The Uncertain Fate of Christopher Nkunku
The normally quiet Mauricio Pochettino voiced his hope that the injury inflicted on Christopher Nkunku, his shining star forward, wouldn’t be a major setback for Chelsea. The £52m acquisition from Paris Saint-Germain, aged 25, was dismissed just 22 minutes into the match against Borussia Dortmund after what appeared to be a knee injury incurred during a tackle. Pochettino anxiously noted, “he had the chance to score but he feels something in his knee.”
The condition of Soldier Field, the match’s setting in Chicago, left much to be desired, potentially contributing to the unfortunate incident. A mix of patchy and worn areas painted a rather grim picture, a consequence of the recent Ed Sheeran concert that drew in an audience of 73,000. But Pochettino was cautious not to pin blame on the pitch for Nkunku’s setback, attributing it instead to bad luck.
Late Drama in Chicago
Chelsea left it late, but Mason Burstow pulled back a 90th-minute equaliser, matching Marius Wolf’s earlier goal for Dortmund and sealing a 1-1 draw. This meant the Blues wrapped up their pre-season US tour without tasting defeat.
Missed Opportunities and Bright Starts
Chelsea dominated the first half with a series of near-misses. Nicolas Jackson, after a promising run, saw his shot thwarted by Dortmund’s Alexander Meyer. This followed Nkunku’s tumble in the box, which Pochettino believed could have resulted in a penalty. The first half also saw Levi Colwill, gifted a golden opportunity by a well-placed pass from Ben Chilwell to Thiago Silva, loft his shot over the bar from a teasingly close range.
The Blues sustained their momentum into the second half. Jackson fired a shot over the bar after a smooth control of a lofted ball over Dortmund’s defence. Then Carney Chukwuemeka’s effort was thwarted on the line, a disappointing end to a move initiated by a slick combination of Raheem Sterling and Jackson.
Pochettino will surely be pleased with the team’s resilience despite the unfortunate injury of Nkunku, and Chelsea fans can look forward to the new season with optimism.