November 30, 2023
Paul Merson

Sky Sports’ Paul Merson believes Manchester City’s approach on Super Sunday could play into Chelsea’s hands in the same way that Tottenham did.

Paul Merson predicted Chelsea would get a result on Monday Night Football at Spurs, who were unbeaten until dramatically unravelling in a 4-1 defeat at home.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side now host leaders Manchester City live on Sky Sports and although this is a tougher test, the former Arsenal striker reckons the young Blues can trouble the treble winners.

“If Chelsea get a draw that’s a good result,” said Merson. “But it’s not a free hit. Playing in front of 38,000 at Stamford Bridge against the best team in the world, Chelsea fans turn up to win, not to make sure their team doesn’t get beaten by two or three.

“When you play for big football clubs you’re expected to go out and win or give it a go. Chelsea win trophies.

“Tottenham were going to have a go at Chelsea and that’s why I was bullish about them being able to get something. That plays into Chelsea’s hands. Man City will be the same. Chelsea will cause them problems, no doubt about it, but Man City will cause major problems at the same time.

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“It’s a game Man City know they have to play well to win.”

Chelsea have shown signs of improvement, winning five of their last seven in all competitions as Pochettino begins to mould his expensively assembled squad into a winning one.

Sky Sports’ Gary Neville, though, thinks there’s still plenty of work to be done despite the victory over Tottenham.

“I’m not convinced it’s going to be a launch because I thought there were some things to worry about,” he said on the Gary Neville Podcast. “In the first 20 minutes, when Tottenham had 11 players on the pitch, they got outplayed. They looked well off it.

“When Tottenham went to nine players, Chelsea looked clueless at times. I wouldn’t say it’s the catalyst for Chelsea’s season. I don’t think I’ve seen enough for that and they’ve got a significant amount of difficult fixtures coming up.

“It’s an extremely tough game. Manchester City are the best team in the world and Chelsea are punching up. They’re nowhere near that level. They’ve got to continue to measure themselves. Chelsea have got a fair way to go and everyone will know that.”

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Didier Drogba, former Chelsea striker shows appreciation to Haaland after he recreated his celebration.

Jackson is a Threat

Chelsea striker Nicolas Jackson hit his first career hat-trick in the win over Tottenham after enduring a difficult start to life in the Premier League.

The 22-year-old is far from the finished article but Neville believes he can trouble Manchester City.

“Jackson has got the potential that Mauricio Pochettino will like. He runs, he’s athletic,” said Neville. “He did a really good thing in the first half when [Guglielmo] Vicario made a wonderful save, and then at the end he hits that one over the bar. He’s inconsistent and erratic with his finishing.

“But he’s a handful, he’s a threat and you wouldn’t like to play against him. There are a few Chelsea players like that but it’s how you knit it together as a team.”

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Paul Merson says the young striker is showing good signs by getting into the right areas.

“Jackson could have scored seven against Spurs. If he had shooting boots on they’d have given another match ball to him,” he said. “But what I like about him is he keeps on getting in the positions to score. That takes a lot of guts.

“Believe it or not, those are the hard ones he scored where the ball comes across and everyone thinks they’re easy. He kept on breaking his neck to get into the box. Fair play to him.

“He’s a rough diamond. He gets his hat-trick and then he balloons one over the bar in the final minute. Anyone else would have taken a touch and then finished it or rolled it to Cole Palmer to score. There’s still a lot to work on.

“But you’re better off being a forward that comes off the pitch with a hat-trick having missed a couple than not looking like scoring in a month of Sundays. That’s when you worry.”

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