13 v. 43 – This Nkunku stat shows why he already fits this team better than Mudryk

Christopher Nkunku got more minutes than expected last night when he came on as a first half sub to replace Mykhailo Mudryk after the winger took a blow to the head.

Nkunku wasted no time in getting into the game. He was really involved from the moment he got on the pitch, linking play nicely and showing his quality on the ball.

He scored the kind of finish that we’ve desperately been missing, his intelligent movement finding space and his finish then calm and confident past the keeper.

Nizaar Kinsella wrote in his match report that there is excitement at Chelsea about what Cole Palmer can do when linked up with Nkunku over an extended period. Last night we saw flashes, but the pair have barely shared any time on the pitch since their arrivals in the summer.

Christopher Nkunku posts on Instagram

How to fit Nkunku with the other attackers

Let’s not forget that most Chelsea fans saw Palmer as a backup for Nkunku upon his signing – nobody could forseen the incredible impact the young England star would make right from the start.

Now the question is how to fit them together, and last night provided an interesting model. Nico Jackson and Cole Palmer have without doubt fixed their place in the starting XI, and Noni Madueke has earned the right to keep playing with good recent performances.

That leaves just one space, and Nkunku used his time there far more effectively than Mudryk. He replaced the Ukrainian in the 41st minute. Mudryk managed just 13 touches in those 41 minutes, while Nkunku racked up 43 in his 49 minutes.

For much of this season Nkunku felt like the missing piece that this team needed to work. Now things have changed, and he’s more the cherry on top, the final piece in the jigsaw.

Tags Christopher Nkunku Cole Palmer Mykhailo Mudryk

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  1. Nkunku has football IQ while Mudryk has almost none. It’s really that simple. With Cucurella pushed centrally Mudryk has the entire left flank open to scorch his man 1v1 and he’s so clueless about how to move and when that he scarcely touched the ball! It’d be laughable if it wasn’t so sad!

    As for Palmer working with Nkunku… The key to Palmer serving as a playmaker (a #10 who is free to roam the pitch and create overloads at will) is whoever is paired with Caicedo in midfield. Gallagher has shown he has the work-rate, positional awareness and ball-winning capability to create the solidity in the middle of the park to allow Palmer freedom without leaving us too open defensively. However, we saw quite the opposite happen early in the year when Palmer played the #10 in front of a dysfunctional Enzo/Caicedo pairing against ManU. We got absolutely shredded in the midfield that day because (a) Palmer is primarily an attacking weapon and doesn’t provide the pressing and ball-winning that Gallagher gives when he plays the role; and (b) Enzo doesn’t provide the same positional discipline and ball-winning as Gallagher in the double pivot (he wants to get forward and share in the play-making). This makes him a poor partner for Caicedo. Thus, playing Palmer in the middle of the park is a luxury that can only be afforded when we have TWO midfield workhorses doing the dirty work of defending and ball-winning behind him.

    1. What people have forgotten is that nkunku is versatile he plays every number in front there and it is good to have a good team full of competing talents
      And the thing of dropping mudryk I don’t agree with it coz when I watch Chelsea matches I can see how he moves quickly to try create space for him self and no one gives him attention on the pitch u remember the goal he has scored recently when palmer concentrated and saw him running ,(wow what a wonderful 1st touch by mudryk) he scored a good goal making it look easy for everyone but if u play football and see the way players spoil those good moments u give him a credit

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