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Chelsea injury blow for Arsenal clash could be good news for Newcastle United’s European hopes

Chelsea could be without talisman Cole Palmer for tonight’s visit to Arsenal, with manager Mauricio Pochettino confirming the Premier League’s joint-top scorer is likely to miss the game with illness.

The Blues are aiming to keep the pressure on Newcastle United and Manchester United in the battle for sixth place, with the Stamford Bridge side still having a game in hand over their rivals. A win for Pochettino’s men at the Emirates tonight would leave Newcastle, Chelsea and Man United all tied on 50 points, with the Magpies and Red Devils in action on Wednesday night.

Crucially, Newcastle hold a better goal difference so will remain sixth no matter what Chelsea do tonight, ahead of their game against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park tomorrow. Manchester United are also in action on Wednesday, hosting basement side Sheffield United at Old Trafford.

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However, Chelsea will face title-chasing Arsenal without Palmer. The 21-year-old did not train on Monday following his side’s FA Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester City on Saturday. He has been the stand-out player for Chelsea this season, with seven goals in the team’s last two home games having rocketed him to the top of the scoring charts alongside City striker Erling Haaland, and ahead of Newcastle’s Alexander Isak.

“We need to assess,” said Pochettino of Palmer’s chances. “Today, no, I don’t believe he can be involved. Even if he will be good tomorrow (Tuesday) he may not be in a condition to play. With and without him, we believe that we can win. The most important thing is the collective. Of course he’s an important part of the team. He’s doing fantastic for us. But we have plenty of players that can perform and do the job.”

Pochettino defended the contributions of striker Nicolas Jackson on his debut season for the club, after he missed multiple opportunities against City to put Chelsea in the final. The 22-year-old has improved significantly in recent weeks after struggling in the aftermath of his £32million summer move from Villarreal but three times at Wembley he failed to make the most of clear openings.

“First season is always difficult but more when you are a striker and you have to perform and score goals. Everyone expects with every single touch to score,” Pochettino added. “He’s our main striker, the only striker we have fit. He’s doing fantastic. He’s doing an amazing job for the team; running, scoring goals, giving assists. His first season, a young guy, came in from Spain, even with not too much experience there.

“If we want the player to match the iconic players here, if we compare him with Drogba, obviously he’s going to lose. But he’s going to have all my support. Even if he doesn’t score, the way that he’s fighting for the club and his team-mates, he’s producing chances. He needs time to improve. He’ll be better next season for sure, no doubt about that.”

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View news Source: https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/chelsea-injury-blow-arsenal-clash-29045072

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