Cole Palmer is the spark that a dim Chelsea needs

Chelsea’s frivolous spending over the past two years has been debated about by many, and rightfully so. The West London club has splurged lavishly in the transfer market, causing many to intensify criticisms when on-field performances did not reflect off-field ambitions.

We can talk all day about whether they were reckless with their immense funds, but one signing that has hit the ground running and silenced many of the early skeptics is Cole Palmer.

The young English forward was surprisingly targeted by the Blues swiftly after the Michael Olise deal collapsed. Many were hesitant about the move, considering that the Manchester-bred attacker barely had more than 500 minutes of Premier League experience for City. And put into context the fairly sizeable outlay of £40 million that Chelsea paid to secure him, the doubters had credible bases.

However, to Chelsea fans’ delight, Palmer has hardly put a foot wrong since his first steps in West London royal blue.

Bundles of creativity

The Blues have missed a central creative player for years. Chelsea fans believed Mason Mount and Kai Havertz would develop into one, but that never happened.

However, it looks like their sporting directors have finally answered their prayers. Cole Palmer has proved his ability to create chances in the opening months of his career at Chelsea, which has been crucial for the recent success of Mauricio Pochettino’s side.

Upon inspection of the data, Cole Palmer ranks first for shot-creating actions (offensive actions that lead to a shot) per 90 minutes played in the Premier League for Chelsea. Furthermore, when filtering the numbers for how players contribute to their shot-creating output, Palmer is at the top for creating chances through passes in open play.

His creativity in the final third has been influential for Chelsea’s attack – producing several moments of magic in his short stint at West London.

When Chelsea met Brentford, they faced a stubborn low defensive block that was problematic to penetrate. However, Palmer was key to unlocking Thomas Frank’s structure in the first half when the Blues had plenty of chances to break the deadlock.

In the screengrab below, as Palmer shifts the ball to Disasi, he demands the players on the left wing – Cucurella and Sterling – to make progressive runs behind Brentford’s back line.

He quickly receives a return pass from the central defender and dinks an accurate ball to the feet of the Spanish left-back, who fails to convert.

In the third round of the EFL Cup, Palmer’s pass between the Brighton defender’s legs was the deciding assist of the match-winning goal.

Palmer has also demonstrated composure in deep build-up phases while upholding his creativity.

Against Fulham, the Englishman finds himself in a precarious spot when receiving a pass with his back to the opposition’s goal and Antonee Robinson just a few inches away.

Seconds later, three Fulham players encircle Palmer, but he finds the right pass to Fernandez, which unseals the opposition’s press and leads to a chance.

Against Aston Villa, Palmer pinged a superb through pass behind Unai Emery’s high defensive line for Chilwell – resulting in a shot on target for Chelsea.

In the thrilling London Derby, Palmer’s piercing pass for Nicolas Jackson produced the fourth goal that clinched the much-needed win for the visitors.

Defensive cognizance

Although Cole Palmer fits the profile of a classic creative player who enjoys roaming around and searching for pockets of space to produce magic when the team is in possession, he also meets the modern-day off-ball demands managers consider indispensable.

In Palmer’s short stint at Chelsea, there have been numerous instances when he has intercepted or nicked the ball off the opposition – prompting dangerous counterattacks like examples that stand out against Brighton and Arsenal.

The Chelsea No.20’s defensive awareness has also generated goals. Against Fulham and Blackburn Rovers, Palmer assisted the goalscorers after swiping possession from the opposition and laying it off to teammates to finish.

The missing end product

At the tender of twenty-one, Cole Palmer has a long way to go to fulfill the electrifying talent that Chelsea fans have recognized. However, a glaring weakness in his game is supplying consistent end product in front of the goal.

Palmer has recorded four goals in the Premier League this season – all coming from the penalty spot. But what is slightly worrying has been his blunt finishing from open play.

The two instances that quickly come to mind were the crucial opportunities he received on a plate against Arsenal and Brentford when he failed to convert from point-blank range.

It does not mean Palmer cannot deliver astonishing finishes, but bringing consistency will take time.

He has already shown the quality of his left foot earlier this season when he produced a sublime finish for Manchester City in the FA Community Shield final.

With a veteran winger in the club who once had similar troubles, Raheem Sterling, and an experienced coach in Mauricio Pochettino, Palmer need not worry about a lack of guidance at his new club.

Nevertheless, hours will need to be invested on the training ground to sharpen his tools. But so far, Palmer has shown that he is committed to improving.

After the departure of two attacking midfielders last summer – Mason Mount and Kai Havertz – Chelsea had to fill the void left in the creativity department. It was after the sporting directors had decided that the pair were unlikely to be the creative players the club expected. So, they chose to part ways and looked to inject new blood.

They landed on Cole Palmer, who was their second choice after Michael Olise, but it is clear that they are grateful for the outcome.

Palmer has quickly transformed into a fan-favorite and cult hero after dazzling performances for the Blues. Now, he already feels like one of their own.

It is too early to predict the sustenance of the momentum Palmer is riding, but Chelsea fans are beyond doubt that they have found a gem that others thought was faux.

Related articles



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share article

Latest articles