Chelsea vs Man City: Five things we learned from eight-goal thriller as Raheem Sterling and Cole Palmer shine

Raheem Sterling sent Gareth Southgate another message with his performance against City   (REUTERS)
Raheem Sterling sent Gareth Southgate another message with his performance against City (REUTERS)

Former Manchester City academy graduate Cole Palmer returned to haunt his old club as he converted an injury-time penalty to secure a dramatic 4-4 draw for Chelsea.

The Premier League champions thought they had won it through Rodri’s goal, deflected in off the unfortunate Thiago Silva four minutes from time, but were left stunned in the dying seconds when substitute Armando Broja burst into the box and drew a foul from Ruben Dias, with Palmer dispatching his spot-kick under pressure to send home fans into raptures.

Earlier, Erling Haaland had scored twice to give City the lead, first from the penalty spot before Chelsea turned the game on its head with goals from Silva and Raheem Sterling.

Manuel Akanji headed an equaliser on the stroke of half-time before Haaland’s second made it 3-2 minutes after the restart, but still Chelsea were not done, hitting back to make it 3-3 through Nicolas Jackson.

Here are five things we learned:

Pep left to rue Palmer’s departure

Earlier in the week, the City boss said that an inability to offer the academy graduate the game time he wanted meant Palmer went in search of a new club. In Chelsea, he has found a new home and the 21-year-old delivered a cruel reminder to his old club of what they are missing out on with his last-gasp equaliser from the spot.

A livewire throughout the game, the youngster got the moment to write the headline when Armando Broja was hauled down by Ruben Dias in injury time. Some may have shied away from the moment; Palmer embraced it, smashing home past Ederson and shrugging his shoulders in celebration as he found his sixth goal contribution in nine games and continued his superb start to live in London.

Cole Palmer scored in stoppage time to snatch a draw against his former club (John Walton/PA) (PA Wire)
Cole Palmer scored in stoppage time to snatch a draw against his former club (John Walton/PA) (PA Wire)

Thiago Silva proves yet again age is just a number

Not since Ryan Giggs’s strike for Manchester United in a 2-0 win over QPR in 2013 had a 39-year-old found the back of the net in the Premier League. Silva has now joined that impressive club as just the fourth player to achieve such a feat at that age.

The centre-back is already closing in on 100 league appearances for the Blues since joining from Paris Saint-Germain and offers a much-needed experience and know-how not present within many members of Pochettino’s young side.

Wesley Fofana, Axel Disasi and Benoit Badiashile have come through the door while Levi Colwill has emerged from the academy. And yet, the timeless Brazilian remains the lynchpin and guiding light of Chelsea’s defensive effort, now under his fourth manager at Stamford Bridge.

Silva headed his side level in the first half (Getty Images)
Silva headed his side level in the first half (Getty Images)

Sterling sends Southgate yet another message

Despite his much-improved start to this campaign, Sterling still finds himself waiting for his next international appearance having been overlooked once again by Gareth Southgate in his latest England squad. Right now, the 28-year-old can only continue to do his talking on the pitch and sent his latest message to the England boss with his fourth goal of the season in the first half.

England have a plethora of options on the wing but the calls for Sterling’s return to the national team ahead of Euro 2024 will only continue to grow louder after his latest performance full of threat against his former club.

Sterling scored Chelsea’s second of the game (Getty Images)
Sterling scored Chelsea’s second of the game (Getty Images)

Cucurella’s resurgence suffers an unfortunate blip

The left-back has rarely looked at ease since his big-money move from Brighton, failing to pin down a regular starting berth in his first season before almost departing the club in a loan switch to Manchester United on transfer deadline day a few months ago.

Ben Chilwell’s latest spell on the sidelines has afforded the 25-year-old another opportunity - this time under Mauricio Pochettino - and having started six of the last seven games and impressing against Arsenal and Tottenham, there were signs Cucurella may have turned a corner.

Anthony Taylor’s decision to award a first-half penalty for his shirt pull on Haaland may have been harsh but it perhaps provides a timely reminder that Cucurella has plenty more still to do if he’s to salvage his long-term future at the club.

Akanji ready to step into John Stones’s shoes

The centre-back’s £15m move to City is proof that value for money in today’s transfer market maintains. Filling in for the injured John Stones in his hybrid role, Akanji once again offered up another assured display to showcase why he has missed just three league games this season.

Akanji delivered an excellent all-round display (Getty Images)
Akanji delivered an excellent all-round display (Getty Images)

Misplacing only four passes all game in midfield and scoring City’s second goal before the break, the 28-year-old then delivered an inch-perfect sliding tackle to prevent Nicolas Jackson surging through on goal late on in the second half. Stones will still be the preferred player in this role but the Swiss international proved he is a more than capable deputy.