Crystal Palace 1-2 Chelsea: Gallagher breaks Eagle's hearts late on
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 01: Raheem Sterling of Chelsea passes during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Chelsea FC at Selhurst Park on October 01, 2022 in London, England.

Chelsea came from behind to break Crystal Palace hearts late on. Conor Gallagher produced a sensational shot to snatch victory for the Blues. The possession from the visitors eventually paid off, but Graham Potter will be concerned by their wasteful attacks. 

Crystal Palace struck first as Odsonne Edouard prodded the home from Jordan Ayew's cross. Chelsea were vulnerable in defence, allowing the hosts to threaten on the counter-attack. The Blues had 73% possession in the first half but were only able to score one through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's fierce strike. The scores were level at half-time in an exciting match. 

The second half failed to follow the story of the first half. Graham Potter's side dominated possession as they consequently threatened the opposition goal more. However, they lacked the final ball when required. 

With the game petering out, Gallagher silenced the home fans as he curled his shot into the top right corner. It broke the hearts of Eagles fans due to his previous allegiance to the home side. 

This result means Chelsea move up to 5th, whilst Crystal Palace stay in 16th. Patrick Vieira will be bitterly disappointed to come away with nothing. However, their focus will turn to next weekend when they face Leeds. Meanwhile, the West London side have a crucial Champions League clash against AC Milan on Wednesday, before facing Wolves next weekend.

  • Story of the Match

Patrick Vieira made three changes to his side. Michael Olise came in for Jeffrey Schlupp, whilst Edouard and Joel Ward replaced Jean-Philippe Mateta and Joachim Andersen retrospectively. 

In comparison, Graham Potter made two changes to his side. Ben Chilwell replaced Marc Cucurella, as Wesley Fofana replaced Cesar Azpilicueta. The English manager was looking to win his debut Premier League match as Blues manager but knew they would have to be at their best to beat the Eagles.

In the opening minutes, the West London side had 90% possession, however, it was the hosts who struck first.

In the seventh minute, Ayew whipped in a teasing cross for Edouard to reach onto the end of. The Frenchman prodded home from close range to send the home fans into delight.

Kepa Arrizabalaga was tested again by Eberechi Eze, but he was quick to palm the shot away. The hosts were placing the visitors under intense pressure despite a shaky start. Eze was running the show in the opening minutes against the two-time European champions.

Mason Mount had a glorious chance in the 19th minute. The midfielder was left unmarked as Kai Havertz floated a cross into the box, however, the Cobham prodigy could only place his header right of the goal.

Moments later, Raheem Sterling had two chances to level the score. The winger reached the end of Reece James' low cross. His first shot was deflected back towards the winger, but he could only prod it past Vicente Guaita onto the post.

The visitors were dominant in posession and created several chances. However, they were consistently being made vulnerable in defence, with Eze being the next player to drag his shot wide.

Controversy Changes Momentum of Match

Controversially, Thiago Silva was given only a yellow card for handling the ball. There was a VAR check for a denial of a clear goalscoring opportunity, but they stuck with the original decision.

Minutes later, Aubameyang opened his account for Chelsea. Silva weighted his header perfectly for the striker, allowing the former Arsenal player to quickly turn and shoot. It was a really well-worked goal, but Crystal Palace fans will feel aggrieved due to  Silva producing an assist minutes after a controversial VAR decision.

After the goal, there was a long delay due to Nathaniel Clyne being stretchered off after a collision with the Brazilian centre-back. 

The first half ended with Chelsea continuing their dominance of the ball. The Crystal Palace players voiced their opinions to the referee on their way back to the dressing room.

There were no changes at half-time as both managers stuck with their tactics. From an early free-kick, Marc Guehi came close to restoring the Eagles' lead, but the referee judged Kepa to be impeded by the hosts. 

The West London side made their first change of the day as Ruben Loftus-Cheek replaced a grimacing Jorginho. Havertz had his shot blocked in the 59th minute. The German found space within the box, however, he was unable to threaten the goalkeeper.

The second half was less enthralling than the opening 45 minutes. Chelsea continued to dominate possession and have a greater threat, yet they were unable to challenge Guaita in goal. 

During the 69th minute, Sterling capitalised on a mistake from Tyrick Mitchell. The winger won possession but chose to unsuccessfully find a teammate instead of testing Guaita. It summed up the performance of the Blues, who lacked the final ball.

Connor Gallagher received a rousing reception from the home fans when he was subbed on for Havertz in the 75th minute. The midfielder was in sensational form at Selhurst Park last season. 

The hosts had a rare attack forward during the 81st minute. Wilfried Zaha latched onto  Cheick Oumar Doucoure's through ball, but his cross into the danger zone was eventually cleared by Fofana.

Crystal Palace fans had their hearts broken in the final minute, as former loanee Gallagher stunned the hosts with a sensational strike. The Englishman picked the ball on the edge of the box, and evaded the challenge, before curling his shot into the top right corner.

It was a stunning strike to seal the game for the West London side. The 22-year-old refused to celebrate against his former side, but that will not mean much to the gutted home fans. 

  • Player of the Match - Eberechi Eze

The former QPR player ran the midfield for the Eagles. Despite being subbed off in the 74th minute, the 24-year-old showed his qualities against a strong side. He made three passes into the final third whilst also completing 67% of his dribbles (Fotmob).

When he left the pitch, the Eagles struggled to threaten Kepa in goal as they lacked the threat in midfield. Despite the result, Eze put in a superb performance and he will feel hard done by not coming away with a point. 

Chelsea will be delighted to secure all three points late on. Nonetheless, their wasteful attacks will concern the manager and fans. 

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