Cole Palmer hits four as Chelsea thrash Everton

Chelsea midfielder Cole Palmer scored four goals, including a hat trick in the first 30 minutes, as his side hammered Everton 6-0 on Monday to maintain their push for a European spot and leave the visitors still hovering above the relegation zone.

The 21-year-old Palmer underlined his England credentials with a classic left foot, header, right foot treble and then added a second-half penalty as Chelsea ran riot.

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Nicolas Jackson and substitute Alfie Gilchrist were also on target as Chelsea remain ninth on 47 points but with games in hand on all the teams above them.

"When we signed him (Palmer) he was a great talent," Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino said. "He is doing fantastic, he is doing really well and he has adapted himself. The impact on the team was amazing from day one."

It was a sobering night for Sean Dyche's visitors, however, as the heavy defeat leaves Everton 16th on 27, two places and two points above the relegation zone amid their appeal of a second points deduction levied by the Premier League so far this season.

"A horrid night, miles away from where we want to be," said Dyche. "The hard yards, simple tackling, basic principles - all out the window and it was a massive reminder of where we are."

Everton actually had the first good chance, but Beto blasted over from point-blank range after 10 minutes and it was downhill from then on.

Palmer got things moving after 13 minutes when he nutmegged Jarrad Branthwaite, played a one-two with Jackson and instantly clipped a shot from the edge of the box beyond the diving Jordan Pickford.

Cole Palmer, left, celebrates after scoring a goal for Chelsea against Everton in the Premier League.
Cole Palmer, left, celebrates after scoring a goal for Chelsea against Everton in the Premier League.
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Five minutes later more intricate passing -- albeit alongside some tentative Everton defending -- set up the second as Pickford parried a Jackson shot straight to Palmer, who nodded it into the empty net.

Pickford also handed Palmer his third, but it was an entirely different situation as the midfielder intercepted a poor clearance 30 metres out and, with his weaker right foot, chipped brilliantly over the retreating keeper after 29 minutes.

Jackson made it 4-0 just before the break when he brought down Marc Cucurella's cross and spun neatly to fire a low shot just inside the post.

Palmer's fourth came from the penalty spot but only after captain Conor Gallagher had to intervene to shove away Jackson and Noni Madueke after the latter was brought down in the box and they wrestled with the ball.

Gallagher eventually gave the ball to regular taker Palmer, who stroked it home 64 minutes.

Pochettino was furious about the penalty taking incident that preceded it, though, apologising for the "bad image" it sent around the world. "I made it clear that I won't accept this again -- I promise that," he said.

Palmer's fourth took him alongside Manchester City's Erling Haaland at the top of the Premier League scoring charts with 20 and his tally in all competitions to 23 as he became the first Chelsea player to reach the 20 mark since Eden Hazard in 2018-19.

Young substitute Gilchrist smashed home the sixth goal in the final minute, his first for the west London club, moments after coming on as yet another Pickford parry, to keep out a Ben Chilwell shot, fell straight to the 20-year-old.

Chelsea's good, if inconsistent, run of form has lifted them into contention for the minor European competitions -- not the aspirations of the 2021 Champions League winners, but some sort of progress after they were becalmed in mid-table two months ago -- and their fans were delighted with Monday's show.

Everton, however, remain in dire danger of a first relegation since 1951 and face a massive showdown with fellow strugglers Nottingham Forest on Sunday having seen their goal difference, as well as their confidence, take a hammering.