Blues finally find a centre-forward in £31m Jackson, while Premier League defenders should fear Mudryk, but Pochettino still has work to do: THINGS WE LEARNED as Chelsea beat Brighton 4-3
- Mauricio Pochettino earned the second win over his Chelsea reign Saturday
- The Blues emerged victorious from a preseason seven-goal thriller with Brighton
- Mail Sport looks at five things we learned from Chelsea’s 4-3 win over Brighton
Chelsea emerged victorious by the odd goal in seven as they and Brighton played out a thriller in the opening match of the Premier League Summer Series.
Mail Sport’s CRAIG HOPE was at the Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia to bring you his five talking points…
MAUR TO DO FOR POCH…
To say that Mauricio Pochettino has work to do at Chelsea is like claiming Santa Claus will be busy on Christmas Eve. Four of his starters had never played competitively for the club, while the bench contained several names who would hardly be known to anyone outside of West London.
It was Brighton who looked the better of the sides in the first half, before a raft of second-half substitutions and the dismissal of Seagulls defender Jan Paul van Hecke at 1-1. He was shown a second yellow card for a barge on Cesare Casadei that almost left the young Italian in the first row of the main stand.
Chelsea emerged victorious from a seven-goal thriller against Brighton in Philadelphia
Despite the 4-3 win, it was clear new Blues boss Mauricio Pochettino has work to do at the club
And despite Chelsea’s victory – they were excellent going forward against 10 men at times – this game still underlined the size of the task Pochettino has inherited. You only had to look at the team-sheet to learn that much. They remain terribly light in midfield especially, where only Conor Gallagher was a senior starter – and there had been talk of him leaving the club this summer. Not now. In fairness, Gallagher did well and his energy, tidy distribution and goal were a huge positive for Pochettino. He needs plenty more of those before Chelsea have any chance of reclaiming their place in the top six of the Premier League, never mind the top four.
JACK’S THE LAD…
One of those positives already looks like being £31million striker Nicolas Jackson, who arrived from Villarreal this summer. He has four assists over two friendlies and got his first goal for the Blues here.
You knew he was never going to miss when sprang clear by Marc Cucurella, given he had just laid on goals for fellow substitute Mykhailo Mudryk and Gallagher. He finished with a confident clip beyond the goalkeeper and was duly confirmed by the stadium PA as man-of-the-match. It was deserved. The Senegalese looks quick, skillful and has a definite swagger. Have Chelsea finally found a centre-forward?
£31million striker Nicolas Jackson impressed after arriving from Villarreal this summer
AND ONE MORE…
Mudryk scored his first for the club, a super volley after twice swapping passes with Jackson, and he looked electric during his 45 minutes on the pitch. There was one run to catch the ball as it ran away to the by-line that felt as if he had turbo boosters in his boots. It was a frightening show of pace that drew gasps from the crowd. It is Premier League defenders who should be drawing breath in anticipation of coming up against the Ukrainian this season.
NO MO, NO GO?
Moises Caicedo was left out of the Brighton side amid a proposed move to Chelsea. Roberto De Zerbi insists it was because the midfielder has only trained for a couple of days, but his involvement was never likely given talks between the clubs remain live.
Brighton have made it clear they want £100m and De Zerbi suggested on Friday that, were Chelsea to include Levi Colwill as part of the deal, then there could be progress. The centre-back spent last season on loan at Brighton and De Zerbi would love to have him back permanently.
Saying that, he gave away a late penalty here with a clumsy challenge and was part of a defence that conceded three times. It wasn’t his best outing, yet Pochettino still claimed afterwards that the 20-year-old could become one of England’s greatest centre-backs, whilst insisting he wants to keep him at Stamford Bridge. That would not appear to be helpful for their chances of landing Caicedo.
Mykhailo Mudryk showed a frightening show of pace that drew gasps from the crowd
Moises Caicedo was left out of the Brighton side amid a proposed move to Chelsea
Americans do have a way of making their big stadiums far more characterful than those in the UK. Lincoln Financial Field – the 68,000-seater home of NFL franchise Philadelphia Eagles – has a unique, almost octagonal design, complete with quirky balconies overlooking the pitch in two of its corners. The city skyline is also visible between two of the stands, and that adds wonderfully to the charm.
Compare this place to Wembley, or many of the other mass bowls that are all too commonplace when new stadiums are built in Europe, and there is only one winner. ‘The Linc’ is set to host a World Cup quarter-final in 2026 and that promises to be some occasion. It also makes you wonder just how good the venues must be for the semis and final.