“Exactly what have been saying” – BBC pundit can’t believe Mauricio Pochettino did not start £50m Chelsea man last night and they win
In the aftermath of Chelsea’s crucial 3-1 triumph against Crystal Palace, BBC pundit Garth Crooks has cast a discerning eye on Mauricio Pochettino’s tactical choices, specifically the decision to keep Raheem Sterling on the bench at the commencement of the game.
While the Blues eventually clinched a significant away victory, the encounter at Selhurst Park remained on a knife’s edge until the dying moments, where Conor Gallagher’s late brace in stoppage time tilted the scales in Chelsea’s favor, supplemented by Enzo Fernandez’s contribution for a three-point haul.
Crooks, however, expressed reservations about Pochettino’s decision not to include Raheem Sterling in the starting XI. The 29-year-old winger was introduced as a substitute in the 79th minute, making a pivotal impact in the build-up to Gallagher’s decisive goal. Sterling’s incisive pass on the counter-attack to Cole Palmer, who then set up the goalscorer, was a moment that injected vitality into Chelsea’s performance.
In his critique on BBC Sport, Crooks remarked, “Suddenly Raheem Sterling comes on and Chelsea find a spark and a rhythm to their game. Gallagher and Cole Palmer start to come alive and you start to ask yourself: why wasn’t Sterling on the park from the start?”
Acknowledging Chelsea’s impressive FA Cup triumph over Aston Villa in the preceding week, Crooks initially harbored doubts about a replication of such excellence against Crystal Palace. The first half, characterized by Chelsea’s sluggishness and a lackluster display, seemed to validate his concerns.
Despite Sterling’s impactful cameo leading to three crucial points, there is a dissenting opinion regarding Crooks’ perspective. The assertion counters the notion that Sterling’s recent form hasn’t been up to par, suggesting that his relegation to the bench in recent matches served as a timely wake-up call. Reports allude to a perception within Chelsea that Sterling needs to step up his performances.
While Crooks contends that Sterling’s presence from the start could have injected life into Chelsea’s game earlier, the alternative perspective emphasizes the positive impact of competition among players, especially with returning squad members from injury. Sterling’s potential resurgence in form becomes a compelling narrative to watch as the season unfolds, adding an extra layer of intrigue to Chelsea’s quest for success.