Gallagher signs, Pochettino task, Nkunku question answered – Chelsea's dream end to season

Chelsea attacker Christopher Nkunku
Christopher Nkunku made his long-awaited return to action on Sunday afternoon -Credit:Catherine Ivill – AMA

Is there - and I say this with a lot of uncertainty - a 'feel-good factor' at Chelsea right now?

It almost feels as if there is. And that by itself is bizarre because there have been little to none of them all season-long. But with back-to-back victories – and comfortable ones – against West Ham United and Tottenham at Stamford Bridge, the mood coming out of the stadium on Sunday afternoon was very positive.

Mauricio Pochettino was in a great mood. Why wouldn't he be? He had just seen another virtually-faultless performance from his side, just three days after an almost-perfect one against Spurs.

There looks to be progress. Clear progress. Notably so. Something Chelsea supporters have been starved off for much of the season but it now looks as if the players have bought into Pochettino and his way of playing football – and the evidence has been left on the pitch in the last two games.

Now, this is no way saying that it is job done. Of course not. But it looks to be a big step in the right direction. With this being said, Bobby Vincent takes a look at a few things that must happen between now and the end of the season from a Chelsea point of view...

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Gallagher signs

In Chelsea's recent resurgence, this man has been fantastic. Conor Gallagher has captained the Blues for the majority of the season in Reece James and Ben Chilwell's absence.

On Sunday afternoon, Gallagher netted his seventh goal of the season – in all competitions – with a wonderfully-struck volley. That goal, his second in three games, as well as his performance showcased his importance to Chelsea.

The England international has just over 12 months remaining on his deal with Chelsea but the club are yet to open talks with the midfielder over an extension to his stay, understands. In an ideal world, Gallagher would stay put at Chelsea but there are some within the club who are said to believe selling the midfielder makes more business sense for the Blues.

Gallagher, though, has proved his importance all season-long. Even in Chelsea's lowest moments, the Cobham graduate has often stood up and made himself counted. He has not been faultless by any means but he has been one of the most consistent performers in an inexperienced squad.

At the time of writing, it very much looks as if Gallagher's future will be a saga in the summer transfer window. From Chelsea's point of view, they need to try and quash any speculation over his future before the window opens.

Pochettino's big task

Despite the recent positive form from Chelsea, the future of the head coach Pochettino is uncertain. The Argentine will see his position as head coach reviewed in the summer, as was always the plan, understands.

A big part in the board's decision is believed to be whether or not Chelsea qualify for European football this term. With three games remaining of their campaign, the Blues look in a strong position to do so but they will need to keep up and build on their recent momentum.

A win next time out against Nottingham Forest is a must, not only for the points, but to signal even more progress. Chelsea have struggled so much on the road this season – winning just twice in all competitions since the turn of the year away from home. The squad will need to show their mettle against a team battling to stay in the Premier League.

Nkunku minutes

It would be absolutely fantastic to see Christopher Nkunku record some much-needed time on the pitch in the remaining matches of the season. The 26-year-old made his eighth appearance of the season in the Premier League at the weekend, coming on for the final 15 or so minutes at Stamford Bridge.

Nkunku has now returned from a hamstring problem that kept him sidelined since the Carabao Cup final defeat to Liverpool in late-February. With his first season in England nearly over, we are still no closer to knowing where the France international will be played in the long run under Pochettino.

His versatility means he can be used anywhere across the front-line, like he was at RB Leipzig before his £52million move less than 12 months ago. It would be great for Nkunku to get some more minutes and try and spark a link-up with Nicolas Jackson, with the two seeming to have natural chemistry with one another during the club's pre-season tour of the United States last summer.