Cole Palmer magic : Stamford Bridge becoming a fortress Chelsea with season-best football

Cole Palmer The Talisman As Stamford Bridge becoming a fortress Chelsea with season-best football

Chelsea are now playing their best football of the season, and the question is whether this will strengthen Mauricio Pochettino’s position as manager.

After the 5-0 defeat at Arsenal, the Argentine faced renewed conversations about his long-term suitability for the role at Stamford Bridge.

But since then, a 5-0 win at home to West Ham represents redemption after a dominant 2-0 victory against Tottenham on Thursday night.

Goals from Cole Palmer, Conor Gallagher, Noni Madueke and two from Nicolas Jackson have boosted Pochettino’s authority and Chelsea’s hopes of European qualification.

Cole Palmer the talisman

Palmer went three games without scoring before West Ham’s visit, but normal service was resumed here.

The two-time England international showed his class when Angelo Ogbonna’s poor clearance fell to him in the box, crashing in a left-foot finish after just 14 minutes.

This was his 26th goal in all competitions, including the two he got for Manchester City before his transfer, and he also has produced 13 assists.

Those sensational numbers mean he is just the seventh player to score or assist against 14 clubs in a single season, and he is now second with 21 goals in the race for the Golden Boot.

Jackson has also matched Didier Drogba’s tally for goals in all competitions during his debut season, netting his 15th and 16th goals for Chelsea during the rout.

Stamford Bridge a fortress

Whisper it quietly, but Stamford Bridge is becoming a fortress again.

Chelsea have not lost at home since the 4-2 defeat to Wolves in February.

They’ve now won nine of their last 11 league matches at home and only lost once in 19 matches in all competitions.

The only problem is two of Chelsea’s last three games are away at Nottingham Forest and Brighton, before a home match against Bournemouth rounds off the season.

Palmer has consistently scored throughout most of the season, but Chelsea’s big difference is the tightening up at the back.

Suddenly, Marc Cucurella and Benoit Badiashile have found form, Thiago Silva is stepping up in his swansong, and Trevoh Chalobah’s return has made a big difference.

The Blues have now earned back-to-back clean sheets for the first time since February 2023.

That remarkable stat shows just how far the club has fallen. Still, the newfound solidity may come just in time for the Blues to qualify for Europe after they won to leapfrog seventh-placed Manchester United.

Seventh should be enough to earn Europea Conference League qualification, but finishing above Newcastle would allow them to play in the Europa League instead.

The returns from injury of Silva, Christopher Nkunku, Malo Gusto, Levi Colwill, Axel Disasi and Raheem Sterling are major boosts to the Blues.

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