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Crystal Palace logo
Premier League | Gameweek 24
Feb 12, 2024 at 8pm UK
Selhurst Park
Chelsea logo

Crystal Palace
1 - 3
Chelsea

Lerma (30')
Lerma (70'), Munoz (80')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Gallagher (47', 90+1'), Fernandez (90+4')
Jackson (90+4'), Disasi (90+2')

Conor Gallagher haunts Crystal Palace as Chelsea claim crucial comeback victory

Gallagher haunts Palace as Chelsea claim crucial comeback victory
© Reuters
Conor Gallagher scores twice against his former club Crystal Palace to help Chelsea claim a 3-1 comeback victory at Selhurst Park.

Chelsea have climbed back into the top half of the Premier League table after claiming a 3-1 comeback victory over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Monday night.

The Blues' first-half dominance counted for nothing as the Eagles entered the break in front courtesy of a superb long-range strike from Jefferson Lerma, but the visitors responded well and equalised less than two minutes into the second period when Conor Gallagher fired home from close range against his former club.

Chelsea huffed and puffed as the game drew to a close and they eventually blew the Palace house down thanks to two goals in stoppage time, with Cole Palmer setting up both Gallagher and Enzo Fernandez to help the Blues secure back-to-back away wins in the space of five days.

Victory for the Blues has somewhat eased the pressure on manager Mauricio Pochettino, who has seen his side climb up to 10th in the Premier League table, but the same cannot be said for Palace boss Roy Hodgson who has lost four of his last five games in all competitions and sees his team remain in 15th place, five points above the relegation zone.

Pochettino made just one change to the Chelsea side that beat Aston Villa 3-1 in the FA Cup last week, with Thiago Silva replacing the injured Benoit Badiashile at centre-back.

As for Palace, Hodgson decide to make two alterations to the lineup that suffered a 4-1 away defeat to rivals Brighton & Hove Albion last weekend, with Matheus Franca and winter-window signing Adam Wharton both handed their full debuts at the expense of Jeffery Schlupp and the injured Marc Guehi.

Crystal Palace's Jefferson Lerma celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on February 12, 2024© Reuters

The contest began with Chelsea dominating proceedings while Palace sat back and invited the Blues to break them down, but despite boasting 80% possession, Pochettino's side were lifeless on the ball and failed to pose any kind of threat in the final third.

Chelsea had to wait until the first minute of first-half stoppage time to register their first attempt on goal – Gallagher dragging a right-footed effort across the face of goal and wide of the bottom-left corner.

The visitors completed a total of 420 passes in the opening 45 minutes, the most in the first half of a Premier League game without having a single shot on target since records began back in 2003-04.

Crystal Palace had six first-half shots in comparison and managed to open the scoring in sensational fashion on the half-hour mark courtesy of a thunderbolt from Lerma – his first goal for the club.

Both Noni Madueke and Moises Caicedo were ponderous in possession on the edge of their own penalty box, and Tyrick Mitchell's interception found its way to Lerma, who composed himself and unleashed a rocket from around 25 yards out into the top corner.

There was a lengthy delay to the start of the second half as on-field referee Michael Oliver needed his wrap-around microphone to be changed; there was also a change made by Chelsea at the break as Madueke made way for Christopher Nkunku.

Pochettino's half-time team talk certainly did the trick, as his Chelsea side restored parity just 81 seconds after the restart when Malo Gusto drove down the right flank and curled a cross into the danger zone for Gallagher to fire home a first-time finish into the roof of the net.

Chelsea's Conor Gallagher scores their second goal on February 12, 2024© Reuters

The Blues then tested their luck from a corner, with Thiago Silva's near-post header blocked by Jean-Philippe Mateta shortly before Palmer cut inside onto his favoured left foot and fired wide.

Silva's night ended in disappointing fashion as he gingerly walked down the tunnel with an apparent groin injury on the hour mark, with Levi Colwill taking his place in central defence.

The momentum was with Chelsea heading into the final half-hour and their threat predominantly came down the right wing, with Gusto charging into the final third with purpose and running both Franca and Mitchell ragged.

Franca struggled all evening at both ends of the pitch, but the Eagles youngster almost produced a moment of magic in the 75th minute when he fired a wicked shot towards goal from range, only for Dorde Petrovic to parry the effort away from danger.

At the other end, Palmer superbly picked out substitute Raheem Sterling with an eye-of-the-needle pass inside the penalty area, but the Englishman decided against a first-time shot and eventually had his effort blocked by two Palace defenders.

Sterling then curled an inviting cross into the six-yard box to Axel Disasi, but he could only direct a header straight into the gloves of Dean Henderson.

Chelsea's Enzo Fernandez celebrates scoring their third goal with teammates on February 12, 2024© Reuters

Chelsea's persistence in the final third eventually paid off in the 91st minute when Palmer received the ball on the right flank before rolling a pass to Gallagher to drill a low shot from the edge of the area into the bottom-left corner, sending the travelling Blues supporters into pandemonium.

Gallagher - who has not scored a Premier League goal this season before netting his brace against Palace - has now scored four goals against the Eagles, more than against any other club in his career.

Fernandez then sealed the victory for Pochettino's side on the counter-attack, receiving a through-ball from Palmer before siting Palace defender Daniel Munoz down on the floor and slotting his finish into the near post.

Chelsea now shift their focus to Saturday's daunting trip to the Etihad Stadium to face Manchester City, while Palace will look to return to winning ways away against Everton next Monday.

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