Thursday, September 21, 2023

Chelsea: Spurs could move for Brentford’s Ivan Toney before January return

This entertaining game was in the balance until Jan Paul van Hecke was sent off on the hour mark for a reckless second bookable offence and Chelsea capitalised on their numerical advantage with three goals in 11 minutes as Mudryk, Conor Gallagher and Nicolas Jackson all found the net.

While Brighton were up to the task in the first half, with the score level at 1-1 at the break thanks to goals from Danny Welbeck and Christopher Nkunku, Chelsea snatched hold of the match after the break and put themselves well in front. It was aided by a red card on the hour mark to Brighton defender Jan Paul van Heck who picked up his second yellow and left the Seagulls a man down for a third of the match.

French forward Nkunku, a recent acquisition from RB Leipzig for a reported £63 million ($80 million) brought the London club level in the 19th minute for his second goal of pre-season.

The Blues will be looking to build on their 5-0 win over Wrexham in their previous pre-season friendly. The youngsters and new signings got some crucial minutes and will be hoping to continue their preparation for the upcoming season.

The 22-year-old center back is beginning his rehabilitation at Chelsea’s training ground, the team said Tuesday, while the squad travels to the United States for a preseason trip.

And that would be regarded as a sign that Toney is also preparing for a transfer to a new club, perhaps even before his eight-month suspension for betting offences runs out in January.

Brighton looked the more purposeful in possession early on and took the lead with a clever move on 13 minutes as former Blues midfielder Billy Gilmour crossed to the far post where Kaoru Mitoma headed the ball back into the path of Welbeck, who finished off the underside of the crossbar from eight yards out.

Five minutes later Chelsea went ahead when Ukrainian Mudryk burst in from the left and after a smart exchange with Jackson, unleashed a drive into the bottom corner from outside the box.

This latest problem comes two years after the French player broke his leg in a preseason friendly for Leicester against Villarreal. That saw him miss a large part of the 2021-22 campaign.