies James’s impact on the game.

What becomes evident in this partnership is Palmer essentially playing as a number 10, operating in a role that aligns with his capabilities and enhances the team’s attacking dynamics.

By strategically placing Palmer in a central position, Chelsea leverages his playmaking abilities, allowing him to orchestrate the flow of the game and provide crucial link-up play between the midfield and the strikers.

The tactical harmony between Palmer and James is not just about individual brilliance but also about how their styles complement each other seamlessly.

Palmer’s intelligent movements and distribution empower James to venture forward with confidence, creating a fluid and dynamic attacking unit for Chelsea

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Chelsea eye double £156m transfer swoop as Todd Boehly faces Saudi Arabia questioning




Catch all the biggest Chelsea headlines, including updates on Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Todd Boehly’s questionable transfers and Benoit Badiashile

Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia
Chelsea are interested in Napoli duo Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia

Here is your morning Chelsea digest on Friday, November 24.

Kvaratskhelia interest
Chelsea have reportedly joined the race to sign Napoli superstar Khvicha Kvaratskhelia amid ongoing uncertainty over his long-term future with the Italian champions.

According to ESPN, Chelsea have joined the likes of Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Newcastle United in holding an interest in Kvaratskhelia. Sources have told the outlet that Napoli value their star player in excess of €100million (£87million) and are hoping to fend off interest with a new and improved contract.

However, as the November international break has proven, Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations aren’t to be messed with and the Blues must get their finances in order to avoid any additional punishment. Todd Boehly has spent over £1billion on new signings since completing his takeover in 2022 and currently has a net spend of over £692million.

Kvaratskhelia isn’t the only Napoli player on Chelsea’s radar, with Victor Osimhen also on Pochettino’s list. However, the pair are worth a combined €180m (£156m) by CIES Football Observatory.

Saudi Arabia transfers questioned
Former Premier League defender Gary Neville has questioned Chelsea’s transfer dealings with Saudi Arabian clubs last summer amid the ongoing threat of Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.

Ahead of the 2023/24 season, three players left Stamford Bridge to join the Saudi Pro League. N’Golo Kante’s seven-year stay in west London came to an end with a move to Al-Ittihad while Kalidou Koulibaly and Edouard Mendy joined Al-Hilal and Al-Ahli respectively.

Speaking on the Stick to Football podcast, brought to you by Sky Bet, he said: “I have no problem with Saudi Arabia setting up their league and spending as much money as they wish, but I did call for some sort of investigation into the deals Chelsea were doing when they were dumping players onto Saudi Arabian teams at the start of the season.

“It felt as though, to me, it needed a little bit of a look at – you can smell that something is not right.”

Badiashile going nowhere
Chelsea supporters have nothing to worry about in regards to Benoit Badiashile amid reported interest from AC Milan and AS Roma, understands.

According to Calciomercato, the two Italian clubs are keen on signing the central defender ahead of the January transfer window. Milan are without Pierre Kalulu and Marco Pellegrino due to injuries and are doing their best to replace them in the winter.

The report says that the Italian duo want to sign Badiashile on loan, but the defender will be staying at Stamford Bridge for the foreseeable future, understands. Badiashile’s focus is on Chelsea and getting back into the first-team and he has no intention to move elsewhere at this moment in time.

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