Chelsea 4-3 Manchester United: Cole Palmer books EURO2024 ticket with stoppage-time double

Cole Palmer has seemingly all but confirmed his inclusion in Gareth Southgate’s squad for EURO2024, after the Chelsea star bagged a hat-trick – including a stoppage-time double – against Manchester United, completing a dramatic comeback victory.

If ever fans needed reminding of why you shouldn’t leave a goal early, the Englishman netted in the tenth and eleventh minutes of second-half stoppage time – salvaging three points for Chelsea, who were trailing by a goal after ninety minutes.

Chelsea now sit just two points adrift of European qualification, while Palmer’s triple has seemingly condemned his boyhood club to missing out on UEFA Champions League football next season.

As it happened

It took merely four minutes for Mauricio Pochettino’s side to storm into an early lead at Stamford Bridge. A deflected cross from Malo Gusto on the right flank fell to Conor Gallagher inside the penalty box, with the Chelsea captain able to caress a sidefooted finish past Andre Onana.

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Bad would turn to worse for the visitors fifteen minutes later, when Antony clipped Marc Cucurella inside the box – affording Cole Palmer a chance to open his account from twelve yards out. The ex-Manchester City forward made no mistake, dispatching a composed effort past Djordje Petrović and into the bottom corner.

But Erik ten Hag’s side showed character, fighting back to restore parity before the break. Alejandro Garnacho netted first, capitalising on a mistake from Moises Caicedo, and it was the turn of Bruno Fernandes five minutes later as he turned home a cross from his compatriot Diogo Dalot.

Already identified as a potential classic by this point, Manchester United achieved the unthinkable with 67 minutes on the clock. Garnacho, not content with his solitary first-half strike, sent the Red Devils roaring into the lead – with his header past Petrović made possible by a stunning Antony assist.

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The SW6 action was by no means over. A minimum of eight minutes of stoppage time would provide one final chance for the hosts to claw a point back, but not even the most optimistic of fans could have envisaged the events that would unfold before Jarred Gillett blew for full time.

Chelsea were awarded their second penalty of the evening as a tiring Dalot felled Noni Madueke inside the box, with a lengthy VAR review ensuing before Palmer could slot home from the spot again.

His involvement was not over there: merely seconds later, Palmer completed a stunning hat-trick – with his thunderous effort taking a substantial deflection off Scott McTominay as it crashed past Onana.

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The lineups

CHE: Petrović; Cucurella, Badiashile, Disasi, Gusto; Fernández, Caicedo; Mudryk, Gallagher, Palmer; Jackson

MUN: Onana; Dalot, Varane, Maguire, Wan-Bissaka; Mainoo, Casemiro; Garnacho, Fernandes, Antony; Højlund