Palmer given new Chelsea role as Pochettino faces two issues before Brighton tie


Chelsea's Cole Palmer gives a thumbs up to a fan during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Chelsea FC at St. James Park on November 25, 2023 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. 

Mauricio Pochettino has been dealt a major headache ahead of Chelsea's clash against Brighton this weekend. The Blues will welcome the Seagulls to Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon as either side looks to climb the Premier League table.

Chelsea will be keen to return to winning ways following a disappointing defeat to Newcastle United. The west Londoners had gone on a decent run up until their visit to St. James' Park, picking up a win over Tottenham Hotspur and getting a hard-fought point from Manchester City.

As for Roberto De Zerbi's side, they're unbeaten in four Premier League games – albeit only picking up one win during this run. While Brighton may be confident, they're set to be without Lewis Dunk due to suspension and they also have a crucial Europa League group stage clash away to AEK Athens on Thursday evening.

Nevertheless, Pochettino will be looking for a reaction from his players – one being Cole Palmer. The 21-year-old midfielder enjoyed prosperous honeymoon period at Chelsea following his move from Manchester City, finding the net four times in five games.

Despite his bright start to life in west London, Palmer struggled – like many others – to impress on the right-wing in Tyneside. Speaking to Squawka, Glen Johnson claimed that the England international should be operated centrally, just behind the striker.

The former Blues defender urged Pochettino to move Palmer back into a number ten role in order to get the best out of him. Johnson said: "Cole Palmer has been doing great.

"He’s obviously got a great mentality stepping up for penalties and performing against his old team. He looks calm on the ball, looks like he’s enjoying his football and it’s good to see, I think he’s the real deal.

"I prefer to see him in the middle, behind the striker," the 39-year-old added. "At the moment, I don’t think he’s quick or strong enough to be isolated one on one with defenders and is best receiving it on the half turn and being clever with his passes into strikers.

"He’s the sort of player strikers love to play with, but I don’t think that he’s the kind of player a full-back hates to play against one on one on. He’s intelligent and can play through the lines in the middle, and that’s where he should be used by Chelsea."

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