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Chelsea’s Christopher Nkunku Strategy Clarified Post-Brighton Goal Despite Injury Issues and Emerging Concerns

Chelsea Receives Positive News for Pre-Season Plans After Brighton Clash

Chelsea has received a timely boost ahead of the summer as Christopher Nkunku and Malo Gusto will not be participating in international duties. Both players have faced injuries this season but have proven why Mauricio Pochettino values their presence when they are fit.

Nkunku, more so than Gusto, has been absent for much of his debut season at Chelsea, only making his competitive debut in December. His return at the start of 2024 was short-lived, leading to another two-month absence. As a result, he has only made 13 appearances across all competitions since his £52 million transfer from RB Leipzig. Despite this, Nkunku has managed to score three Premier League goals from two starts and eight substitute appearances.

In a key match against Brighton on Wednesday, Nkunku showcased his talent by scoring from a Gusto assist, helping Chelsea secure a 2-0 lead in their quest for European football in the 2024/25 season. This performance highlighted what Pochettino has been missing.

Earlier this year, Pochettino emphasized how much the team has felt Nkunku’s absence. “He’s a player that provides goals, and we’re missing that. With Nkunku, the situation in the league could be very different,” he stated. Nkunku’s impressive record in the Bundesliga, with 47 goals and 43 assists over three seasons, had set high expectations for his impact in England.

During last year’s tour of America, Nkunku impressed by seamlessly fitting into Chelsea’s front line. Despite his injury troubles in the past three seasons, Didier Deschamps’ decision not to include him in the European Championships squad is somewhat of a relief for Chelsea. This gives Nkunku three months to prepare for the next season, allowing for a full and uninterrupted summer tour to regain his sharpness.

Les Bleus head coach Deschamps explained, “He had a complicated season. He played some minutes recently but hasn’t started a match since his return.” Nkunku, who has only 10 caps for France, missed the 2022 World Cup due to a knee injury and had limited appearances in the Euro 2024 qualifiers.

Gusto, who has played more than expected due to Reece James’ recurring issues, has been impressive, with nine assists in 36 games this season. Despite a muscle injury in November and missing several games in April and May, Gusto’s performance has earned him a potential spot in Thierry Henry’s squad for the Olympics in Paris, though his summer could still be affected.

Both players will now remain under Chelsea’s care for an extended period. Given the club’s injury woes over the past year, this is a significant relief.

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