Football News

How reliant are Chelsea on Cole Palmer?

By Harry Edwards

Published: 16:02, 26 April 2024

In a big boost for Chelsea, midfielder Cole Palmer is expected to be fit for their trip to face Aston Villa on Saturday.

Palmer missed Chelsea’s 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Arsenal due to illness, and it quickly became apparent just how much the Blues’ play revolves around their star man. It’s not something any would have expected after Chelsea forked out £40m for a player looking set to ride the bench for Manchester City.

Fortunately, Mauricio Pochettino has confirmed that Palmer was training well in the week, with the assumption of a return to the squad for the weekend.

Pochettino was also asked by reporters about Chelsea’s reliance on Palmer, to which he replied: “We can talk, we can talk, we can talk, but in the end this is the reality. Cole is a very good player for us and he is a key player.

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“He is showing we struggle a little bit without him. That is the reality we cannot hide.”

So just how reliant are Chelsea on Palmer?

Having played 27 Premier League games so far this season, Palmer has been directly involved in 29 goals for Chelsea — scoring 20 and providing nine assists. He’s one of just two Chelsea players to hit more than 10 goals, alongside Nicolas Jackson, while only Conor Gallagher (six) and Malo Gusto (five) join him in providing more than five assists.

In total, Chelsea have scored 61 goals in the Premier League, meaning Palmer has been directly involved in 47.5% of the club’s strikes this season. No team are more reliant on a single player for goals/assists than Chelsea are on Palmer in the Premier League this season.

Only two other teams have had a player directly involved in at least 40% of their Premier League goals this season. Ollie Watkins has scored or assisted 43.7% of Aston Villa’s goals, while Dominic Solanke has had a hand in 42.9% of Bournemouth’s league strikes.

But it’s not just goals and assists. Palmer leads Chelsea for shots (82), shots on target (40), chances created (52) and big chances created (12). This is all with six players playing more Premier League minutes for Chelsea than Palmer — though it’s worth noting that Conor Gallagher and Nicolas Jackson are the only two who play in more advanced roles of that six.

Per 90 minutes, Palmer is averaged 3.55 shots and 1.73 shots on target in the Premier League, both highs for Chelsea among players with at least 612 minutes played. He also averages 0.95 possessions won in the attacking third per 90 minutes, the third-best among the Chelsea squad.

When it comes to passes, Palmer is seventh for passes completed in the Premier League among Chelsea players. But again, in the areas that matter, he’s top. Palmer ranks top for final third passes attempted (451), second for final third passes completed (420), as well as top for through balls attempted (25) and completed (11).