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Arsenal logo
Premier League | Gameweek 29
Apr 23, 2024 at 8pm UK
Emirates Stadium
Chelsea logo

Arsenal
5 - 0
Chelsea

Trossard (4'), White (52', 70'), Havertz (57', 65')
Arteta (43'), Trossard (45'), White (76')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Gilchrist (42'), Cucurella (43')

Mauricio Pochettino talks up Chelsea forward Nicolas Jackson despite missed chances

Pochettino talks up Chelsea forward Jackson despite missed chances
© Reuters
Chelsea head coach Mauricio Pochettino continues to talk up the qualities of Nicolas Jackson despite the forward's missed chances against Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final.

Chelsea head coach Mauricio Pochettino has insisted that he will never criticise Nicolas Jackson for missing chances, like he did in Saturday's FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City.

On the back of securing draws against City in the Premier League earlier in the season, the Blues again impressed against Pep Guardiola's side at Wembley Stadium.

However, they would ultimately succumb to a 1-0 reverse at the hands of the 2023 winners, Bernardo Silva scoring the decisive goal six minutes from time.

Prior to the Portuguese netting the winner, Jackson had squandered a number of opportunities for Chelsea, two of which having been sent clear on goal.

The other was a headed chance at the back post having gotten ahead of Kyle Walker, only for Jackson to direct a tame effort too close to Stefan Ortega.

Chelsea players look dejected after Bernardo Silva scores for Manchester City on April 20, 2024© Reuters

How did Pochettino respond to Jackson criticism?

At his pre-match press conference ahead of the Arsenal fixture in the Premier League on Tuesday, Pochettino was naturally quizzed on the opinion-dividing Senegal international, but he continues to have the total support of his manager.

Speaking to reporters, as quoted by football.london, Pochettino said: "The first season is always difficult for all of the players, more when you are in a position like a striker and you need to perform and score goals. Everyone expects every single touch to score a goal.

"He is our main striker; the only striker we have fit because Nkunku nearly did not play in the whole season. Broja, also, and the he moved to Fulham, wanting to play more. Yes, he is doing fantastic. He is doing an amazing job for the team – running, scoring goals and giving assists.

"In his first season, a young guy coming from Spain, even with not much experience there, I think he is doing fantastic. The players here to match the icon players here like Drogba, if we compare with Drogba, yes he is always going to lose, but if we split the history of the club from the team and the performance of Jackson, I think he is doing fantastic. He is going to have all of my support.

"Even if he doesn't score, the way he is fighting for the club, fighting for his teammates, for the team and producing sometimes chances. He needs time to improve. He is going to be better next season, for sure. There is no doubt about that. He only needs to keep going."

Chelsea's Nicolas Jackson celebrates scoring their first goal with Cole Palmer and teammates on March 11, 2024© Reuters

Has Jackson been a success for Chelsea this season?

Jackson began this year seeing a move to Bournemouth fall through to an issue with his medical, but his form during the second half of last season with Villarreal ultimately sealed a transfer to Stamford Bridge instead.

Although the 22-year-old has undoubtedly had periods where he has not looked good enough in front of goal, he has reached this stage of the campaign with 13 goals and five assists to his name.

Given that some of his 37 appearances have come from the left-hand side of the pitch, his goal return is more than reasonable for a player in his first year of English football.

Nevertheless, Saturday showed that Jackson is far better as an instinctive finisher - like against Everton in the previous game - than he is when he has time to think and assess his options.

From next season onwards, his role should change to first choice on the left flank or second choice down the centre, although that is dependent on what funds Chelsea have at their disposal to find an alternative.

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2 Hungary Hungary00000
3 Switzerland Switzerland00000
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3 Portugal Portugal00000
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