First half dull for the Blues, with the hosts passing through Lerma. In the second half an equalizer was immediately reached by Gallagher, who scored an encore in the 91st minute. Fernandez made it 3-1 3′ later
Mauricio Pochettino often uses the word “conviction” to explain what his Chelsea needs to grow. In the old but fascinating Selhurst Park, in one of the many London derbies of the season, the Blues found in injury time the conviction they needed to score a goal against Crystal Palace, knocked out 3-1 by a brace from Conor Gallagher and a goal from Enzo Fernandez. Chelsea deserved the victory in the second half: they played with conviction, sure that sooner or later the goal would come, that “everything would be fine” as their fans continued to sing to the rhythm of reggae. It went so well that a victory was achieved which erases the last two missteps with Liverpool and Wolverhampton, those with 4 goals conceded per game, and confirms the progress seen last Wednesday at Aston Villa, in the FA Cup replay. Palace, suffering their third defeat in the last 4 games, remain in danger and Roy Hodgson is in doubt.
The Chelsea of the second half is the team that Pochettino wants. He controls the game, pushes on the outside, seeks creativity with his attackers. The first half was the nightmare that he too often found himself living with, a dull team with no ideas that struggled to do everything. At Selhurst Park, Pochettino has confirmation of how important Gallagher is, who always knows what to do in the middle of the pitch in addition to finding the decisive brace, and when he has to trust the incursions to the right of Malo Gusto, limited in the first half but who breaks through in the first chance in the second half, scoring the assist that wakes up Chelsea. The bad news is the muscle injury that after an hour of play had taken away Thiago Silva, the best of the defense despite the fact that he was 39 years old. Palace still finds it too difficult to score and pays for the incredible final collapse, when they conceded two goals on the counterattack in second half stoppage time of a home match from which they were snatching a precious and hard-earned draw. At least this time the fans didn’t turn against Hodgson.
Chelsea controlled the game from the start but in the 30th minute conceded a goal from Lerma, who after winning a tackle with Caicedo found the right corner to beat Petkovic from 20 metres. The Blues dive back into their chaotic and unproductive possession and reach the break with a goal down. Pochettino starts again (delayed due to a problem with referee Oliver’s radio which took almost 10′) with Nkunku replacing Madueke and immediately finds the equalizer with Gallagher, who collects a cross from Gusto in the middle of the area, freed by new structure. In the 61st minute, Thiago Silva, still the Blues’ best defender, stops and is replaced by Colwill. Chelsea continues to press, still in control of the game but with a conviction and danger that they didn’t have in the first half. For the decisive goals, however, it is necessary to wait for injury time: Gallagher scores again in the 91st minute, collecting an assist from Palmer, and shortly afterwards Fernandez scores a hat-trick after setting up Muñoz in the area.
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED