Cole Palmer is up there with the very best of them

Eight exceptional Premier League stars we can’t believe Cole Palmer is outperforming in 2023-24

Chelsea’s Cole Palmer is enjoying a sensational breakthrough campaign, registering more goals and assists than some of the Premier League’s biggest names this season.

Some questioned the wisdom of Chelsea spending £42million on the youngster after he only played a fringe role for Manchester City last season. But he’s making himself a bargain and has almost certainly been the Blues’ best player under Mauricio Pochettino.

We’ve identified eight Premier League stars that have registered fewer direct goal contributions than Palmer in 2023-24.

Phil Foden

“What can I say? He is the best player in the Premier League right now for the amount of things he does. Unbelievable,” Pep Guardiola said after Foden’s second-half brace inspired Manchester City’s 3-1 comeback victory in the Manchester derby.

“He will already be a legendary player because in a short age, the games played, the minutes, the goals scored, the titles won and he is from the home and that is why the connection with the fans is unbelievable.”

We’re not going to argue with Guardiola. Foden’s been immense this season, particularly in recent weeks. So it’s particularly impressive that Palmer is level with Premier League goals (11) and ahead on assists (eight to seven) with his old City team-mate, having played over 500 fewer minutes.

Julian Alvarez

If you’d not been paying close attention to Man City this season, you might have thought that Julian Alvarez was still in his fringe rotational role from last term – a frequent fixture in the cups, regularly used as a substitute, but unlikely to make Guardiola’s first-choice XI.

But that’s all changed this year. No player in City’s squad has made more Premier League starts or appearances, and only Foden, Ederson and Kyle Walker have clocked up more minutes.

In fact, the World Cup winner has played over five full matches (450 minutes) more than Palmer in the English top flight this season. Alvarez has notched a very respectable eight goals and eight assists from Guardiola’s increased faith, but he’s still training the Chelsea star for goal contributions.

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Anthony Gordon

Speaking in an appearance on Monday Night Football, Ian Wright argued that he’d pick Newcastle’s Anthony Gordon ahead of Cole Palmer for England’s Euro 2024 squad.

“The difference for me is the pace aspect, you can’t underestimate the quality of Cole Palmer, but Gordon’s having the kind of season where in a tournament you can get that pace off the bench,” Wright said.

“At the moment he seems to have found the confidence, he feels like he’s ready to go. I think that would be a really good way to end the season for him by going to the Euros. He’s been unbelievable for Newcastle.”

It’s sound logic and a well-thought-through argument. Gordon has indeed been excellent for Eddie Howe’s otherwise underwhelming Magpies this season. But you wonder if he might’ve reconsidered his position after Palmer’s virtuoso performance against Newcastle.

With his goal and assist, Palmer is now up to 19 goal contributions (11 goals, eight assists) for the 2023-24 campaign. That comfortably puts him ahead of Gordon (nine goals, five assists).

Darwin Nunez

Look, you won’t find bigger fans of Liverpool’s box office Uruguayan than us.

After a disappointing debut season for the Reds, Nunez is slowly but surely silencing his doubters with a starring role in Liverpool’s hunt for four trophies this season. His return of 14 goals and 11 assists in all competitions is outstanding, averaging out at an excellent return of a direct contribution every 87 minutes.

But in the Premier League he trails Palmer for direct contributions (10 goals, seven assists). He has played marginally fewer minutes, though.

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Gabriel Martinelli

Arsenal are deservedly claiming all kinds of plaudits right now. They’re on a ridiculous winning run, maintaining a 100% Premier League winning record in 2024.

They’ve been superb defensively and have racked up cricket scores of late, sitting only behind Bayern Munich for goals scored across Europe’s top five leagues in 2023-24.

And yet Bukayo Saka is the only player in Mikel Arteta’s squad that bests Palmer for goals (13) and assists (eight). Gabriel Martinelli, for example, has six goals and four assists in 25 Premier League appearances. Palmer has been almost twice as lethal (a goal contribution every 91 minutes) as the Brazilian (every 176 minutes) this season.

Jarrod Bowen

The England international is enjoying the season of his life.

He recently notched a first-ever career hat-trick in West Ham’s 4-3 victory over Brentford and is already up to a career-best tally of 14 Premier League goals (plus three assists).

Bowen has certainly made a compelling case for a seat on Gareth Southgate’s plan to Germany this summer, but Palmer might have one or two things to say about that.

Marcus Rashford & Rasmus Hojlund (combined)

Palmer alone has contributed more Premier League goal contributions than two of Manchester United’s star attackers put together.

Between them, Rashford and Hojlund have 40 Premier League starts and almost 3500 minutes of action on the pitch. They’ve each notched seven goals and two assists this season, giving them a joint tally of 18 direct goal contributions – one fewer than Palmer.

Admittedly things have turned a corner for Hojlund, who has been on fire in 2024, and there have been some encouraging signs for Rashford in recent weeks, but still the pair have been well and truly overshadowed by Chelsea’s star man this season.

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