Only four Premier League clubs have scored fewer goals than Chelsea this season (5) and Nicolas Jackson embodies the problems they’re having in attack. The 22-year-old is sixth in the league for shots per game (3.6), as per WhoScored, but is 23rd for shots on target per game (1.2). He’s only found the back of the net once since joining from Villarreal for more than £30m too.
Jackson struck the post with an effort in Chelsea’s 0-0 draw away to Bournemouth on Sunday, but he also fired a chance so wide it went into the stands. Jackson gave away more fouls (2) than he managed shots on target (1) against the Cherries, so he’s not having a good time in West London. Even Chelsea defender Levi Colwill hit the target (2) more often over the weekend.
The Senegalese international finds himself with more yellow cards (2) than shots on target (1) in his last two appearances, but Paul Merson did come to his defence recently. The Sky Sports pundit said: “He makes good runs. There’s a lot of pressure for a young lad who was playing in Spain and now is spearheading a team expected to win football matches. I don’t think it’s fair on him, so I’d definitely give him more time.”
All is not lost despite lowly form
Jackson scored 12 goals with four assists from 26 La Liga games in his last season at Villarreal, so he does have ability. He boasts 2.2 dribbles per game in the league with a 65% success rate at Chelsea while winning 1.4 freekicks per game, so there is clear potential. He is just lacking confidence in front of goal like most of his teammates.
Chelsea don’t have another natural centre-forward to call upon with Christopher Nkunku sidelined with injury, Mason Burstow being loaned out to Sunderland, Armando Broja recovering from a serious knee problem and Deivid Washington being so young and inexperienced, however, so Jackson might have to play through his poor form.
That being said, Chelsea are creating chances at least. They’re fourth in the league for shots per game (16.2), but they’re just not converting opportunities – only eight clubs have fewer shots on target per game than the Blues (4.8). It’s a confidence thing.