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Aston Villa logo
Premier League | Gameweek 35
Apr 27, 2024 at 8pm UK
Villa Park
Chelsea logo

Aston Villa
2 - 2

Cucurella (4' og.), Rogers (42')
Luiz (49'), Rogers (64'), Bailey (66')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Madueke (62'), Gallagher (81')
Caicedo (49'), Mudryk (82'), Silva (87'), Badiashile (90+10'), Madueke (90+10')

Where should Chelsea use Cole Palmer against Aston Villa?

Where should Chelsea use Palmer against Aston Villa?
© Reuters
Chelsea have reportedly been handed a boost ahead of facing Aston Villa with Cole Palmer seemingly available to play, but where should the playmaker be deployed in the West Midlands?

Chelsea have reportedly been handed a much-needed boost ahead of facing Aston Villa on Saturday night.

Cole Palmer has been the clear star of the Blues' season, the playmaker currently sitting joint-top of the Premier League goalscoring charts with 20 goals.

However, the 21-year-old was missing from the squad on Tuesday evening as Chelsea suffered a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Arsenal in the Premier League.

With Chelsea's injury list already in double figures, it was an absence Mauricio Pochettino could ill-afford when the West Londoners are attempting to secure European football for next season.

A report on Thursday, in the the Daily Mail, has indicated that Palmer has since returned to training, two days before the game with Villa.

Chelsea's Cole Palmer celebrates scoring their second goal with Enzo Fernandez on March 11, 2024© Reuters

Chelsea handed Fernandez blow

Earlier in the day, a report emerged that midfielder Enzo Fernandez would be sidelined for the remainder of the season with the decision having been made to undergo hernia surgery.

Had Palmer been absent for a second game, it would leave Pochettino with a major dilemma given that he has shown clear preferences to some central-midfield players this campaign.

Instead, it appears highly likely that the former Manchester City man will be able to take his place in the squad, even if he is restricted to an appearance from the substitutes' bench.

Chelsea's Cole Palmer celebrates with the match ball after the match after scoring four goals on April 15, 2024© Reuters

Is Palmer starting versus Villa realistic?

At the beginning of the week, Pochettino acknowledged Palmer was in no position to play had the Arsenal game taken place on Monday, and that is how it proved on Tuesday.

Nevertheless, providing that the 21-year-old has only lost minimal base fitness, he may be risked from the opening whistle given the importance of the game.

If Palmer does start, he may be allowed to occupy a free role in a central position, replacing Conor Gallagher who should be deployed deeper as an alternative to Fernandez.

Palmer not starting would likely lead to either Cesare Casadei or Carney Chukwuemeka being used, but Casadei has not started a game since January and Chukwuemeka has not featured in a starting lineup since August.

There is also the option of using Mykhaylo Mudryk as a number 10, with Raheem Sterling returning to the side on the left flank.

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Noni Madueke, Cole Palmer and Enzo Fernandez ahead of Chelsea penalty against Manchester United on April 4, 2024.
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