Enzo Fernandez stepped in to resolve a debate between Cole Palmer and Raheem Sterling
Enzo Fernandez was forced to step in after Raheem Sterling and Cole Palmer argued over a penalty during Chelsea’s match against Arsenal on Saturday evening.
The Stamford Bridge faithful were treated to a lively start to proceedings as both sides came racing out of the blocks in challenging conditions. But it was the Blues who were given the opportunity to seize an early advantage when Mykhailo Mudryk’s header struck the hand of the unfortunate William Saliba.
A penalty was awarded following a VAR intervention, with Palmer picking the ball up and walking to the spot. However, Sterling attempted to take the ball from his teammate before Fernandez intervened. Captain Conor Gallagher was not seen in the clip, which quickly went viral.
Once the dispute had been resolved, Palmer coolly dispatched the spot-kick to nudge the Blues into a 1-0 lead against Arsenal. The former Manchester City starlet came close to doubling that lead before the break with a curling strike, but Chelsea were forced to settle for a one goal advantage heading into the second-half.
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp praised Palmer for standing his ground during the half-time interval. He said: “Raheem Sterling wants it… but I have so much respect for this young man [Cole Palmer] for going ‘I want to take this penalty’. He stood up.”
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was in full agreement with his colleague, adding: “Me aswell. He’s getting more pressure from his teammates. But what he does really, really well, and penalty taking isn’t easy, when the referee blows his whistle, he waits.
“He calms everybody down and he breaks the momentum of the goalkeeper. And then he takes it. And that for me is confidence and having something, a little bit of arrogance, which is allowed.”
While Hasselbaink and Redknapp were in agreement over Palmer’s stance, they didn’t agree on the initial awarding of the penalty. While the former was convinced that the decision was correct, Redknapp argued that Saliba was unfairly penalised.
Hasselbaink said initially: “I think it’s a penalty. It’s a good cross into the box and what [Mykhailo] Mudryk does is he comes across the defender and heads the ball. For me, it’s an unnatural position for the defender and how he’s going and where he is putting his arm. Now, the rules leave a grey area but we have seen now they are giving penalties for this kind of situation.”
Redknapp then intervened: “ I need to come in here. You say it’s an unnatural position, how are you meant to jump then? You can’t jump like that. ” Hasselbaink hit back, though, saying: “Yes, but you can’t jump like you are flying like an aeroplane!”
Redknapp responded: “Yes, but you have to use your arms to give you balance. That’s not unnatural. The proximity of the ball, it is hitting him from one yard away – how can that be a handball? He has to jump to try and win the ball. If that cross comes in from Raheem Sterling and he misjudges the cross and it hits him on the hand, that’s a penalty. He has headed that from half a yard away, what is he meant to do? If we are getting to the point where that is a penalty, the game is in trouble.”