Chelsea 6-0 Everton: Cole Palmer bags four as Everton’s relegation fears worsen again

Cole Palmer’s second successive hat-trick at Stamford Bridge saw Chelsea run out comprehensive 6-0 winners over relegation-threatened Everton. Another chapter written in the incredible season that the England international has had surely seals his seat on the plane to EURO2024, with competition rife for spaces in Gareth Southgate’s squad.

Meanwhile, regarding Everton’s ongoing battle against plying their trade in the Championship next season, Sean Dyche’s side now remain only two points above the relegation zone – but with a game in hand – ahead of their must-win match against fellow relegation rivals Nottingham Forest on Sunday.

As it happened

Deeply involved in the end-of-season relegation battle, realistically involving no fewer than six teams, Everton should have been celebrating the game’s opening goal after 11 minutes. However, Beto – deputising due to a hamstring injury suffered by Dominic Calvert-Lewin – somehow fired Seamus Coleman’s delicious delivery across the danger zone over the crossbar from deep inside the penalty area.

Ominously, the Portuguese’s miss came back to haunt the visitors only two minutes later, with one of the contenders for the PFA Player of the Season award, Cole Palmer, audaciously nutmegging Jarrad Branthwaite, exchanging a clinical one-two with Nicolas Jackson before unleashing an unstoppable curler into the corner of the net.

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Now with 26 goal contributions (17 goals and nine assists) to his name in the Premier League this season – with only Ollie Watkins accumulating more – Palmer unconventionally missed a glorious opportunity to double his own, and the Blues’ tally.

Almost immediately after breaking the deadlock, the talismanic talent somehow failed to fully connect with the ball in front of a gaping open goal. However, it did not take him long to find the net again as he instinctively arrived into the area to fire home the rebound after Jackson’s effort had welcomingly been parried into his path by Jordan Pickford.

Unbelievably, Palmer completed a second consecutive three-goal haul at Stamford Bridge after only 29 first-half minutes, as an inexplicably mistimed pass out from the back by Pickford allowed his international teammate to delightfully loft the ball over an apologetic Everton goalkeeper and the process, complete a perfect hat-trick.

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The visitors did think they had managed to get their presence on the scoresheet not long after, however Beto’s joy was immediately turned to despair as he witnessed his header ruled out for offside.

If the game had not been put to bed after Palmer’s heroics inside the opening half-hour at Stamford Bridge, Jackson certainly tucked Everton in on the stroke of half-time. The Senegalese striker sensationally plucked Marc Cucurella’s cross out of the air before sublimely volleying the ball while still on the spin beyond Pickford – on his 400th career appearance – via the assistance of the post.

In response to being overrun by Palmer and Jackson in the first half, Dyche somewhat forcibly rolled the substitutional dice during the break as he introduced Jack Harrison, Nathan Patterson and André Gomes – in the hope of restoring some pride in the capital.

Unsurprisingly, it was the man-of-the-match who nearly bagged a fourth for himself on the evening as he saw his one-on-one effort well-saved by Pickford. Nonetheless, it did not take Palmer long to grab his fourth of the evening from the penalty spot, following Michael Keane’s rash decision to clinically conclude Noni Madueke’s marauding run into the area. In doing so, Palmer subsequently became the first Chelsea player to score four times in a Premier League match since Frank Lampard did back in 2010

Palmer exited the pitch to a fully-deserved standing ovation from all sides of Stamford Bridge in the 80th minute, however, Chelsea were not finished with their goalscoring escapades there, as second-half substitute Alfie Gilchrist netted his maiden goal for his boyhood club with a sublimely-struck strike after fellow alteration Ben Chilwell had forced Pickford into a fine save.

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An easy evening’s work for Chelsea extends their unbeaten Premier League record to eight matches, and in turn, closes the gap on sixth-placed Newcastle United to three points – with the Blues still with the potential advantage of having a game in hand.

The lineups

CHE: Petrović; Gusto, Silva, Chalobah, Cucurella; Gallagher, Caicedo; Madueke, Mudryk, Palmer; Jackson

EVE: Pickford; Coleman, Tarkowski, Branthwaite, Mykolenko; Young, Garner, Onana, McNeil; Doucouré; Beto