Cole Palmer’s four-goal haul helps Chelsea pile misery on dismal Everton

The players who tried hardest to stop Cole Palmer scoring were his own on dreadful night for Toffees

Premier League: Chelsea 6 Everton 0

On a night when Jordan Pickford’s distribution deteriorated and Jarrad Branthwaite added to Sean Dyche’s gloom by going off injured, nothing summed up the extent of Everton’s collapse more than the fact that the players who tried hardest to stop Cole Palmer scoring were wearing blue.

Even Chelsea’s most emphatic win in the Premier League this season had to feature a reminder of their immaturity. Palmer, whose second hat-trick in as many home games moved him up to 20 goals and nine assists in his debut season in west London, was as bemused as anyone when Nicolas Jackson and Noni Madueke tried to take a second-half penalty off him.

Palmer was hunting his fourth and Mauricio Pochettino, whose side are three points off sixth place, saw normal service resumed when the attacker made it 5-0. The focus could flip back to Chelsea’s vibrancy, as well as a dismal performance from Everton. Alfie Gilchrist completed the humiliation with his first senior goal and left Everton, two points above the bottom three, in trouble.


The prematch bulletins from Chelsea focused firstly on additions to a sprawling injury list and then, as is the way these days, on revelations from their year-end accounts. A loss of £90.1m was the most troubling detail, of course, but at least the sale of a couple of hotels from one club-affiliated entity to another soothed the pain. Everton, who lodged an appeal against their latest points deduction on Monday, can only marvel at such financial creativeness.

Perhaps that was why they began this game as if powered on by a sense of injustice. Backed by a noisy, indignant away end, who booed the Premier League anthem before kick-off, Everton made an enterprising start and seemed to have Chelsea rattled during the early stages. Dwight McNeil pressed Malo Gusto into conceding a needless corner and Chelsea should have been behind when Séamus Coleman got behind Marc Cucurella in the 10th minute, only for Beto to knee the right-back’s powerful cross over from three yards out.

It was a costly miss from the player filling in for the hamstrung Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Bereft of quality in the final third, the visitors were soon made to wince by Palmer serenely guiding Chelsea into a position of dominance.

Playing as a number 10 because of Enzo Fernández’s absence, there was a disdain to the way that Palmer dealt with Everton. Pinning him down was impossible. So adept at finding space, Palmer was too clever, too fearless and, given that his first act of the night was to spark a Chelsea attack with a nutmeg, too mischievous to be stopped.

This was a player operating on a different level to everyone else on the pitch. Palmer, who was watched by Steve Holland, England’s number two, was already fizzing with ideas when Gusto found him in the 13th minute. There was no chance of Branthwaite disturbing him by aggressively stepping forward. Palmer’s skill was outrageous. Branthwaite, a good centre-back, was nutmegged and left on the floor. A flick to Jackson followed and when the striker played the ball back to Palmer, he had time to guide a measured shot past Pickford with his left foot.

Everton had no response. Five minutes later, they all stood still when Conor Gallagher stopped a ball going out of play. Moisés Caicedo took over, barging past James Garner, and Mykhailo Mudryk reached the byline. Jackson shot, Pickford saved and Palmer headed in his second.

The perfect hat-trick was completed inside 30 minutes. After going long at the outset, Everton decided to try their hand at playing out from the back. It was going well until Pickford passed straight to Palmer, who lobbed the ball into the empty net with his right foot.

Everton were out of their depth. They battled for a while, Beto having a header ruled out for offside, but they were wretched whenever Chelsea ran at them. Madueke’s pace terrified Vitaliy Mykolenko and it hardly helped that Coleman and Ashley Young, the players manning Everton’s right flank, had a combined age of 73. Cucurella, surging down the left just before-half-time, would expose further cracks when he crossed for Jackson, who had time to receive with his back to goal, turn and beat Pickford.

Jackson deserved his 10th league goal of the season after tormenting James Tarkowski and Branthwaite. Everton, who were booed off at half-time, were a mess. Their problems increased when Branthwaite limped off in the 55th minute.

The suffering continued, Pickford denying Palmer. Moments later Palmer and Madueke both went down in the area. Paul Tierney pointed to the spot and Madueke rowed with Jackson over who over was going to take the penalty.

The answer, thanks to an intervention from Gallagher, was Palmer. Pochettino looked mystified as his players squabbled and Palmer sent Pickford the wrong way. Dyche had bigger problems, though. – Guardian