Conor Gallagher netted two goals in the second half against his former loan team, helping Chelsea secure a much-needed 3-1 victory at Crystal Palace on Monday night.
Chelsea fell behind in the 30th minute when Jefferson Lerma struck powerfully from distance. However, they improved in the second half, with Gallagher equalising just two minutes after half-time. He then popped up again in the 91st minute to finish a flowing move before Enzo Fernandez wrapped up the scoring with a stylish effort.
Crystal Palace, coming off two consecutive home league wins, were missing key figures Eberechi Eze, Michael Olise, and Marc Guehi. Meanwhile, January signing Adam Wharton was handed his first start for the Eagles. Chelsea had lost five of their last six away league games, putting pressure on manager Mauricio Pochettino.
The opening 15 minutes of the fixture saw an early pattern of away possession against home patience, with the hosts eager to get the ball forward quickly whenever possible.
Chelsea did not heed the warning despite the spectacular nature of Lerma’s strike. Mitchell battled well before the ball fell to Lerma, who cut inside and cracked a long-range effort into the far corner, leaving Petrovic with no chance.
Pochettino managed to quieten some of the noise hounding his squad after their victory over Aston Villa in the FA Cup last week. However, their start at Selhurst Park was uninspired, and it almost got worse as Franca fired well wide from Mateta’s pass.
Chelsea vs Crystal Palace: Pressure eases off Pochettino with a win
Chelsea’s solid attacking venture didn’t arrive until shortly before half-time when Madueke found space and rolled in Gallagher, who placed wide on this occasion.
Chelsea sought an equalizer, which came soon after the restart following a delay due to technical issues involving the matchday officials. An instant improvement from the visitors involved Gusto and Caicedo, ending with Gallagher connecting powerfully on the half-volley.
Although Chelsea were poor for most of the first half, they began creating chances more easily after equalising. Mateta cleared a dangerous Thiago Silva flick before Henderson saved Palmer’s strike.
The visitors couldn’t capitalise on their momentum until the dying stages when Gallagher stepped up. He fired into the far corner to hand Chelsea a 91st-minute lead.
Palace’s desperation to find a leveller left space open for Palmer to run away on the break. He passed again, finding Fernandez, who sold Munoz a few dummies before slamming a shot in at the near post.
The win moves Chelsea back into the top ten in the Premier League standings, while Palace are down in 15th, just five points above the relegation zone.