Football News

Cole Palmer chases another milestone while Chelsea seek to avoid unwanted piece of history

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 14:00, 12 April 2024

It was one step forward, two steps back for Chelsea in the Premier League last time out.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men could not follow up their incredible 4-3 win over Manchester United, as Sheffield United held the Blues to a 2-2 draw at Bramall Lane.

The result mirrored their win over United, but they dropped points in stoppage time on this occasion. It also meant Chelsea last registered consecutive wins in England’s top division earlier this year, when they were on a three-game winning streak.

An immediate concern for Pochettino is how open games involving Chelsea have been lately. They’ve both scored and conceded at least twice in their last seven matches in all competitions. In English football history, no top-flight side has ever done so in eight consecutive games.

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Across those seven matches in which they’ve finished unbeaten (four wins and three draws), the Blues scored 20 goals while conceding 15 times. Of those efforts, their ‘most valuable player’ Cole Palmer was part of all but nine (seven goals and four assists). Palmer, who joined from boyhood club Manchester City last summer, is arguably the season’s best signing.

He goes into their upcoming showdown against Everton, having been involved in 25 goals in his last 22 Premier League games, scoring 16 and assisting nine. One more assist would see him become the first Chelsea player to register double figures for both goals and assists in his first Premier League season with the club.

Speaking in a recent edition of The Rest Is Football, former England international turned presenter Gary Lineker was asked in a hypothetical situation who from Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka and Cole Palmer he would buy, bench and sell.

“It makes me feel slightly queasy to put Saka on the bench and sell Palmer, because who would want to sell a player that good, only Manchester City would do something that stupid,” he said.

Half were from the penalty spot if we break down Palmer’s strikes. Incredibly, only Frank Lampard netted more from twelve yards (10 goals) in a single Premier League campaign (2009/10 season).

Those most recent efforts (seventh and eighth) came in the aforementioned stunning win over United, which led to Chelsea’s head coach Pochettino discussing Palmer’s incredible debut campaign.

“Sometimes expectations play a very important role on a player when they are young. When we signed Palmer, nobody expected him to perform in the way he is performing, but maybe if we paid more, people put pressure on a guy who is young like him,” he began.

“For sure, we have talented players who need time. All are in a different level with expectation, pressure and everything, but we have a young team that needs to grow. This process is painful because when we don’t win, it’s tough and difficult for everyone and our fans. We know what we are doing but the process is not as fast as everyone expected.”