How Cole Palmer, jilted by Manchester City, became Chelsea’s heart-throb | Football News - Hindustan Times
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How Cole Palmer, jilted by Manchester City, became Chelsea’s heart-throb

Apr 19, 2024 07:01 PM IST

At present, Chelsea are placed ninth -- that too after a recent good run. Fans are in distress and Palmer has been the only shining light for them so far.

The signing of Cole Palmer has probably been the only good news for Chelsea this season. The club is struggling just like last season when they had finished 12 th on the points table. For the first time in this century, they had finished in the bottom half.

Chelsea's Cole Palmer celebrates after scoring his side's fifth goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea and Everton(AP)
Chelsea's Cole Palmer celebrates after scoring his side's fifth goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea and Everton(AP)

At present, they are placed ninth -- that too after a recent good run. Fans are in distress and Palmer has been the only shining light for them so far.

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The 21-year-old joined the Blues from Manchester City in September last year and has since proved to be a top signing. The last few weeks have been particularly very fruitful for him. Earlier this week, he scored four goals in Chelsea’s 6-0 thumping of Everton.

If you think that’s no big deal considering Everton is fighting for survival in the Premier League in the bottom half of the table not far from the relegation zone, just a few days before he was also unstoppable against none other than Manchester United whom the Blues edged for a famous 4-3 win.

Between these two games, there was also a 2-2 draw against Sheffield United and this time Palmer didn’t score, but guess what… He provided an important assist. The game against Everton was the seventh successive home game for Chelsea with Palmer scoring one goal at least.

The magnitude of his exceptional performance can be gauged from the fact the last time somebody had scored four goals for Chelsea in a Premier League game was way back in 2010 and the man who did it was club legend Frank Lampard.

Palmer, with his heroics against Everton, also became the first player since Didier Drogba in 2010 to score back-to-back hat-tricks at home. Besides, for the first time in Chelsea history, somebody registered a first-half Premier League hat-trick. Last but not least, he became the third player to score 20+ goals in their debut season for the London-based club after Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink in 2000-01 and Diego Costa in 2014-15.

And just like that, the attacking midfielder has gone to the top of the goal-scorers’ list for 2023-24. With 20 goals, he shares the honours with Manchester City’s Erling Haaland and is now a strong Golden Boot contender. Besides, he has provided a whopping nine assists.

If anyone can take Chelsea to a European competition next season, it is Palmer. The Champions League is out of the question. But a place in the Europa League or the Europa Conference League is still a possibility.

At the time the English player left City to join Chelsea, there were not many City supporters happy with the development. City had invested a lot into Palmer at their academy over the years but when he was ready to return the favour, they let him go after not testing him enough.

Weeks before joining Mauricio Pochettino’s men, Palmer, who can glide past defenders like a breeze, had scored in City’s UEFA Super Cup win against Sevilla. He had also scored against Arsenal in the Community Shield.

Palmer agreed to join Chelsea on a 42.5-million-pounds deal but did he really want to leave? Common sense dictates he wouldn’t have been too happy. City have been hands down the biggest club in England for almost one and a half decades now. He would have wanted to continue playing for them but then the opportunities were few and far between for him there.

City earlier this week exited the Champions League, losing to Spanish giants Real Madrid in a penalty shootout. Palmer can rub it in more on Saturday night as Pochettino and Guardiola’s men line up in the FA Cup semi-final. It may be noted the FA Cup winners are rewarded with a direct spot in the group stage of the Europa League.

Chelsea may find EL qualification difficult through their Premier League position, so the FA Cup becomes very important now for them. It is just a matter of two wins now.

So Palmer has more reasons to buckle up and show his team the way. But make no mistake, City will be equally determined not to let him work his magic, especially after his goal from the spot in stoppage time that had denied them victory in November last year.

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