Chelsea’s injury situation is showing signs of improvement, particularly in the attacking department, as Christopher Nkunku, a key player for the Blues, provides a glimmer of hope for his impending return to action in the Carabao Cup.
Nkunku, the 25-year-old Chelsea star, has been dropping significant hints about his recovery from injury as he continues his journey toward making his debut for the club. A preseason knee injury had kept him sidelined for a substantial portion of the current season, preventing him from playing under manager Mauricio Pochettino. His absence during the initial part of the campaign was a significant blow for Chelsea, as Nkunku was anticipated to be a primary goal-scoring threat for the team, given his exceptional performances in the final season of the Bundesliga with RB Leipzig, where he emerged as the top goalscorer despite a previous knee issue that had sidelined him for two months. Initially, it appeared unlikely that he would return to action before the New Year.
Nonetheless, Nkunku has displayed remarkable dedication to his rehabilitation efforts. Regular updates from the France international on his social media accounts have featured photos and videos demonstrating his commitment to knee-strengthening exercises, aquatic therapy, and various medical evaluations. These updates have provided insights into his ongoing recovery journey.
The most encouraging development occurred in early November when Nkunku was spotted participating in first-team training. This marked his return to the pitch for the first time since the injury occurred during the summer. While it remains clear that he is not yet prepared for a full return to competitive action, Manager Pochettino has expressed his enthusiasm for having one of his team’s influential players back in the fold. Pochettino remarked, “He is doing really, really well. He is working really hard. I think he is really close. I hope as soon as possible we can have him involved again. He is an important player for us.”
Nkunku’s injury has been just one among several challenges that Pochettino has faced since taking charge at Chelsea. The squad has had to cope with the long-term absences of players like Wesley Fofana, Ben Chilwell, Carney Chukwuemeka, and Trevoh Chalobah, while Captain Reece James has also spent a considerable portion of the season on the sidelines. Nevertheless, James recently made a comeback to the starting lineup, contributing to Chelsea’s 2-0 victory over Blackburn Rovers in the Carabao Cup with goals from returning defender Benoit Badiashile and winger Raheem Sterling. This win secured Chelsea’s place in the quarter-finals, where they are set to face Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge in mid-December.
With approximately seven weeks until the next Carabao Cup round, there is optimism that Nkunku may be fully fit for the match. The star himself has dropped hints, including a recent Instagram post where he reposted an official Chelsea account’s photo celebrating their victory with the caption: “Next round @Chelseafc” accompanied by a ‘green tick’ emoji and a ‘clapping’ emoji. This post suggests Nkunku’s belief that he can contribute to Chelsea’s attacking prowess, which could be a significant boost given the team’s struggles in front of goal this season.