Nkunku included in hosts’ beginning line up for first time | EUROtoday

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Hello and welcome to Telegraph Sport’s stay protection of Chelsea v Crystal Palace. It’s Chelsea’s final house match of a dismal 12 months through which they’ve received solely 9 instances at Stamford Bridge – and three of these had been within the EFL Cup, two towards lower-division sides. In the Premier League the Chelsea followers have danced triumphantly to One Step Beyond solely 5 instances in 21 video games.

The first of these victories got here towards tonight’s opponents, Crystal Palace, in January, when Kai Havertz scored the one objective. Life strikes on, and solely three of that beginning XI will likely be concerned tonight (Benoit Badiashile, Thiago Silva and Conor Gallagher – Palace ought to have eight survivors of their squad). But Chelsea are caught in the identical mid-table rut. They began January’s match towards Palace in tenth place with 25 factors from 18 video games; they kick off tonight in eleventh place with 22 factors from 18 video games.

The stats say Chelsea have been unfortunate, or at the least that they’ve created sufficient clear possibilities to be a lot greater within the desk. This is the place issues may be about to vary: the good Christopher Nkunku, whose debut was delayed by harm, scored his first objective for the membership within the defeat at Wolves on Saturday. Nkunku most likely isn’t the long-term No9 that Chelsea want –  however he’s a prolific goalscorer and classy footballer who has the flexibility and character to vary the temper at Stamford Bridge.

Nkunku may make his full debut tonight, although the likelier situation is that he continues to ease his method again after harm, and acclimatise to English soccer, from the bench.

“At the moment his best position is No10 or No9, more than the left or right side like a winger,” says Pochettino. “To cope with the demands of the Premier League and what the team needs, it’s better in these positions. He is now starting to understand the Premier League, that teams are very aggressive and the football is very different to other countries. He will adapt little by little, but scoring will help him adapt quicker.”

We’ll have the crew information shortly, with kick-off at 7.30pm.