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  • Writer's pictureBy Paul Lagan at Stamford Bridge

It's the joy of six for Chelsea as Palmer hits four against Everton, but player revolt over penalty-taking debacle

Picture by Paul Lagan

By Paul Lagan at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea 6 v Everton 0

Cole Palmer smashed Everton apart with a four-goal salvo that shook the relegation-haunted Toffeemen to the core.

The Blues saw off limited Everton 6-0 with the other goals coming from a fine strike from Nicolas Jackson and a debut cracker for Chelsea-fan Alfie Gilchrist.

But it was the 21-year-old attacking midfielder Palmer that rightly stole the show and the hearts of the Chelsea faithful.

Not since Eden Hazard in his pomp has one man pushed his team single-handedly and while the Blues remain ninth in the Premier League, he is coming into fine form at just the right time as the west Londoners face Manchester City, his former club, in the FA Cup semi-final, at Wembley on Saturday.

But this is Chelsea and on a night that should have reverberated with good vibes, inner turmoil reared it's ugly head when the players were in open revolt with each other as to who should take the penalty that made it 5-0.

Noni was upended, he snatched the ball. Jackson then stepped in and decided he wanted to take the spot kick too. Verbals and shoving then took place

There there followed the unedifying spectacle of skipper Conor Gallagher snatching that ball off Noni, handing it to Palmer who held onto it.

Jackson then had his sixpence's worth again suggesting he should have the ball.

Other players then swept in trying to calm the situation down, with Noni storming off in a huff.

In the end, it was Palmer who stroked home the spot kick. Noni was not happy.

Chelsea were terrible in the opening exchanges. They struggled to play the ball out from the back and on nine minutes almost suffered the consequences, when they lost the ball and it was fed to Beto who missed a sitter in front of Chelsea goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic.

But with their first attack of note, it was, yep, you guessed Palmer who struck a beauty of a left-footed curler from the edge of the Everton penalty area on 12 minutes after excellent set up play by Malo Gusto and Nicolas Jackson.

Palmer was unlucky not to add to his tally a few minutes later, when another quick counter attack, cut Everton apart but Mykhailo Mudryk's cross was a tad too late and Palmer got in front of the ball too early and the chance was gone.

But he made no mistake on 18 minutes when a strong period of possession on the left resulted in the ball crossed into the middle, Jackson had a shot, Jordan Pickford parried the ball out and Palmer was on hand to nod the ball into an empty net.

Palmer secured his deserved 16-minute hat-trick in audacious fashion.

Pickford simply tried to pass the ball to a defender, Palmer nipped in and chipped the England goalkeeper in embarrassing fashion, dropping the ball in to the empty net on 29 minutes.

Beto had the ball in the back of the Chelsea net on 36 minutes, but the lino registered an offside and VAR confirmed it.

Jackson got in on the act a minute before half-time when a fine turn and swivel from a deep left byline cross by Marc Cucurella zipped past Pickford to put the Blues 4-0 up.

Palmer could and should have nabbed his fourth on 54 minutes when a counter attack inspired by Mudryk fed the ex-Man City youngster, but his clipped left-footer was blocked by Pickford.

Twice there were calls for a penalty first for a foul on Palmer then seconds later on Noni - the second was given.

Noni then took the ball to take the spot kick.

Seconds later civil war broke out among the ranks as Conor Gallacher eventually took the ball off Noni and gave it to Palmer.

There was an uncomfortable scene of Noni shaking his head in anger with other Chelsea players trying to calm the situation down.

In the end, Palmer stroked home the ball to give the Blues a season-best score in the league.

Pochettino's first change saw fatigued Noni replaced by Carney Chukwuemeka on 72 minutes.

Ben Chilwell replaced Mudryk and Palmer got a standing ovation when he was replaced by Cesare Casadei with 10 minutes left.

But it took another sub Alfie Gilchrist seconds to come on the pitch and smash home the sixth with the clock heading in to seven minutes added time.

The kid just loved his moment and he deserved it – taking in the adulation of crowd who chanted 'He's one of our own'.

Teams: Chelsea: Petrovic, Cucurella, Silva, Mudryk, Noni, Chalobah, Jackson, Palmer, Gallagher, Caicedo, Gusto

Subs: Bettinelli, Badiashile, Chukwuemeka, Chilwell, Casadei, Deivid, Gilchrist, George, Dyer

Everton: Pickford, Tarkowski, McNeil, Onana, Beto, Doucoure, Young, Mykolenko, Coleman, Branthwaite, Garner

Subs: Virginia, Patterson, Keane, Danjuma, Harrison, Gomes, Godfrey,, Chermiti, Warrington

Referee: Paul Tierney


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