The Premier League’s latest instalment of Monday Night Football took centre stage at Selhurst Park, where a struggling Crystal Palace side hosted a stuttering Chelsea. Roy Hodgson’s charges were given a footballing lesson last time out at rivals Brighton; losing 4-1 to Roberto de Zerbi’s team.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side, however, fared much better as they ran the rule over Aston Villa in an FA Cup replay; winning 3-1 in the West Midlands.
CRY: Henderson; Munoz, Andersen, Richards, Mitchell; Wharton, Lerma; Ayew, Hughes, Franca; Mateta
CHE: Petrovic; Gusto, Disasi, Silva, Chilwell; Caicedo, Fernandez; Madueke, Gallagher, Jackson; Palmer
It was a fairly even start at Selhurst Park, with both sides trying to force each other into mistakes early on.
Chelsea were utterly dominant on the ball throughout the first half, but it was the home side who almost took the lead as Jean-Philipe Mateta raced on a through ball and fired towards goal, but Djordje Petrovic got down well to collect the Frenchman’s shot comfortably.
With Mauricio Pochettino’s side failing to really break down Palace, they were made to pay for it through a superb opener for the home side. A combination of a clearance by Thiago Silva and miscues by Noni Madueke and Moises Caicedo saw the ball fall to Jefferson Lerma. The Colombian then looked up and picked his spot beautifully as he bent the ball into the top right corner from just outside the box.
The start to the second half was delayed due to the communications technology of referee Michael Oliver disconnecting, but once the final period did get underway, a former Palace loanee came back to haunt the Eagles.
Malo Gusto made an excellent run down the right hand side and cut the ball back towards Conor Gallagher, who fired home his first Premier League goal of the season – a goal that Chelsea so dearly needed in this London derby.
Cole Palmer had been kept quiet in this game so far, but the former Manchester City youngster almost had a goal to his name when he fired just wide of the near post a few minutes after the away side’s equaliser.
There was a bit more swagger about Chelsea in the second half at Selhurst Park, as both Nicolas Jackson and Cole Palmer both went close for the Blues. However, both shots were tame and subsequently collected by Dean Henderson.
Matheus Franca had a rare chance of his own down the other end to put Palace back in front, but the young Brazilian’s shot was claimed comfortably by Djordje Petrovic.
However, as the game entered stoppage time at the end of the second half, Palace’s resilience was broken as the Blues grabbed a late winner. Chelsea substitute Raheem Sterling sent Cole Palmer away down the left hand side; Palmer then looked up and found Conor Gallagher, who swept the ball home from the edge of the box.
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The icing on the cake came just a couple of minutes later as Mauricio Pochettino’s men grab a third to seal it. Cole Palmer surged forward on the counter attack once again for the away side, and got all the way to the box, where he found Enzo Fernandez in the box. The Argentine then emphatically fired the ball home to complete a brilliant turnaround.
Both sides return to action this weekend, where Chelsea head to Manchester City on Saturday for a 5:30pm kick-off and Crystal Palace take the long trip to Merseyside to take on Everton; an 8pm kickoff on Monday.