Christopher Nkunku will be hoping to mark his return from injury later this season with a piece of silverware
Christopher Nkunku was delighted to see Chelsea progress into the Carabao Cup fourth round. Nicolas Jackson guided Mauricio Pochettino’s side to a 1-0 win over Brighton at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night while the former RB Leipzig star watched on from the stands.
Thiago Silva, Noni Madueke, Wesley Fofana, Carney Chukwuemeka, Benoit Badiashile and Reece James all joined Nkunku behind the home dugout as they showed their support for their Blues teammates. While they weren’t be able to offer their services on the pitch, their support will have been appreciated by the likes of Alfie Gilchrist, Josh Brooking and Alex Matos, who were called up from the academy to feature on the bench.
After the game, Nkunku marked the victory with a celebratory post to his Instagram story with the caption: “Next round [green tick and clapping emoji.” Chelsea will now lock horns with Blackburn Rovers in the fourth round on Wednesday, November 1.
While the France international is yet to make his competitive debut for Chelsea since joining earlier this summer, he’ll be desperate to get his hands on some silverware upon his return from injury. Nkunku was dealt a blow to his knee during the west Londoner’s final pre-season clash against Borussia Dortmund.
The 25-year-old forward has since undergone an operation and he’s now stepped up his rehabilitation with Chelsea’s medical department. It’s believed that Nkunku could still be out for a while yet, handing the Blues a major blow to their hopes of securing a Champions League qualification place this term.
However, if Pochettino manages to stay in the Carabao Cup, the Frenchman could mark his return from the treatment room with a bang. The Carabao Cup quarter-final is set to be played the week commencing December 18, with the semi-final kicking off in the second week of January.
The final will then be played on Sunday, February 25 2024. As it stands, it remains to be seen exactly when Nkunku could return from injury. Pochettino will be desperate to have him back in the starting lineup as soon as possible – especially if Chelsea can progress further into the Carabao Cup.
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