Conor Gallagher breaks Crystal Palace hearts with late Chelsea winner
Crystal Palace vs Chelsea recap: The Blues erased an early deficit and Conor Gallagher scored the late winning goal (his first for the club) as new manager Graham Potter made his Premier League debut at Selhurst Park on Saturday.
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Odsonne Edouard got on the end of a fantastic cross from Jordan Ayew in the 7th minute as Crystal Palace began brightly and threatened in behind on a number of occasions early on. Chelsea hit back through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the 38th minute, setting the stage for Gallagher to come off the bench and score the stunning winner. Gallagher, of course, starred on loan to Palace last season before being recalled to Chelsea in the summer.
What we learned from Crystal Palace vs Chelsea
Thiago Silva avoids red card, sets up equalizer 5 minutes later
Chelsea’s race was nearly run in the 33rd minute, when Thiago Silva was caught napping and lost the ball in acres of space. As Ayew darted past the Brazilian, who was now lying flat on his stomach, Silva stuck out his left hand and slapped the ball away to prevent the counter-attack (and likely scoring chance). Referee Chris Kavanagh showed Silva a yellow card, deeming that either (or a combination of) the distance from goal (roughly 35 yards out) and at least one recovering defender meant there wasn’t an obvious goal-scoring opportunity to be denied.
Five minutes later, Silva headed the ball down for Aubameyang to rifle it home. From nearly a goal and a man down, to level on both, in 300 seconds.
Christian Pulisic down Potter’s pecking order, too
When Kai Havertz came off in the 76th minute, rather than inserting Pulisic (or any other attacking player for that matter) into the game, Potter instead brought on an extra central midfielder in Gallagher. Potter always thinks outside the box, though — seamlessly shifting team shape more narrow or wider, higher or deeper, extra man in midfield or out wide — always willing to make the first move in the tactical chess match, to play the game on his terms.
So, let’s not read too much into Pulisic sitting on the bench (for 84 minutes), but it’s clear he’ll have to make a whole lot out of very little to impress Potter and regain a regular place in the team. Right on cue, it was Pulisic who made the zig-zagging run past two defenders to set up Gallagher for the winner. No small contribution for a player currently out in the cold.
Reaction from Crystal Palace vs Chelsea
“It’s a very special moment to come on and get the winner and my first goal for Chelsea.
“It was written in the stars. Unfortunately it came against Palace but I’m just buzzing to get my first goal.
“Everyone knows how much I loved it here, and I thank the whole club and the fans — even today with the reception they gave me.
“Hopefully I can build a bit of confidence with the goal and push on. I want to work as hard as I can for him [manager Graham Potter] and be available wherever he needs me, whether starting or coming off the bench.”
How to watch Crystal Palace vs Chelsea live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 10am ET, SaturdayTV Channel: USA NetworkOnline: Stream via NBCSports.com
Key storylines & star players
What will Graham Potter’s first Premier League XI look like come Saturday? Kepa Arrizabalaga could be in goal if Edouard Mendy is not ready, but will Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang remain a starter? Are Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic locks for the midfield? Lots to monitor as Christian Pulisic, Conor Gallagher, Ben Chilwell, and Hakim Ziyech will hope to have made a major impression.
Palace has played well against the “Big Six” this year, leading Man City 2-0 before an Erling Haaland hat trick, drawing Liverpool, and losing on Opening Day vs Arsenal while holding 57% of the ball and matching the Gunners in shots and shots on target. A win over the Blues sure would do the trick.
Crystal Palace team news, injuries, lineup options
QUESTIONABLE: James McArthur (groin) | OUT: James Tomkins (calf), Nathan Ferguson (ankle), Jack Butland (hand)
Chelsea team news, injuries, lineup options
QUESTIONABLE: Edouard Mendy (knee), N’Golo Kante (thigh)