Saturday, February 24, 2024

Gallagher stars as Chelsea earn late win at Palace

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Conor Gallagher scored twice as Chelsea struck two goals in second-half stoppage time to earn a 3-1 turnaround win at Crystal Palace.

Jefferson Lerma scored a stunner to put Palace in front in the first half, but Gallagher levelled just after half-time before he added his second late on, with Enzo Fernandez wrapping up the victory.

Chelsea’s 13th consecutive Premier League victory over the Eagles moves Mauricio Pochettino‘s side back into the top half, while Palace remain five points above the relegation zone.

How the match unfolded

Palace manager Roy Hodgson handed first Premier League starts to Matheus Franca and January signing Adam Wharton, with the injured Marc Guehi and midfielder Jeffrey Schlupp making way.

As for Chelsea, head coach Pochettino also shuffled his pack with two changes to the team that started the Blues’ last Premier League match, a 4-2 home defeat to WolvesNicolas Jackson and Noni Madueke replaced Raheem Sterling and Christopher Nkunku.

Chelsea dominated possession from the outset, with Palace looking to play on the counter-attack.

Jean-Philippe Mateta tested Chelsea goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic on 23 minutes as Palace began to find joy winning the ball high up the pitch. 

Lerma did just that in the 30th minute before unleashing a swerving strike from 25 yards out that flew past Petrovic into the top-right corner., a spectacular way to open his account for the club and to net the Eagles’ 1,000th top-flight goal.

Despite Chelsea boasting 79 per cent possession in the first half, their first shot only came in the first minute of added time, when former Palace loanee Gallagher fired wide from a tight angle.

With his side lacking penetration in the opening 45 minutes, Pochettino took action at half-time by bringing on Nkunku for Madueke.

And only two minutes into the second half, Chelsea were level. The away side worked the ball into space down the right for Malo Gusto, whose precise cross was met on the half-volley by Gallagher, who guided his strike into the net for his first Premier League goal of the season.

Gallagher goal for Chelsea v Palace

Chelsea were suddenly looking far more dynamic as they went forward looking to seize control of the match. Cole Palmer dragged a shot wide before Thiago Silva‘s header was cleared off the line. 

The Blues then lost Thiago Silva, who appeared to pull a muscle when blocking a shot from Mateta. 

Palace’s best chance of the second half came from Franca, whose powerful shot was parried away by Petrovic.

The last 10 minutes had an increasingly open feel as both teams pushing for a winning goal, and it was Chelsea who found two in the dying minutes to break Palace hearts. 

First, a clever pass from Sterling found Palmer down the right, and he cut the ball back to the onrushing Gallagher, who guided his shot into the bottom-left corner past Dean Henderson

With Palace throwing men forward, seeking a late equaliser, Palmer broke from inside his own half before laying the ball off to Fernandez. The midfielder cut back inside on to his right foot before clipping a shot into the top-left corner in the fourth minute of stoppage time, to the delight of the travelling fans.

Fernandez goal

A first win in three matches moves Chelsea up to 10th on 34 points, while Palace remain in 15th following a fourth defeat in six games.

Club reports

Crystal Palace report | Chelsea report

Next five Premier League fixtures
Key facts

Chelsea have won a Premier League away game having trailed at half-time for the first time since May 2021 (2-1 v Manchester City), having lost each of their previous 10 such matches.

Chelsea’s 13 consecutive Premier League wins against Palace is their longest ever winning run against an opponent in their league history and also Palace’s longest ever losing run against an opponent in their league history.

Palace manager Roy Hodgson has lost all seven of his Premier League encounters with Mauricio Pochettino, only facing Jurgen Klopp (nine) more often in the competition while losing every time.

Chelsea’s Gallagher has scored more Premier League goals against Palace (four) than he has against any other side, while he’s also netted more goals at Selhurst Park (six) than he has at any other venue in the competition.

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