Cole Palmer is rapidly becoming the best player at Mauricio Pochettino’s disposal. Of all the expensive talents at Stamford Bridge, Palmer is now the most reliable, and he could easily become the centerpiece of Chelsea’s future.

In joining Chelsea, Palmer went from a spot reserved on the bench with Manchester City to a starting role under Mauricio Pochettino. The only tradeoff was swapping the promise of trophies at City among Europe’s elite with an uncertain measure of success at Chelsea. Palmer scored in the UEFA Super Cup against Sevilla with a header. Likewise, he scored in the Community Shield against Arsenal with a curling left-footed shot. He benefitted from having proven players around him at City who Palmer could have learned under. At Chelsea, he would be another cog in a young and unproven machine.

However, Chelsea has afforded Palmer the chance to play free. City under Pep Guardiola has a rigid structure, and while wing players like Jeremy Doku or Bernardo Silva have a key role, City is not a risk-taking side. One can look at the scoreless draw against Arsenal as an example of that. Chelsea does not have the established structure of Manchester City, such is the nature of a club under new management with Mauricio Pochettino. Yet, that has allowed Cole Palmer to show individual brilliance.

Cole Palmer the bright light in a poor Chelsea side

To be fair, Palmer stands out in part due to the dismal performances of the rest of the Chelsea front line. Nicolas Jackson, Raheem Sterling, and Mykhailo Mudryk have been dreadful at times this season. Palmer has made playing with his Chelsea teammates look easy, which is a monumental statement given his teammates’ form.

Chelsea has scored 53 goals in this season’s English Premier League. Cole Palmer’s 16 out of the midfield are by far the best for the Blues. Nicolas Jackson ranks second in Pochettino’s side, but he is seven goals behind Palmer. One of Palmer’s major criticisms is the fact that eight of his 16 goals have come from the penalty spot. Two of his hat-trick goals against Manchester United came from the spot.

In terms of the player, this is no fault of Palmer. He is the one who has the confidence and ability in the Chelsea squad to comfortably step up and convert a penalty. If anything, it speaks more about the players around him. At the age of 21, Palmer has the poise to convert in the biggest moments. That earned him the nickname ‘Cold Palmer‘ from teammates and fans alike.

Also, looking away from penalties, many of the midfielder’s goals are fantastic efforts. The left-footed blast to defeat Manchester United needed a major deflection. Still, many of the other goals have been great. His first open-play goal for Chelsea came against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Brilliant footwork and a neat finish across the face of goal leveled the game at the time. A brilliant brace against Luton Town showed his shooting and dribbling prowess in the box. He had another sensational strike against Newcastle in a win earlier this season.

Chelsea’s best can still get better

It is important to forget that Cole Palmer will still get better. He may be on sensational form at the moment with six goals in his last three league games. However, Palmer is on a consistent path of growth going back to his time with Manchester City.

Palmer may be one of the best players in the Premier League already, and that is welcome news for Chelsea. The Blues have a remarkably young squad, and the adolescence in the team is showing with the struggles of the last two seasons. Yet, results like this recent game against Manchester United can be building points. That may not be for this season, necessarily. But, as Jon Champion said on the broadcast of the game, ‘fans will be talking about Cole Palmer’s hat trick for years.’

Chelsea fans will hope to see more of those types of performances over the next decade and more.