The Premier League season is just five matches old and already Chelsea find themselves walking a suspension tightrope. Nicolas Jackson has picked up four bookings and is now just one yellow card away from a one-match ban.
Only Anthony Gordon can match that figure across the division, but the Blues have a whole host of stars already on two cards. Ben Chilwell, Carney Chukwuemeka, Axel Disasi and Enzo Fernandez have all found themselves in the referee's book twice so far this term.
With 12 players out injured when Chelsea faced Bournemouth at the weekend, the west London side are not really in a position to withstand any unnecessary absences. It will not be reassuring that Jackson is the player nearest a suspension, with the lack of depth in the position for the moment coming under scrutiny.
Recent matches have seen Pochettino persist with Jackson for 90 minutes despite difficult performances against the Cherries and Nottingham Forest. The Blues' striking options to replace the former Villarreal forward on Sunday were 18-year-olds Deivid Washington and Ronnie Stutter, who have yet to feature in the Premier League. More obvious alternatives Christopher Nkunku and Armando Broja have been unavailable to injury and rehabilitation.
What may be most frustrating is that Jackson's reprimands have come from airing his frustrations or asking for yellow cards to be awarded, following the Premier League's new guidelines to punish such behaviour. Pochettino attempted to explain why Jackson was consistently being caught out.
«Because he's a striker and he needs to score,» he said. «He is disappointed and frustrated, when something happens sometimes he complains, and today the rules about complaining to the referee is directly a yellow card.Read on football.london