Chelsea ratings: Cole Palmer crucial in win vs. Sheffield United

Dec 16, 2023, 12:30 PM ET

Chelsea got back to winning ways in the Premier League on Saturday as they enjoyed a 2-0 win over Sheffield United at Stamford Bridge.

The home side created little in a quiet first half against a well-organised defence, leaving much for manager Mauricio Pochettino to do at the break. The Blues came out much stronger in the second half with Raheem Sterling and Cole Palmer swapping positions. That switch provided swift dividends as Sterling beat his man before assisting Palmer for the opener in the 54th minute.

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Chelsea then doubled their lead on the hour mark when Nicolas Jackson tapped in as Palmer, who was the star man for the Blues on the day, was involved again to register the assist.

Relegation-battling Sheffield United didn’t offer much response as the hosts controlled the remainder of the match to seal back-to-back league wins at Stamford Bridge for the first time this season.

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Chelsea eventually got it right after making the attacking switch at half-time, while there was also promise from the midfield partnership of Moisés Caicedo and Conor Gallagher, who were both dominant in their battles across the match. Their display might make it difficult for Pochettino to bring midfielder Enzo Fernández back into the fold.


A poor first-half display from Chelsea saw them lack any real spark, and they finished the first 45 minutes with lower expected goals (xG) than the visitors, who have only scored 12 league goals all season.

Manager rating

Mauricio Pochettino, 7 — Chelsea looked much more incisive with their work after the break, with Pochettino’s tactical tweaks for Sterling and Palmer led to improvement from both of them, and they soon combined for the first goal.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Djordje Petrovic, 6 — The Serbian was rarely tested on his first start in the Premier League against a defensive-minded Sheffield United. Pushed an effort from range wide in the second half that looked to be going wide anyway. With Pochettino confirming that No. 1 Robert Sánchez is set to be out for “a few weeks,” Petrovic will face sterner tests as he deputises over the busy Christmas period.

DF Levi Colwill, 6 — The 20-year-old defender got forward up the left flank to support Mykhailo Mudryk. He didn’t allow much to develop for the opposition down his side in an assured performance.

DF Benoit Badiashile, 7 — Badiashile set the tone with a strong run out from the back early on, and he continued to cause problems for the Blades by creating an option in the final third. He was also strong in the challenge against a physical target man in Sheffield United’s Oli McBurnie.

DF Thiago Silva, 7 — The Brazilian veteran looked comfortable as he read the game at the back to intervene and reclaim possession for his side.

DF Axel Disasi, 7 — A strong performance at right-back from the France international, who kept things simple with his passing amid a solid defensive display.

Cole Palmer helped Chelsea secure back-to-back league wins at home for the first time this season with a goal and an assist against Sheffield United. Chris Lee – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

MF Moises Caicedo, 7 — The British-record signing had plenty of the ball on the day with the opposition sitting deep, and he was quick to snuff out the danger from potential attacks. Unlucky with a through ball that almost provided Jackson with a big chance in the first half.

MF Conor Gallagher, 7 — A standout performance from Chelsea’s captain saw him begin a number of attacks from anticipating play, while the England international consistently made the right decision going forward.

MF Mykhailo Mudryk, 5 — There wasn’t enough space for the Ukrainian to work with as multiple defenders looked to close him down, and he didn’t make the most of the time when he did find a moment to unleash a shot at goal, with his effort almost finding the corner flag.


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SATURDAY, DEC. 16 (all times ET)
• Augsburg vs. Borussia Dortmund (9 a.m.)
• Southampton vs. Blackburn (10 a.m.)
• Athletic Club vs. Atletico Madrid (12 p.m.)
• RB Leipzig vs. Hoffenheim (12 p.m.)
• Valencia vs. FC Barcelona (3 p.m.)

SUNDAY, DEC. 17 (all times ET)
• West Brom Albion vs. Stoke (7 a.m.)
• Real Sociedad vs. Real Betis (10 a.m.)
• Bayer Leverkusen vs. Eintracht (11 a.m.)
• Royal Antwerp vs. Anderlecht (12 p.m.)
• Bayern Munich vs. Stuttgart (1 p.m.)
• AZ vs. PSV (3 p.m.)
• Real Madrid vs. Villarreal (3 p.m.)

MF Cole Palmer, 8 — The 21-year-old looked most likely to make something happen from the No. 10 role, and he always looked to play progressively despite often being crowded out by the Blades defence. Timed his run well inside the box to score the opener from Sterling’s cutback. Palmer was then involved again at the hour mark as he set up Jackson for a tap-in.

MF Raheem Sterling, 6 — One of Sterling’s best moments of the first half was when he worked hard to stop a dangerous counter-attack. Positive work after the break saw him beat his marker before cutting back for Palmer to score the opening goal.

FW Nicolas Jackson 6 — The striker came to life toward the end of the first half with a curling effort that went past the post, and managed to get on the scoresheet with an easy finish from Palmer’s pass across goal.

Substitutes (players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

Enzo Fernandez (Mudryk, 69′), 6 — Introduced as Pochettino wanted his side to control the remainder of the game.

Armando Broja (Sterling, 75′), N/R — Unable to score his first goal since Oct. 2 in the short time he got on the pitch.

Malo Gusto (Jackson, 94′), N/R — A late addition in stoppage time with the match already won.

Ian Maatsen (Palmer, 94′), N/R — His introduction did little else except give Palmer the chance to take his applause from the home crowd.


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