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Can Nkunku & Lavia’s return spur Chelsea to a top four finish?

Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino announced that Christopher Nkunku and Romeo Lavia will return to first-team training after the international break.

The Argentine manager disclosed in his press conference ahead of their Premier League clash with Manchester City on Sunday that the pair had returned to the pitch. 

Both players joined Chelsea during the summer transfer window but have yet to make their competitive debut for the Blues after suffering injury setbacks.

Lavia suffered an injury in training weeks after his big-money move to London from Southampton. Nkunku had started pre-season brightly before pulling up during a clash with Borussia Dortmund.

Nkunku’s injury was a massive blow for the two-time Champions League winners as he was expected to be the difference maker for Chelsea in attack.

The Frenchman bagged 16 goals and four assists in the Bundesliga last season and recorded 20 goals and 13 assists in the 2021/22 campaign.

He contributed two goals and two assists in his pre-season showings before the injury against BVB.

Nkunku was supposed to dovetail Nicolas Jackson, but the injury has seen him sidelined, leaving the Senegalese forward to struggle.

Jackson has netted six goals for the Blues but has missed plenty of big chances. 

Chelsea’s inability to convert their opportunities is one of the major reasons they continue to languish in tenth on the league table, nine points away from Arsenal in fourth. 

The Blues are joint-second with Liverpool for big chances missed in the Premier League this term (22).

However, Nkunku’s can spur Chelsea to produce better results in the final third.

The former Paris Saint-Germain forward is a clinical finisher and an underrated playmaker who can significantly boost Chelsea’s attack for the remainder of the season.

As for Lavia, he will be desperate to return to action with Moises Caicedo sealing his place in the Chelsea starting line-up with impressive performances. 

Lesley Ugochukwu has been a reliable back-up to Caicedo, and Lavia will be wary of the former Rennes man pushing him down the pecking order.

Chelsea have struggled with injuries and finishing this season, and the return of Nkunku will offer a beacon of hope in both departments as they look to force their way into the top four. 

Lavia will also strengthen Chelsea’s midfield ranks, adding depth and steel as they look to bounce back from an underwhelming season.

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