Cole Palmer's historic debut: breaking records and leading Chelsea

Chelsea FC v Manchester City - Premier League
Chelsea FC v Manchester City - Premier League / Ryan Pierse/GettyImages

In a season marked by constant upheaval, Chelsea found solace in one player: Cole Palmer. Amidst a campaign of contrasts, Palmer emerged as the consistent force that both fans and the squad could rely on. His outstanding performances offered stability and inspiration throughout the tumultuous season.

Originally not part of Chelsea's plans, Palmer's journey to Stamford Bridge began only after the club missed out on signing Mohammed Kudus. On transfer deadline day in 2023, Manchester City accepted a £40 million bid with £2.5 million in add-ons for the young English international. Few could have predicted the transformative impact he would have. Palmer would go on to become CFC's standout performer of the season.

By the conclusion of the 2023/24 Premier League season, Palmer, at 22 years and 13 days old, made history as the youngest player to lead the league in combined goals and assists, amassing an impressive 33 contributions (22 goals, 11 assists).

This achievement also placed him in the annals of Chelsea greats, becoming only the third player in the club’s history to score 20+ goals and provide 10+ assists in a single Premier League season. He joins the ranks of legends Frank Lampard (22 goals, 14 assists) and Didier Drogba (29 goals, 14 assists) from the 2009/10 campaign.

The 22-year-old midfielder also etched his name in the record books by securing two hat-tricks at Stamford Bridge in the same season—a feat never before accomplished by a CFC player. While Didier Drogba had scored back-to-back hat-tricks at the Bridge, they spanned two seasons (2009/10 and 2010/11).

Palmer’s consecutive hat-tricks included a perfect hat-trick against Everton in a 6-0 rout, during which he netted four goals and set the record for the fastest hat-trick in the Blues' Premier League history, scoring three times in just 29 minutes. This performance placed him among an elite group of Chelsea players to score four goals in a single Premier League match.

Palmer's consistency was further demonstrated by his scoring in seven consecutive Premier League games, setting a new club record. His prolific form also earned him the distinction of being the first Chelsea player to win both the Premier League Player and Goal of the Month awards.

His remarkable debut season was capped with the Premier League Young Player of the Season award, along with the Castrol Game Changer of the Season award for his influential performance in a 4-3 victory against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge. Jamie Carragher also considered Palmer a contender for Player of the Year, underscoring his significant impact throughout the campaign.

In his inaugural full season, Palmer not only impressed fans and pundits but also took on the mantle of leadership at a young age. His 20+ goals in all competitions made him the first Chelsea player to achieve this feat since Diego Costa in the 2014/15 season.

With Enzo Maresca’s appointment as Chelsea’s new manager imminent, Palmer stands out as a crucial player around whom the Italian can build his team. Chelsea supporters will be hopeful that Palmer can carry his stellar form into the next season, providing a strong foundation for the Maresca era at Stamford Bridge.