Nicolas Jackson’s recent frustrations were palpable at the Vitality Stadium last Sunday.
The 22-year-old striker, in his debut season with Chelsea, received his fourth booking of the campaign for dissent during a free-kick, a testament to his mounting dissatisfaction.
Mauricio Pochettino, Chelsea’s manager, acknowledged Jackson’s struggles, attributing his frequent bookings to his craving for goals.
Pochettino explained that Jackson’s disappointment sometimes led to complaints, which, in today’s game, equated to yellow cards—a rule they had to accept.
Expectations for Jackson had soared after a successful pre-season tour in the United States, yet he had yet to open his Premier League account for Chelsea.
His first game against Liverpool showcased his potential despite missing a golden chance to score.
Jackson, acquired for £30 million from Villarreal, continued to show promise against West Ham, although he squandered another scoring opportunity.
Chelsea’s loss in that game underscored the team’s profligacy in front of goal.
However, the turning point arrived in a match against newly-promoted Luton Town.
Jackson seized a cross from Raheem Sterling to score his maiden goal for Chelsea, providing a much-needed confidence boost.
The expectation was that this goal would be a turning point in his Chelsea career.
Unfortunately, in the subsequent match against Nottingham Forest, Jackson missed another crucial opportunity, resulting in a loss for Chelsea.
Following the international break, his frustration continued as he struggled to find the net against Bournemouth.
Statistically, Jackson’s performance was subpar, with only one goal and the largest negative differential in xG in the Premier League.
He recorded a high number of shots per game, a feat achieved by only a few players in the last three seasons, all of whom managed to score at least 17 goals.
Nevertheless, Jackson’s contribution extends beyond scoring.
He makes intelligent off-the-ball runs to create space and tirelessly defends when out of possession, qualities appreciated by Pochettino.
Despite the mounting pressure, Pochettino’s admiration for Jackson remains unwavering.
Given the limited alternatives, Jackson is likely to remain a fixture in the Chelsea lineup.
However, the clock is ticking, and Chelsea fans are eager to see their young striker translate promise into consistent goalscoring form.