Chelsea secured a crucial victory against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, thanks to a brace from Conor Gallagher. The win increases the pressure on Palace manager Roy Hodgson, who is already under scrutiny due to inconsistent form.
The opening period of the match saw Chelsea dominate possession, but it was Palace who took the lead through Jefferson Lerma’s impressive strike from the edge of the area. However, just two minutes into the second half, Gallagher leveled the score for Chelsea with a powerful finish. The visitors continued to push for a winner, and Gallagher delivered once again in stoppage time with a neat first-time finish. Enzo Fernandez added a composed finish to seal the victory for Chelsea.
Gallagher Takes Center Stage Against Former Club
Conor Gallagher was undoubtedly the star of the match, scoring two crucial goals against his former loan club. The midfielder previously spent the 2021-22 season on loan at Palace and showcased his talent against them. This performance follows his goal in Chelsea’s FA Cup win against Aston Villa, bringing his tally to three goals in two games. Gallagher will be hoping that these goals mark the start of a strong run of form for both himself and his team.
Chelsea’s Struggle to Break Down Palace
Despite dominating possession in the first half and completing 420 passes, Chelsea struggled to break down Palace’s resolute defense. The visitors failed to register a shot on target in the opening 45 minutes, which was their most shotless half since the 2003-04 season. Mauricio Pochettino’s side has faced difficulties in penetrating teams that defend in a low block throughout the season, and Palace proved to be no exception. However, changes made by Pochettino at halftime, including the introduction of Christopher Nkunku, brought more fluency to Chelsea’s attack.
Late Goals Shine Spotlight on Hodgson’s Future
Crystal Palace entered the match on the back of a damaging defeat to rivals Brighton, which increased the pressure on manager Roy Hodgson. The Eagles defended well in the first half, frustrating Chelsea and limiting their chances. Lerma’s superb strike gave Palace hope of securing a much-needed win. However, conceding just 80 seconds into the second half unraveled all the good work. With the late goals from Gallagher and Fernandez, questions about Hodgson’s future will only intensify.
Chelsea’s victory sets them up for a crucial two weeks in their season. They face Manchester City on Saturday, followed by the EFL Cup final against Liverpool and an FA Cup match against Leeds. These matches will undoubtedly test Chelsea’s mettle and could have a significant impact on their season.
Palace, on the other hand, remain in 15th place in the table and have a challenging schedule ahead. They travel to Everton next Monday before hosting Burnley. Hodgson will be hoping for improved performances and results to alleviate the pressure on his position.
In conclusion, Conor Gallagher’s brace secured a vital victory for Chelsea against Crystal Palace. The win increases the pressure on Palace manager Roy Hodgson, who is already under scrutiny due to inconsistent form. Chelsea’s struggle to break down Palace’s defense was evident in the first half, but changes made by manager Mauricio Pochettino brought more fluency to their attack. The late goals from Gallagher and Fernandez put Hodgson’s future back under the spotlight. Chelsea now faces a crucial two weeks, while Palace will be looking for improved performances in their upcoming matches.