Chelsea have begun their first Premier League campaign under Mauricio Pochettino in rather poor form overall. After 11 games played, they were already three points off the European positions and nine points adrift from the top four places.
Based on what the team have shown so far, they may appear to be huge outsiders to qualify for continental football for the 2024/25 season.
New signings have yet to make their mark and Pochettino is still in the process of working out his favoured starting eleven. Based on Chelsea’s time under Todd Boehly’s ownership so far there could also be a further influx of additions to the team in January.
Christopher Nkunku’s return awaits
Out of all of Chelsea’s incomings over the summer, the signing of Christopher Nkunku was undoubtedly the most significant. However, an instant impact at his new club has been prevented by injuries.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) July 14, 2023
The team have struggled in the Frenchman’s absence as they have lacked a natural creative option. In football betting, they are now 5/1 outsiders to finish in the top four positions. However, the best football tips for today suggest that are well in the running for a UEFA Europa League or Conference League finish.
UEFA Champions League football may be a tough ask, but Nkunku’s return from injury could help Chelsea work towards some form of European qualification.
In his final couple of years at RB Leipzig he was one of the most in-form players across Europe, with 58 goals and 21 assists since the start of the 2021/22 season. Nkunku in full flow is one of the world’s leading players, he should be able to almost singlehandedly transform Chelsea’s fortunes once he puts his injury worries behind him.
Pochettino could soon deploy a settled team
One of Pochettino’s biggest challenges at Chelsea has been managing such a large squad – he has had to chop and change to test the perfect formula for his starting eleven. This has meant the team has been altered week in and week out, and on-field relationships have constantly been broken up.
But, we are now months into the season and the Argentine coach is beginning to show signs of becoming more consistent with his team selection.
Robert Sanchez, Thiago Silva and Axel Disasi make up a regular trio at the back and Nkunku’s return should allow the defensive midfield pivot to be changed less often. The Frenchman’s absence meant that deeper-lying midfielders have had to occupy the number ten role.
Chelsea’s wide areas are always subject to change in the form of personnel as there are so many options offensively. Yet in defence, the fitness of the likes of Ben Chilwell simply cannot be relied upon.
A team of similar profiles and players regularly taking to the pitch together should only grow stronger over time. The sense of familiarity which is gradually building in the matchday squad, should benefit the team greatly throughout the season.
January signings could aid Chelsea’s ambitions
Chelsea are often linked with a wide host of standout players around Europe due to their immense spending power.
A new number nine could be on the agenda and Inter Milan’s World Cup winner Lautaro Martinez is one of the profiles that could fit the bill – he is a genuine complete forward who simply guarantees goals.
Lautaro Martínez is running away with the Capocannoniere award. pic.twitter.com/zdQ5yduife
— Zach Lowy (@ZachLowy) November 10, 2023
There are certainly many changes that could impact Chelsea positively over the coming months. Nkunku will surely become the team’s star player if he remains fit, and January could provide Pochettino with the elite number nine that his side craves.
Chelsea may have dwindled around mid-table throughout the season so far, but a European finish is still well within reach given the further quality that could be injected into the team.