We are now less than a week away from Chelsea returning to Premier League action following the international break.
It seems like an eternity since the Blues were defeated 1-0 at Stamford Bridge by Nottingham Forest before the two-week-long break but there is not too much longer to wait until we see Mauricio Pochettino lead his side out again. Next up for Chelsea is a trip down to the south coast to take on AFC Bournemouth, whom the Blues did the double over last season.
A lot of Chelsea players will be in action for their countries over the next couple of days before they fly back to England and begin their preparations for the weekend’s clash with Bournemouth. So, with that being said, football.london takes a look at three dream scenarios that could occur for Chelsea once club football is back on our television screens.
In the first four matches of the Premier League season, Chelsea have recorded just four points from a possible 12. Two defeats, one to West Ham United away and the other at home to Nottingham Forest, have meant for a slow start to life under new head coach Pochettino.
The next four league matches, on paper at least, are very winnable matches for the Blues – who seriously need to start building some momentum now. The trip to Bournemouth is before a home game against Aston Villa, then back-to-back trips to Fulham and Burnley.
It’s then Arsenal who make the short trip to Stamford Bridge at the start of a difficult fixture list for Chelsea. So the next four Premier League outings are absolutely crucial in the Blues’ season, starting with a trip to Bournemouth at the weekend.
Jackson to kickstart Chelsea career
It has been an impressive start to life at Chelsea for £30million signing Nicolas Jackson. The Senegal international arrived at Stamford Bridge in the summer transfer window after the Blues triggered the £30m release clause in his contract with Spanish outfit Villarreal.
After an impressive pre-season as Chelsea’s No.9, Jackson has been thrown straight into the deep end by Pochettino. And despite only scoring one competitive goal for the Blues thus far – in the 3-0 win against Luton Town last month – he has impressed while leading the line.
However, there is no doubt that Jackson needs to start finding the net to really get his career in west London off the mark. In the next few games, it is absolutely imperative for the 22-year-old striker to become more clinical in front of goal.
In the four Premier League matches Jackson has played so far, he has attempted 15 shots, with five of them being on target – and, as mentioned, one goal to his name. In those shots, also, he has had some guilt-edge opportunities; including what can only be described as a sitter in the latter stages of the 1-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest prior to the international break.
Key trio return to squad
While the majority of the Chelsea squad has been elsewhere in the world, a small group of players have stayed behind at Cobham to continue their preparations. Reece James, Armando Broja and Benoît Badiashile are among that group.
James, the newly-appointed club captain, has been sidelined since the opening game of the season against Liverpool with a hamstring problem. The England international, who has had torrid luck with muscular injuries in recent years, is expected to return to action very soon as he continues his recovery.
Likewise, Broja is now available to return. The club, rather understandably, are being very cautious when it comes to re-introducing the Slough-born Albanian striker, who has been missing since December after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in a mid-season friendly against Aston Villa in Abu Dhabi.
Badiashile, too, has been sidelined for months with a serious injury. The 22-year-old has been missing since the latter stages of last season with a hamstring problem, but football.london understands Chelsea are expecting to have the Frenchman available for selection at Bournemouth at the weekend.
Having all three of these fit and available once again will come as a welcome and timely boost for Pochettino. James is one of the best right-backs in the Premier League when he is fit and firing, while Broja will provide Jackson with some solid and much-needed support and competition. Badiashile is a more than capable replacement for Levi Colwill should the England international ever need to come out of the side for whatever reason.