Chelsea Penalty Takers Ranked (2023/24)

There are plenty of willing candidates to take penalties for Chelsea. Here’s how Cole Palmer’s record compares to his teammates.

Mauricio Pochettino has had to apologise for a lot during his debut season as Chelsea manager. The Argentine coach has sought forgiveness for his outbursts against referees, ignoring opposition managers and the countless insipid displays of his players.

Even in victory, Pochettino felt compelled to issue an apology to Chelsea fans. An undignified scuffle between three Chelsea players all hell-bent on taking a penalty undermined what had been a commanding 6-0 victory over Everton in April. Pochettino was incensed by the petulant behaviour of Noni Madueke and Nicolas Jackson, who wrestled each other for the ball, and insisted that Cole Palmer was the team’s designated taker.

In a squad littered with expensive talent, there is a glut of individuals with experience of taking penalties. Here is the career record of every potential spot-kick candidate and whether Pochettino’s decision matches the numbers.

[th]Chelsea Penalty Takers 2023/24[/th]
# Player Penalties Taken Scored Missed Conversion Rate (%)
1 Cole Palmer 13 13 0 100
2 Conor Gallagher 5 5 0 100
3 Christopher Nkunku 9 8 1 89
4 Enzo Fernandez 7 6 1 86
5 Noni Madueke 11 8 3 73
6 Mykhailo Mudryk 8 5 3 63
7 Raheem Sterling 9 4 5 44
8 Nicolas Jackson 0 0 0 N/A

Bukayo Saka, Erling Haaland and Bruno Fernandes.

Who is the spot kick specialist at your club?

8 Nicolas Jackson

Conversion Rate: N/A

Chelsea's Nicolas Jackson celebrates a goal

Jackson was so distraught that he had been denied the opportunity to take Chelsea’s penalty against Everton in April that he had to be convinced to join the rest of the team in celebrating Cole Palmer’s successful conversion. Jackson’s abundant confidence to put himself forward is based on no past precedent.

The Senegalese striker was a late bloomer. Jackson didn’t own his first pair of football boots until he was 16 and was spotted by top-flight side Casa Sports the following year. Since moving to Europe with Villarreal in 2019, Jackson has not taken a single penalty in a competitive setting.

Senegal’s round of 16 tie against the Ivory Coast at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations is the only time Jackson has been on the pitch during a penalty shootout. The seemingly confident forward didn’t take any of the first five kicks, watching on as a miss from Nottingham Forest centre-back Moussa Niakhate ended Senegal’s participation in the competition.

[th][b]Nicolas Jackson’s Career Penalty Record[/b][/th]
Penalties taken 0
Scored 0
Missed 0

7 Raheem Sterling

Conversion Rate: 44%

Raheem Sterling has managed to convince Palmer to hand over penalty-taking duties this season. It didn’t work out well. The former Manchester City forward prodded a limp effort straight at Leicester City’s Jakub Stolarczyk in an FA Cup quarter-final at Stamford Bridge in March. Sterling has failed to convert more penalties (five) than he’s actually scored (four) across his career for club and country.

Former Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster denied Sterling from 12 yards during a Premier League game in July 2020 and highlighted how an unorthodox run-up hampered his effort. “His feet were going ten to a dozen,” Foster recalled, “but when it came to executing the kick, he got his feet stuck underneath him, a terrible connection.”

[th][b][b]Raheem Sterling’s Career Penalty Record[/b][/b][/th]
Penalties taken 9
Scored 4
Missed 5

6 Mykhailo Mudryk

Conversion Rate: 63%

Chelsea winger Mykhailo Mudryk celebrating

Mykhailo Mudryk’s below-average penalty conversion rate of 63% is deceptive. One of his three failures was a deliberate miss. During a UEFA Youth League tie against Atalanta’s under-19s, Mudryk rolled a first-half penalty into the path of his on-rushing Shakhtar Donetsk teammate Georgiy Sudakov, mimicking the spot-kick sleight of hand that Lionel Messi and Johan Cruyff have performed in the past.

A slow and short run-up has seen Mudryk convert five of his other seven penalties (71%). Chelsea’s £88.5m arrival – one of the more disappointing purchases under Todd Boehly – has yet to take on the responsibility of stepping up to the spot in normal play but was trusted in a penalty shootout. Mudryk forced spot kicks with a stoppage-time equaliser against Newcastle United in the 2023/24 Carabao Cup quarter-finals and coolly dispatched his effort in the subsequent shootout.

[th][b][b][b]Mykhailo Mudryk’s Career Penalty Record[/b][/b][/b][/th]
Penalties taken 8
Scored 5
Missed 3

5 Noni Madueke

Conversion Rate: 73%

Chelsea's Noni Madueke wearing a familiar exasperated expression

Noni Madueke is fortunate that his career has not hinged on penalties. The former Tottenham Hotspur academy player caught the eye of Dutch club PSV Eindhoven while playing in an international tournament. Madueke scored in normal time before missing his spot kick in the penalty shootout but still won enough admirers to move to the Netherlands in 2018.

A regular taker at youth level, Madueke never made it to the top of the pecking order in PSV’s senior set-up. The Dutch side had seven different players take penalties during Madueke’s two-and-a-half years in the first team without ever calling upon the forthright winger.

Madueke has sought to boost his status at Chelsea, scoring twice from the spot this season when Palmer was unavailable. The England youth international has tried to wrangle the ball off his compatriot on numerous occasions, without any success.

[th][b][b][b][b]Noni Madueke’s Career Penalty Record[/b][/b][/b][/b][/th]
Penalties taken 11
Scored 8
Missed 3

Chelsea's 34 signings under Todd Boehly ranked

4 Enzo Fernandez

Conversion Rate: 86%

Chelsea's Enzo Fernandez pointing

When River Plate won a penalty against Velez Sarsfield during a clash in the Argentinian top flight in 2021, all attention turned to the team’s youngest player. At the tender age of 20, Enzo Fernandez had already emerged as the spot-kick specialist for one of South America’s biggest clubs. Fernandez outwitted Lucas Hoyos – a goalkeeper 12 years his senior – with a nerveless finish.

The prodigious midfielder converted all five penalties he took for River Plate. Joao Mario was Benfica’s undisputed first-choice taker when Fernandez moved to Portugal but the Argentine assumed responsibility for Chelsea’s first penalty of the 2023/24 season. West Ham United’s Alphonse Areola beat his effort away, keeping the score level before the east London outfit romped to a 3-1 win over their capital rivals in August.

Cole Palmer was signed by Chelsea 12 days later. Unlike some of his other teammates, Fernandez has accepted his place in the squad’s penalty hierarchy without a fuss, only returning to spot-kick duties against Brighton in December, while Palmer watched on as a substitute. Much to everyone’s relief, he scored.

[th][b][b][b][b][b]Enzo Fernandez’s Career Penalty Record[/b][/b][/b][/b][/b][/th]
Penalties taken 7
Scored 6
Missed 1

3 Christopher Nkunku

Conversion Rate: 89%

Chelsea forward Christopher Nkunku

The only penalty miss of Christopher Nkunku’s career will not have left a deep wound. The fleet-footed forward had already picked out the bottom corner from 12 yards for RB Leipzig against Bochum in October 2022 when the referee whistled for a second spot kick. Nkunku aimed for the top right corner but struck the outside of the post. The East German outfit were already 3-0 up before Nkunku rectified a rare misstep by tucking in RB’s fourth of the afternoon in open play.

Nkunku’s debut season at Chelsea has been plagued by so many injuries, that he’s barely been on the pitch long enough to enter the penalty-taking debate. The France international was available for Chelsea’s Carabao Cup quarter-final against Newcastle in December 2023 and duly dispatched his spot kick in the triumphant penalty shootout.

[th][b][b][b][b][b][b]Christopher Nkunku’s Career Penalty Record[/b][/b][/b][/b][/b][/b][/th]
Penalties taken 9
Scored 8
Missed 1

2 Conor Gallagher

Conversion Rate: 100%

Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher showing his anguish after missing a chance

Conor Gallagher may have an unblemished penalty record, but all of his spot kicks in normal time came before he had graduated to senior football. The Chelsea academy success story was the designated taker for the under-18 team between 2016 and 2018, converting all five of his efforts in the safe and sealed world of elite youth-team football.

When thrust into the spotlight of first-team action, Gallagher fluffed his lines. The England international attempted an impish dink during a penalty shootout against MLS side Charlotte FC in a preseason fixture ahead of the 2022/23 campaign. George Marks saw through the feeble facade, holding his ground and easily catching the scuffed prod. Thomas Tuchel, Chelsea’s coach at the time, urged his young midfielder to “stay confident”, but Gallagher has kept out of the penalty debate since that blunder.

[th][b][b][b][b][b][b][b]Conor Gallagher’s Career Penalty Record[/b][/b][/b][/b][/b][/b][/b][/th]
Penalties taken 5
Scored 5
Missed 0

1 Cole Palmer

Conversion Rate: 100%

Cole Palmer celebrating with a shrug after scoring one of several penalties for Chelsea in his debut season

In search of his first Chelsea goal, Palmer was allowed to take a penalty against Burnley in October 2023 by his former Manchester City teammate, Raheem Sterling. The icy forward nervelessly converted and put himself forward for spot-kick duties when Chelsea were awarded another penalty against Arsenal later that same month. Enzo Fernandez, perhaps aware of his dire record, convinced Sterling to leave Palmer to it.

The 21-year-old has established himself as one of the most assured penalty-takers at any Premier League club. “I made clear today to the fans and to everyone that Cole Palmer is the taker,” Pochettino declared after Noni Madueke and Nicolas Jackson both tried to assume control in spring. Such faith in Chelsea’s number 20 is entirely justified by Palmer’s perfect record from 12 yards.

[th][b][b][b][b][b][b][b][b]Cole Palmer’s Career Penalty Record[/b][/b][/b][/b][/b][/b][/b][/b][/th]
Penalties taken 13
Scored 13

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