Chelsea were hoping to replicate the performance against Aston Villa midweek, and to that effect, made just the one necessary change to the lineup that was enforced by injury.
If only it were so easy!
A rather inert opening 45 minutes saw Crystal Palace take the lead with an absolute wonderstrike out of nowhere, with Jefferson Lerma fouling Moisés Caicedo and then hammering a shot beyond Petrovic from 25 yards out. While Palace did have a couple more shots as well, they posed practically no danger beyond that.
Unfortunately, Chelsea also posed little danger despite nearly 80 per cent possession, with our attempts to break down Palace’s massed ranks of 11 men constantly behind the ball proving fruitless and frustrating.
Nkunku replaced Madueke at the break, with Chelsea shifting to more of a 4-2-2-2/4-4-2 look, and that paid immediate dividends as Gallagher finished off a good ball from Gusto to bring us level just 80 seconds into the second period.
Chelsea were not quite able to build on that momentum shift however, with Palace then making a much more even contest out of it. Half-chances for Palmer and Jackson followed, but neither side were able to produce the quality needed to score. Petrovic did have to make an important save from a Franca piledriver as we headed into the final quarter of an hour and next-goal-wins territory.
And thankfully, that next goal arrived just as time ticked over into added-on time, with Gallagher again being the hero of Selhurst Park. Enzo added a third in the dying moments as the icing on the cake.
- Just one change from midweek, with Silva replacing the injured Badiashile. Silva himself would then go off injured in the second half.
- Nkunku on at the half, partnering with Jackson to spearhead the attack
- Gusto seemed to favor his right leg/hamstring before getting substituted off; hopefully nothing serious
- Chelsea back up to 10th, two points off 7th
- Next up: Manchester City away on Saturday midday