Conor Gallagher scored twice on Monday to hand his old team, Crystal Palace, a crushing 3-1 loss and keep Chelsea’s hopes of playing in Europe next year alive.
Jefferson Lerma’s long-range goal opened the score, setting up the injury-ravaged Eagles for a decisive victory in their fight to stay in the Premier League.
Gallagher’s equalizer two minutes into the second half undid Palace, who have only triumphed three times in 19 outings.
Chelsea moved up to 10th place and within two points of seventh place when Gallagher scored his second goal of the game and Enzo Fernandez added the third in stoppage time.
Palace’s loss keeps them in 15th place, five points above the relegation zone.
Due to serious injuries, all three of the home team’s main players—Eberechi Eze, Michael Olise, and Marc Guehi—were ruled out.
Banners held up prior to kickoff criticized the club’s board and manager Roy Hodgson, calling for changes to the club’s “weak transfer policy” and “weak club culture.”
However, Palace more than held their own for the first forty-five minutes because Chelsea’s away effort was once again lackluster.
The 3-1 FA Cup victory over Aston Villa last week was praised by manager Mauricio Pochettino as his team’s “best performance of the season.”
But in the first half at Selhurst Park, the Argentine had to start over because Chelsea was sloppy with the ball and were penalized.
On the edge of his own box, Noni Madueke was easily bullied out of possession, and Lerma was left with the opportunity to take aim and shoot past Djordje Petrovic into the top corner.
But Palace disregarded that warning.
The second half was delayed when referee Michael Oliver worked with his assistants and VAR to fix his communication equipment.
And Gallagher, who had a great loan time at Palace in 2021–2022–caught Palace flat on the restart when he headed home Malo Gusto’s cross.
Thiago Silva’s forced substitution due to a groin injury, which will probably prevent him from playing against Liverpool in the League Cup final later this month, was a blow for Chelsea.
But a late display that secured all three points will at least give them some fresh confidence going into a difficult trip to Manchester City on Saturday.
Cole Palmer was largely kept silent by Palace during the game, but he still showed his mettle by providing two assists during stoppage time.
The former City playmaker, who had not scored a goal all season, found Gallagher at the edge of the box to score his third goal in as many games.
Then, as Chelsea charged across the field in a counterattack, Palmer released Fernandez, who sat down Daniel Munoz before sweeping into the top corner.