May 22, 2024

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Breaking down Chelsea penalty fracas: 'You can't act like kids'

Breaking down Chelsea penalty fracas: 'You can't act like kids'

After leading 4-0 at home in the first half against a dispiriting Everton, Monday looked certain to be a rare night when Chelsea's maturity and discipline would be safe from scrutiny.

What happened instead, when referee Paul Tierney awarded a penalty to the home team in the 64th minute, was a reminder to never underestimate Chelsea's ability to snatch public embarrassment from the jaws of unmitigated success, with Noni Madueke and Nicholas Jackson in the team. -His teammate Cole Palmer is in a three-way physical struggle for the right to take it.

Allow The athlete To take you through a simple analysis of the most ridiculous sequence of events seen anywhere in the Premier League this season… so far.


Malo Gusto catches the ball with the look of a pizza delivery driver nearing the end of his shift, blissfully unaware of the drama that's about to unfold.

What happens next would make more sense if it was him He was He grabs a large, hot pepperoni; Both Madueke and Jackson rushed towards him desperately with their arms outstretched. Madueke's stride is shorter than Jackson's, enabling him to accelerate and get to the ball first, but at a cost…


… Madueke's momentum carries him a little further than Gusto, while Jackson's superior judgment of space and speed enables him to hold the ball with both hands.

It looks for all the world as if Jackson is now in control, but Madueke – who allowed himself to be frustrated by converting Palmer's match-winning penalty in the final minutes at home to Manchester United 11 days ago – knows willpower, not quality of technique, is what… The most important factor here.


Jackson may have been somewhat complacent with his early success, but he made a critical mistake: he allowed Maduki to get into his inside position in front of him and use his body to block the striker's access to the ball.

It's an ideal winger move, although the great Eden Hazard will likely call for a more aggressive use of his buttocks from Madueke to keep Jackson at bay here. However, it worked, and Jackson dropped the ball.

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Jackson, now suffering from a major physical condition, resorts to a verbal attempt to back up his claim. Madueke punctuates his response by pointing to his chest, presumably hammering that home he He takes the ball to himself and not to someone else called Noni Madueke.

Also note the poetic framing in the shot above of the fans' logo paying tribute to Chelsea's greatest ever captain John Terry, a man who particularly wouldn't stand for this nonsense.

Walking and talking

Madueke moves back towards the penalty spot – showing impressive natural technique to protect the ball from his stronger left side – and Jackson follows suit, and the duo becomes more lively.

Emotions reach a point where they require outside intervention, preferably from someone old enough to be a parent to either party involved.

The old statesman

Immediately, Thiago Silva arrives on the scene to try to talk some sense into his misguided teammates.

“It's time for a change,” his eyes seem to say, as he holds Madueke and Jackson in loose but steady company. His body language suggests he's talking more to Jackson out of the two, which may inadvertently bolster Madueke's confidence that he'll end up here.

Duck and run

Silva, Justo and Madueke appeared to have cut off all escape routes for Jackson as they surrounded him, in an attempt to soften the devastating emotional blow of not being allowed a free kick in order to put Chelsea ahead.

But he has an old trick up his sleeve: he bends down as if to mend the laces of his clothes, then steps back, turns and walks away, a gesture of both contempt and submission.

Silva and Giusto now leave Madueke alone with the ball in the Everton penalty area, setting the stage for the climax of this tragicomedy.

The legal heir

Palmer is finally back on his feet after being brought down for a penalty kick, and now approaches Madueke with Chelsea captain Conor Gallagher on the pitch. He's resolute and strong without seeming remotely annoyed, while Gallagher's facial expressions suggest more fatigue than anger.

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Having the ball under his left arm enables Madueke to fend off Palmer with his right, but his most impressive technical brilliance is yet to come…

ol switch

Madueke steps back slowly, waiting for Palmer to reach the ball with his left hand before moving it to his right with the kind of casual behind-the-back dribble move that would make any NBA guard proud. But this gives Gallagher an opportunity to intervene…

Captain's vote

Realizing his time for words was over, Gallagher simply placed his hands on the ball. He is able to do this with minimal resistance because Madueke is temporarily distracted by something out of the picture. Is this a bird? Is it a plane?

Desperate rush

No, it's Senegalese Neymar!

It has emerged that Jackson was simply fooling his team-mates into a false sense of security by walking away, and now he is trying his luck again by making a late run into the penalty area. The only thing keeping the situation from achieving WWE levels of farce is the fact that Jackson couldn't get a folding chair before his surprise return.


Jackson's charge is the tipping point for Palmer to finally lose his patience, and as he held the ball with his right hand, Chelsea's designated penalty taker pushed the striker away with his left hand. Remarkably, Madueke is still in the fray and still appears to believe he can force his way into a penalty kick.

The only thing that cannot be questioned here is the boy's self-confidence.

game over

Now in full nightclub bouncer mode, Gallagher stands in front of Palmer and acts as a physical barrier in front of his two teammates, pushing Jackson and Madueke away.

Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford stepped out of his goal line in the hope of disrupting Palmer's mental preparations, only to find his English team-mate at Chelsea doing their best to do so for him.

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Palmer still scored the penalty, despite all the shenanigans of his teammates and Pickford trying to make an issue of his placement of the ball on the spot.

Television footage of the celebrations showed Madueke convincing Jackson to go and congratulate Chelsea's top scorer this season with the rest of the team, while coach Mauricio Pochettino looked on from the touchline.

“The other players wanted to win, which is understandable because the score is 4-0,” Palmer later told Sky Sports, the match's broadcaster in the UK. “But I took the penalty and I wanted to take it, so in the end I took it.

“We're trying to show that everyone wants to take responsibility. Maybe it was a bit exaggerated in terms of the argument and stuff, but everyone wants to help. It wasn't a big deal, we were laughing and joking about it. The coach (Pochettino) has told us now.”

Pochettino was unaffected by the on-field brawl (Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Pochettino was less forgiving in his comments after the match.

He said: “The players know…the club knows that Palmer is the one who takes penalty kicks.” “I'm very upset about the situation. In every country, people are watching the match, and we can't send these kind of pictures.

“I want to apologize to our fans. Discipline is the most important thing for the team. It is a team sport. I will not accept this kind of behavior. I will be very strong. I promise it will not happen again. You cannot act like children. It is unfortunate – it is unacceptable. We don't deserve to talk about this.”

Pochettino's anger diminished the comedic value of the incident, but it was an appropriate reaction. Such penalty arguments don't happen at a serious team, which Chelsea will aspire to become again sooner rather than later.

This wasn't the first time something like this had happened at Stamford Bridge this season, but it had to be the last.


Go deeper

Cole Palmer vs Everton: Shadows of Eden Hazard and goal of the season contender

(Top photo: Katherine Ifill – AMA/Getty Images)