Football News

The answer to Chelsea’s midfield dilemma? Carney Chukwuemeka nabs brace in behind-closed-doors friendly vs Brighton

By Ben Green

Published: 11:30, 18 September 2022

Chelsea triumphed in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Brighton on Saturday afternoon after their game on Sunday was suspended — and Carney Chukwuemeka impressed with two goals.

The unofficial showdown took place at the Amex Stadium, with Graham Potter returning to his old stamping ground only a week after leaving the Seagulls for Chelsea in a compensation deal believed to be around £20m.

Both clubs put out heavily-rotated sides that contained a mixture of senior and youth players, with the contest taking place after Chelsea and Brighton’s Premier League games against Liverpool and Crystal Palace respectively were postponed.

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Among the most eye-catching names to get a run out on the South Coast for Potter was summer signing Carney Chukwuemeka, who joined from fellow Premier League club Aston Villa in August for £20m, but he is yet to make his first official appearance for the Blues.

The 18-year-old may be hoping to rectify that in the coming weeks and months after he scored both goals for Chelsea in the 2-1 friendly win on Saturday, laying down the gauntlet for his new boss in the dugout.

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Potter has certainly cultivated a reputation for developing young talent, blooding in several starlets during his career and giving them a platform to showcase their talents, not least Moises Caicedo, Tariq Lamptey — who joined from Chelsea — and Daniel James at Swansea City.

Given the uncertainties that currently surround the contracts of experienced midfield duo Jorginho and N’Golo Kante, whose respective deals both expire at the end of the 2022/23 season, Potter may look to start handing precocious No. 8 Chukwuemeka more considerable minutes. It is believed that Kante has already rejected a two-year (plus the option for a third) contract offer from Chelsea, according to The Athletic.

The highly-regarded England U19 international has been tipped for the very top and may now feel that under Potter he can be fast-tracked to the senior fold and start showing his talents on the biggest stage. If he realises that potential this campaign, it will certainly take some of the pressure off Chelsea if the Kante and Jorginho contract sagas drag out.