Chelsea secured their spot in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night, thanks to Nicolas Jackson’s decisive goal against Brighton.
This victory marked Chelsea’s first competitive win over Brighton since 2020, and it was a hard-fought battle.
The Blues’ performance was not dazzling; at times, they appeared vulnerable, struggling to maintain possession due to Brighton’s relentless pressing under Roberto De Zerbi’s management.
Despite this, Mauricio Pochettino’s team remained resolute and created their own scoring opportunities, with Cole Palmer and Jackson’s combination proving to be the most effective, ultimately yielding Chelsea’s first goal in September.
Pochettino acknowledged that his team needed to mature after recent setbacks, including a loss to Aston Villa and suspensions to key players like Malo Gusto and Nicolas Jackson.
Jackson’s yellow cards had come from actions unrelated to fouls, such as arguing with the referee or obstructing a free kick. Chelsea players needed to exercise more caution in similar situations.
In the game, there were moments of contentious interactions with the referee, notably when Marcu Cucurella and Moises Caceido expressed their displeasure with officiating decisions.
While they escaped bookings, it was clear that Chelsea needed to monitor how their players interacted with the officials.
Pochettino himself received a yellow card for expressing his frustration with a linesman’s offside call, a decision that some felt was harsh on the Chelsea manager.
The £42.5 million summer signing, Cole Palmer, made his first start for Chelsea and continued to impress with his performance, including a smart pass to Jackson.
Pochettino praised Palmer’s talent and impact on the victory, indicating that he still needed time to settle into the club.
Palmer’s strong showing raised questions about his potential role in the starting lineup, with competition from players like Mykhailo Mudryk, Raheem Sterling, and Enzo Fernandez.
Noni Madueke’s absence from consecutive matchday squads was due to a selection decision, as confirmed by Pochettino.
Chelsea’s bench included youngsters like Alfie Gilchrist, Alex Matos, Josh Brooking, and Deivid Washington, while two goalkeepers were selected following the defeat to Aston Villa.
The match also saw several injured or rested Chelsea players in attendance, sparking speculation about Pochettino’s lineup choices for upcoming fixtures.
As Chelsea continues their journey in the Carabao Cup, they face Blackburn in the next round and are favored to advance.
With one more win, they could be on the cusp of securing their first piece of silverware under Pochettino’s management.