Conor Gallagher scored twice on Monday to give his former club, Crystal Palace, a devastating 3-1 defeat and keep Chelsea’s hopes of playing in Europe next season alive.
The injury-ravaged Eagles were on track for a big win in their fight to stay in the Premier League when Jefferson Lerma’s long-range shot opened the scoring.
Gallagher’s equalizer two minutes into the second half upset Palace, who have only won three times in 19 games. Gallagher scored his second goal of the night, and Enzo Fernandez added a third in stoppage time to move Chelsea up to 10th and within two points of 7th.
Pochettino praised his team’s 3-1 FA Cup victory against Aston Villa last week as their “best performance of the season.” But in the first half at Selhurst Park, the Argentine had to start again because Chelsea was sloppy with the ball and were penalized.
On the edge of his 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.
The start of the second half was delayed while referee Michael Oliver sought repairs to his communication gear with his assistants and VAR. And Gallagher, who had a great loan spell at Palace in 2021–2022–caught Palace cold on the restart when he headed home Malo Gusto’s cross.
Cole Palmer was mostly kept quiet by Palace during the game, but he still showed his determination by providing two assists during stoppage time. The former City playmaker found Gallagher on the outside of the box and fired home his third goal in two games, after going scoreless all season. Then, as Chelsea charged across the field in a counterattack, Palmer freed Fernandez, who sat down Daniel Munoz before sweeping into the top corner.