Unlucky Nkunku out again for weeks: 'He's not the same as before'

Christopher Nkunku is sidelined again for a few weeks at Chelsea. He has already missed a total of 27 matches this season. He got injured for the third time against Liverpool.

Unlucky Nkunku out again for weeks: 'He's not the same as before'
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Christopher Nkunku's transition to Chelsea, after his impressive stint at RB Leipzig, was met with high expectations.

The French forward, secured for a fee of sixty million euros last summer, quickly demonstrated his potential during the pre-season, setting the stage for what many hoped would be a stellar debut season in the Premier League. However, his journey took an unfortunate turn due to a series of injuries that have significantly hampered his ability to showcase his full capabilities.

Nkunku's initial setback came in the form of a knee injury, which sidelined him until December 19, just as he was starting to adapt to the English football landscape. His return was eagerly anticipated, but his momentum was cut short again in early 2024 when a hip injury forced him out of action for another five matches. The League Cup final against Liverpool, a high-stakes encounter, saw Nkunku suffer yet another injury, further dampening his debut season.

Mauricio Pochettino, Chelsea's manager, expressed his sympathy for Nkunku during a press conference, noting the striker's challenging start. "He started like a rocket in the pre-season and then got injured," Pochettino remarked, highlighting the contrast between Nkunku's initial promise and the reality of his injury-plagued season. The expectation was for Nkunku to replicate his dynamic performances from his time in Germany, but his repeated injuries have made it difficult for him to maintain consistency.

Chelsea's squad has been stretched thin, not only because of Nkunku's absence but also due to the physical toll of a demanding 120-minute clash against Liverpool in the League Cup final, which they ultimately lost. Key players like Connor Gallagher, Ben Chilwell, Malo Gusto, Levi Colwill, Axel Disasi, Moisés Caicedo, Enzo Fernandez were left fatigued. Injuries to Romeo Lavia, Lesley Ugochukwu, and Carney Chukwuemeka further limited Pochettino's options, diminishing the team's bench strength. The injury list extended to include Wesley Fofana, Thiago Silva, Reece James, Marc Cucurella, and Benoît Badiashile, showcasing the depth of Chelsea's personnel issues.

Looking ahead, Chelsea's immediate focus shifts to the FA Cup, where they are set to face Leeds United at 8:30 PM on Wednesday night. This match presents an opportunity for Chelsea to bounce back and for players stepping in for their injured teammates to make an impact. For Nkunku, the road to recovery and regaining his pre-injury form will be arduous, but the support from his coach and teammates underscores the belief in his ability to overcome these setbacks.