TO think Chelsea were once again ready to sell Conor Gallagher a couple of weeks ago.
Yet the player, who also nearly left the club in the summer, bailed out Mauricio Pochettino and his expensive misfits.
Gallagher scored at both the start and the end of the second half to scrape a win which they barely deserved after Jefferson Lerma grabbed his first goal for Palace.
Lerma was a Chelsea fan as a kid yet it was the home-grown player at Stamford Bridge who grabbed the second in injury-time before Enzo Fernandez rubbed salt into Palace’s wounds with a third.
Although needing to balance the books, Chelsea are stark raving bonkers for even thinking about selling Gallagher.
We have now got to a ridiculous situation where players refuse to celebrate scoring goals against teams that were once supported by a friend of their brother’s nextdoor neighbour.
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Hilariously, Konstantinos Mavropanos made a point of not celebrating his goal for West Ham at the Emirates in December even though most Arsenal supporters had forgotten he had even played for them.
But Gallagher, albeit only previously playing for Palace on loan, was certainly in the mood to celebrate and let out a roar after sticking his shot past Dean Henderson for 101.
And then he sprinted over to the Chelsea fans to celebrate the second knowing they the team had got away with murder.
Credit to Chelsea for not giving up but they really did not deserve this. And if they play like this against Manchester City on Saturday and against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday week, they will get properly stuffed.
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This result was certainly tough for Roy Hodgson’s side who have now won just two games in 13 matches.
Pochettino will be relieved but in no mood to celebrate. They may have crept back into the top half of the table but the fact they remain 13 points behind Spurs in a Champions League place tells you everything you need to know.
To illustrate how poor Chelsea were going forward, their first attack of the game, a tame shot by Gallagher, came in first-half stoppage time.,
The second half was delayed as referee Michael Oliver was having technical problems with his headset and the DJ played Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds,
And Chelsea fan’s were still singing the chorus of ‘Don’t worry about a thing because every little thing is gonna be alright’ when Gallagher struck less than 90 seconds into the second half.
Until then, they were weak and second to every ball. They were sloppy, attempted suicidal passes in dangerous areas and in terms of the way they were trying tricks and flicks, remarkably arrogant,.
Noni Madueke, Axel Disasi, Moises Caicedo and Malo Gusto were the main culprits but not the only ones.
A perfect example of sloppy play was Madueke, on the edge of the Palace area, deciding to backheal the ball straight to the feet of Lerma. Considering there was not another Chelsea player within 10 yards of him, only Madueke can explain why he decided to give away possession in such a ridiculous manner.
Gusto was also guilty of some unforgivably sloppy play and when he was dispossessed in a dangerous area, Jean-Philippe Mateta could only manage a poor shot straight at keeper Djordje Petrovic.
TV viewers were left in stitches when pundit Neville said: “This is not Thierry Henry, this is Mateta”
Yet ironically, soon after, Mateta brought gasps from the home crowd with some Henry-esque skill out to embarrass Disasi but while the cross was headed away by Thiago Silva, Chelsea seemed determined to play their way back into trouble.
The stumbling Gusto and Caicedo both got in each other’s way and were then overpowered in one tackle by Tyrick Mitchell who won the ball for Lerma. He took a couple of touches before hammering a terrific right-foot shot into the top corner.
Lerma’s last goal came in a 4-1 win for previous club Bournemouth against Leeds in April and Palace could certainly do with a few more
England’s Gallagher was guilty of showing a lack of composure when snatching at a shot before the half-time whistle but he was far more clinical at the start of the second period.
For once, Gusto did something right with a decent cross and Gallagher delivered a clinical finish from 10 yards.
Chelsea lost Silva with an injury after he blocked a shot from Mateta and Blues keeper Petrovic then pushed away a shot from Matheus Franca.
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Gallagher then grabbed a shock winner when he drilled the ball into the corner after being picked out by Cole Palmer.
And then Palmer, despite not playing well, delivered another assist for Fernandez to deliver another gut-wrenching defeat for Palace.
Source: Soccer - thesun.co.uk