The spotlight was on Chelsea’s new signings at FedExField as forwards Christopher Nkunku and Nicolas Jackson impressed, justifying their arrival at Stamford Bridge this summer. After Thiago Silva’s early opener from a Ben Chilwell corner, Nkunku’s 40th-minute tap-in, courtesy of Carney Chukwuemeka’s burst into the box, secured CFC’s victory in the Premier League Summer Series.
Jackson, another newcomer, showcased his potential with smart movement and runs, offering a promising solution to The Blues’ attacking challenges. Gabriel Slonina made his debut for Chelsea, starting as the goalkeeper and keeping a clean sheet until he was substituted by Lucas Bergstrom in the 61st minute. Additionally, 19-year-old English striker Mason Burstow had his first preseason start. Fulham failed to trouble their West London rivals, who comfortably secured a 2-0 win with their ever-changing lineup.
Here are three talking points from Chelsea’s final Premier League Summer Series match:
Thiago Silva and Reece James lift the trophy together
With the departure of former club captain Cesar Azpilicueta, a position for the next Chelsea skipper has become available. Both Ben Chilwell and Reece James have shown interest in the role during the tour, while Thiago Silva and Kepa Arrizabalaga have previously captained the team. When CFC lifted the Premier League Summer Series Cup, there seemed to be a hint of who the frontrunners might be as Silva and James lift the trophy. Head coach Pochettino had a simple answer to this that’ll keep Blues fans waiting via football.london.
"“The first half was Thiago, the second was Reece, both captain and today they lift the trophy”- Mauricio Pochettino"
Pochettino sheds some light on transfer rumors in his post-match conference
Mauricio Pochettino has suggested that Lesley Ugochukwu, the incoming midfield signing, is intended to go on loan initially. Chelsea has reached an agreement with Rennes for the talented France under-19 international, who has successfully undergone a medical examination and is set to sign a long-term contract. While Chelsea currently lacks depth in central midfield, Pochettino aims to acquire more experienced options in that position, with Brighton’s Moises Caicedo being the priority target. According to Nizaar Kinsella, Poch said this regarding Uguchukwu:
"“I have the information you have. My information is a player that is from France that maybe they sign with the idea to send on loan. The information was already in your laptop!” – Mauricio Pochettino on the Lesley Ugochukwu rumors."
During another phase of The Blues’ busy transfer activity, they swiftly secured a £39m deal with Monaco for center-back Axel Disasi on Sunday. Meanwhile, Premier League rivals Manchester United and Newcastle were still contemplating whether to solidify their interest in the player. This is what the Chelsea gaffer said on the matter:
"You have more news than me! [Wesley] Fofana is injured it is obvious that maybe we need to reinforce this area. It is clear, no.“ – Mauricio Pochettino on being ask about the Axel Disasi rumors via Nizaar Kinsella."
Despite the impressive pre-season form of Nicolas Jackson and Christopher Nkunku, Pochettino has not ruled out the possibility of making a third forward signing this summer. That was one heck of a conference.
Promising start to life under Poch
Their final game against Borussia Dortmund in Chicago is approaching, and as they have yet to field a fully cohesive team that resembles what they might field in their opening day fixture against Liverpool, some might argue that one more game might not be sufficient preparation. Despite this, their trip to America has been far more successful than last summer’s disappointing journey, offering plenty of encouragement beyond just winning silverware.
CFC has played well, achieved positive results, which is always beneficial, and demonstrated promising glimpses of Mauricio Pochettino’s tactical vision. Some positions may still require adjustments as the new head coach seeks to implement his strategies. With speculation of additional attackers and midfielders joining the squad, it indicates that Chelsea are on track to become a much more well-drilled team compared to last season.