When Nicolas Jackson was signed by Chelsea for €38 million during the summer transfer window, many expected that Chelsea would also bring in a striker with greater experience. Vlahovic of Juventus was hotly pursued, but no deal for the Serbian international materialised before the transfer window closed. After passing on Vlahovic, a few other names—including Napoli star Victor Osimhen—were mentioned, but Chelsea never pursued another forward seriously.
Given the presence of Jackson, Armando Broja, and Christopher Nkunku, even their pursuit of the Juve guy was not entirely sincere. After suffering an ACL injury against the same opposition in a friendly during the World Cup break, Broja, 21, made his first appearance in a Chelsea jersey since 2022 on the bench during Chelsea’s 1-0 loss to Aston Villa on Sunday. The Albanian, who is still getting back to full shape, is far from experienced and shouldn’t be expected to lead the line just yet.
Nkunku played up front for RB Leipzig on a regular basis, but during preseason, he was largely used as a No. 10 or off the left wing. The Frenchman did serve as Chelsea’s primary striker, but due to a knee injury, he hasn’t appeared in any Premier League games. Jackson has started every league game for Chelsea thus far this season because to the injuries to Broja and Nkunku, and the only game in which he has not played the full 90 minutes is the 3-0 victory over Luton Town. It was a lot to expect of Jackson, a 22-year-old who made just 16 La Liga starts for Villarreal the previous season, to take the lead at Stamford Bridge.
Although his link play, mobility, and pushing have all been of the greatest calibre so far in the Premier League, his finishing and lack of experience have let him down. The Senegal international has only registered one goal in his first six matches, and as a result of his accumulation of cautions, he now faces a one-game suspension. Jackson has shown great promise, and Chelsea will be hoping that he can succeed in the future given that his transfer fee was relatively low in today’s market, but his problems in front of goal have been obvious.
Jackson’s first few months at Chelsea have essentially summed up the Blues’ season thus far: there have been many promising moments, but ultimately there has been a lack of experience, some naivete, and no finishing touch. Only Ollie Watkins has a worse track record of underperforming on expected goals (xG) through the first five Premier League games than Jackson. Over the course of his first five games in the English top tier, the Chelsea player had scored just once from an xG of 3.3.
Watkins then made amends for that by scoring the game’s lone goal in Sunday’s 1-0 victory for Villa over Chelsea. Jackson now has the worst xG underperformance in the 2023–24 Premier League season of any player. The club’s difficulties at the start of the new season are exemplified by Jackson’s lack of a clinical edge, despite the fact that all underlying data indicate Chelsea will eventually turn things around.
The Blues should be vying for Champions League football after spending more than €1 billion over three transfer windows while being owned by Todd Boehly, but instead they are mired in 14th place with only one victory in six league games. Mauricio Pochettino will be under pressure at the Bridge because he has issues to answer given that his team has only scored five points so far this season.
The Chelsea supporters believe that things must soon change since they are not happy with his team selections, particularly his ongoing employment of Levi Colwill at left-back. His youthful team, though, lacks the required expertise and a dependable goal scorer. Chelsea can certainly create chances, but unless that problem is resolved, they will continue to play in the bottom echelons of the Premier League.
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.
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
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
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.
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, football.london 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, football.london 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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- Confirmed Chelsea line up vs Newcastle: Lesley Ugochukwu replaces Moises Caicedo as Palmer start with Gallagher in Midfield #NEWCHE
- How Palmer and Reece James Have Complemented Each Other in Chelsea’s Lineup This Season
- Chelsea eye double £156m transfer swoop as Todd Boehly faces Saudi Arabia questioning
- Chelsea XI vs Newcastle: Nkunku injury latest, confirmed team news, predicted lineup for Premier League today
- Strongest Chelsea line up with Christopher Nkunku to take attack to the next level