Thursday, December 7, 2023

Chelsea show signs of attacking improvement in crazy draw with Man City as Cole Palmer, Nicolas Jackson shine

When a new coach takes charge, it can take time for them to instill their system, especially if a team has undergone quite a bit of change. That’s been the case with Mauricio Pochettino taking charge at Chelsea, and following a 4-4 draw against Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, it’s a draw that feels more like a win as the Blues pushed the top team in the league to the brink. Chelsea were able to hit back each time City went ahead, and this result may be further proof that the Blues are blooming. 

There’s plenty of room for defensive improvement but with the attack finally clicking, Chelsea are trending up by the day. Pochettino is someone who can bring the best out of young players so it should be no surprise that Cole Palmer and Nicolas Jackson scoring goals were central to the result. The Blues spent all week being discredited for their win over a nine-man Tottenham side on Monday but with this result, they have to be taken seriously as a team that can take points off of top sides.

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The start of Chelsea’s season saw them fail to win four of their first five matches while underperforming their expected goals tally but since those first five matches, things have changed in a big way. The following six matches have seen Chelsea compile a 3-2-1 record picking up 11 points and rising into the top half of the table. There is a long way to go but not only will Jackson and Palmer’s form improving help but the return of Christopher Nkunku is around the corner after he was initially expected to be out until the new year.

Nkunku was the person signed to turn all of Chelsea’s creativity into goals, and while there will be selection questions for Pochettino to answer when he returns, having multiple quality attackers available is only a good thing. Since the beginning of October, no team has scored more goals than Chelsea’s 16 and they have the second most wins in the league since then and the third most shots on goal. Even by xG numbers, the Chelsea attack has been quite good as of late and that’s something City learned first hand.

It’s a situation where normally an international break would come at a time that can derail the progress that Chelsea have made but with the return of Nkunku on the horizon, it’s only another lift to what Chelsea are already doing and allows for more preparation. 

Already 10 points off the pace of the top four, there are questions of if Chelsea have dug themselves into too deep of a hole but the Blues are doing just what they need to in taking points off of the teams in front of them in the table. Coming out of the break to face Newcastle United, Brighton, and Manchester United, the league will quickly know where Chelsea stand. If they continue this current pace, that poor start to the season will be forgotten quickly. 

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