Chelsea breathe sigh of relief after Nicolas Jackson winner

Nicolas Jackson - Chelsea breathe sigh of relief after Nicolas Jackson winner

Nicolas Jackson had double reason to celebrate as he won Chelsea’s goal of the month competition for September and booked a Carabao Cup fourth-round date against Blackburn Rovers.

Jackson broke Chelsea’s duck for September and his solitary goal was enough to see off Brighton, who squandered two superb chances gifted to them by the club’s former goalkeeper Robert Sanchez.

With Chelsea not playing again until October 2 against Fulham in the Premier League, Jackson’s strike will go down as the club’s only goal for September but it was a valuable one.

Jackson will serve a one-match ban for the Fulham game after collecting his fifth yellow card of the season against Aston Villa, but his second-half goal to clinch victory over Brighton at Stamford Bridge went some way to making amends.

“I was very, very pleased (that Jackson scored),” said Chelsea head coach Mauricio Pochettino. “When the striker scores, it’s always important. He needed to feel the net and I think it was an important game for him. It’s important to go through in the competition to build our momentum.”

There was another injury scare for Chelsea, however, as Ben Chilwell was forced off in stoppage time with a hamstring problem as the home side saw out the game with 10 men.

Jackson also had a goal disallowed for offside that might have stood if VAR had been in use and there were some reasons for optimism in this performance for Pochettino, who was booked for disputing a late decision.

Cole Palmer started for the first time since joining Chelsea and the signing from Manchester City was bright in the number 10 role, registering a lovely assist for Jackson’s goal.

Ian Maatsen played a pass into Palmer and he brilliantly picked out Jackson, who stroked the ball into the net for only his second goal since joining Chelsea.

Jackson thought he had a second goal with 19 minutes remaining, as he celebrated after lashing the ball into the net but he had been flagged for offside and VAR was not in use in the third round. Replays showed he may well have been onside.

Chelsea’s two moments of good fortune came in the first half, during which Brighton were the better side but could not take their chances.

The inclusion of Joao Pedro was one of seven changes made by Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi and the striker failed to make the most of a gift presented to him by Sanchez in the 24th minute.

There was no real pressure on Sanchez with the ball at his feet on the edge of his own six-yard box and yet he passed it straight to the disbelieving Pedro.

With just Sanchez to beat to give the visitors the lead, Pedro lifted the ball over the Chelsea man and over the crossbar.

Chelsea could hardly believe their luck and yet they presented Pedro’s team-mate Ansu Fati with arguably an even better opportunity nine minutes later.

Sanchez tried to play out from the back again and passed the ball into another former Brighton man, Moises Caicedo. But the midfielder was quickly closed down and Fati looked to have the goal at his mercy.

The loanee from Barcelona telegraphed his attempted shot around Sanchez, who dived to his left to push the ball around his post.