Premier League • England

Chelsea star ‘not the answer’ as pundit takes aim and reveals who should be starting after insipid Newcastle display

Mykhaylo Mudryk and Nicolas Jackson of Chelsea

Mykhailo Mudryk was offered the chance to leave Chelsea

Former Chelsea star Craig Burley has criticised Nicolas Jackson for his performance in the defeat to Newcastle, suggesting the striker is way off the pace.

The Blues went down 4-1 at St James’ Park, with the loss leaving them tenth in the standings with just 16 points from 13 games. They went into the break all square after Raheem Sterling cancelled out Alexander Isak’s 13th-minute opener. But second-half goals from Jamaal Lascelles, Joelinton and Anthony Gordon gave the Magpies a comfortable triumph.

The result sees the north-east outfit sixth in the table and the gulf between the sides was blatantly evident during the second 45 minutes.

And that is despite the huge outlay undertaken by the west Londoners during the Todd Boehly era.

There had been positive signs at the Bridge, with victory over Tottenham and a 4-4 draw with champions Manchester City.

However, it is now back to the drawing board after this latest reverse.

Burley has been a keen observer of his former club this term and it has been a tough watch at times, with just four league wins.

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And the former Scotland international picked out one man in particular for criticism, suggesting another player should have been given the nod.

“Let’s be honest, Nico Jackson’s not the answer,” he told ESPN. “I don’t dislike Broja, I know he’s had his injury problems.

“But I think I’d rather have him up front than Jackson. I know he got his goals against Tottenham.

“But come on, let’s be realistic, they were down to nine men at the time.”

Jackson woes echo Chelsea malaise

Jackson was one of a raft of players brought to the club during the summer.

Following a mass exodus to try to balance the books, Jackson was recruited along with the likes of Moises Caicedo, Christopher Nkunku and Cole Palmer.

The Senegal international’s price tag of £32m was dwarfed by others who arrived.

But he was expected to lead the line and provide the goals to propel the Stamford Bridge outfit back to the summit.

Mauricio Pochettino has given the former Villarreal hitman plenty of opportunities to prove his worth.

He has started ten of Chelsea’s 13 top-flight matches in 2023-2024, making an appearance off the bench in two others.

A return of six goals does not seem too bad but, as Burley alluded to, three of those came against a depleted Spurs side.

He was replaced by Broja on 69 minutes but the damage had already been done by then.

The African has flattered to deceive while Chelsea have yet to deliver the goods promised after their massive investment.

And things will not get much easier any time soon.

Next up is a home cash with Brighton while a midweek trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United awaits on December 6.

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