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Chelsea Players Briefly Stop Embarrassing Everton In Order To Embarrass Themselves

Noni Madueke of Chelsea argues with Cole Palmer of Chelsea of Chelsea about taking the penalty during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Everton FC at Stamford Bridge on April 15, 2024 in London, England.
Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images

Monday's game between Everton and Chelsea was over before 30 minutes had passed. That was thanks to Chelsea starlet Cole Palmer scoring a hat trick and Everton being really bad at soccer. There aren't many better positions for a soccer team to be in than holding a 3-0 first-half lead in front of the home fans while achieving full mastery over the opponent. And yet, because this is Chelsea, the home side still found a way to put a smudge on the proceedings.

The degree to which Chelsea was in need of a dominant, feel-good win can't really be overstated. This is a club that has spent the last few transfer windows assembling a grotesquely expensive and talented squad, and all billionaire owner Todd Boehly has to show for those efforts so far is a long run of mediocre results. Chelsea finished 12th in the Premier League last year, sit in ninth place this year, and have routinely put on embarrassing performances. It will take a lot more than one good game for Chelsea to win back the full enthusiasm of its fans, but the least a team in this position can do is give those fans a dominant, memorable win when one is handed to them. At this point in the season, Chelsea fans probably just want to be able to leave a game without having to immediately agonize over questions about underperforming players, managerial tactics, and team chemistry.

In the second half of Monday's game, a trio of Chelsea players went out of their way to ensure that the locals would enjoy no such evening of peace. After Everton gave away a penalty, Chelsea forward Noni Madueke picked up the ball and headed for the penalty spot, indicating that he would be taking the spot kick. He was immediately assailed by striker Nicolas Jackson, who wanted it known that, actually, he would be taking the pen. Jackson and Madueke shouted and slapped at each other for a little bit, before Jackson slunk off. Just as it seemed that Madueke had won the spat, Palmer and captain Conor Gallagher arrived on the scene to make something clear: Palmer would be the one taking the kick. This new scrap inspired Jackson to jump back into the fold, as he and his former enemy, Madueke, were now united in trying to get the ball off Palmer. Some more shouting and shoving took place, and eventually Palmer was allowed to take the penalty, which he converted.

Chelsea went on to win 6-0, and yet after the game Pochettino talked about how disappointed he was in his players. "The players know, the club knows, the staff knows, that the taker on penalties is Cole Palmer," he said. "All that happened after is a shame. I am so, so upset about the situation." Pochettino was asked several more questions about the incident before deciding to end the press conference early and getting into a brief shouting match with one of the journalists present.

Congratulations to Chelsea for becoming the first team in the history of soccer to win a game 6-0 and leave the stadium feeling almost as sour and embarrassed as the losing squad.

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