October 5, 2023

Chelsea saw the arrival of several new faces at Stamford Bridge this summer, but they also had to send some players out on loan. Angelo Gabriel, an 18-year-old winger, has served as a timely reminder to Mauricio Pochettino of what Chelsea could have had this season. The young Brazilian joined Chelsea from Santos earlier in the summer for approximately £13 million. Although he made a positive impression during preseason, he was subsequently loaned out to Strasbourg.

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Gabriel made his debut for Strasbourg in a 10-minute cameo against Olympique Lyonnais on the opening weekend of the Ligue 1 season. He was later given a half-hour appearance off the bench against Monaco, though Strasbourg was already trailing 3-0 at that point. Gabriel was left out of the squad for the match against Toulouse but made another brief appearance against Nice. In Strasbourg’s first game after the international break, Gabriel earned his first start for the club in a 2-2 draw with Montpellier, leaving a significant impact on the game.

The young Brazilian prodigy put on a standout performance for Strasbourg, making four key passes and earning the highest rating from French media. This impressive display coincided with Chelsea’s goalless draw against Bournemouth, serving as a reminder to Pochettino of the talent he could have had at his disposal. Although Chelsea had no trouble creating chances, their struggle to find the net has been a recurring theme this season. With Noni Madueke not included in the matchday squad, Gabriel could have been a valuable substitute option, especially in place of Raheem Sterling.

After the draw against Bournemouth, Pochettino shared his thoughts on the match, expressing a sense of disappointment. He mentioned that Chelsea deserved to score during the first 20-25 minutes of the game but failed to convert their chances. Pochettino also acknowledged the need for patience with young players settling into the team, ironically noting how quickly Gabriel had adapted to Strasbourg’s starting lineup.

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In Pochettino’s words, “What can I do? If you said to me we have all of our signings today, no injured players and we cannot win this game, then maybe yes, we need to think in a different way. In this circumstance, we cannot lie to people. Of course, we are Chelsea. This squad is new, first of all, they must learn and feel what it means to be a player of Chelsea.”

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