Chelsea always beat Crystal Palace.
Two goals from Conor Gallagher, who scored in a Premier League game for the first time this season, and another late strike from Enzo Fernandez, means Chelsea have now won each of their last 13 Premier League games against Crystal Palace as they moved back into the top half of the table.
It’s the first time they have won 13 games against a single opponent in the competition, but you would never have guessed that they would extend their winning run at HT.
Chelsea have won 13 consecutive league games against a single opponent for the first time in the club's 118-year history.
1-3 is only unlucky for Palace. 🙃 pic.twitter.com/0PB6OEOv5p
— Squawka (@Squawka) February 12, 2024
The Blues started the first half with all the ball as they looked for a bright start, but nothing came from it as they failed to get going in attack, with everything breaking down in the final third. The front three of Nicolas Jackson, Cole Palmer and Noni Madueke failed to click and without registering a single shot, the Blues found themselves behind in the 30th minute as Jefferson Lerma fired past Petrovic from long range to score his first league goal for Crystal Palace.
HT: Crystal Palace 1-0 Chelsea
— Squawka Live (@Squawka_Live) February 12, 2024
Mauricio Pochettino’s side continued to struggle, having their only shot of the half in the 45th minute as Conor Gallagher fired wide from a narrowing angle and Gary Neville rightfully scalded them during commentary.
“Palace have just grown through the hopelessness of Chelsea.” He said.
“They’ve worked out after about 20 minutes that they’re not that good. They’re not actually doing anything, they’re just wondering across the pitch and passing the ball thinking they’re doing ok.”Gusto is the only player that can hold his head up. The rest of them have been way below par.”
And he was right, Chelsea broke an unwanted Premier League record in their first half to forget, becoming the first side in Opta’s records (since 2003/04) to complete as many as 420 passes in the opening 45 minutes of a Premier League game without having a shot on target. It was also the third game in a row that they had been behind at HT in the Premier League after not doing so in any of their first 21 league matches of the season.
Times Chelsea were behind at half time in their first 21 PL games this season: 0
Times Chelsea have been behind at half time in their last 3 PL games this season: 3
— Harry Edwards (@harryedwards16) February 12, 2024
However, unlike the Liverpool and Wolves games, they fired back almost instantly in the second half as Conor Gallagher, fresh from his first goal of the season against Aston Villa in the FA Cup, finally ended his goal drought in the Premier League to draw Mauricio Pochettino’s side level after just one minute and 20 seconds. He wasn’t finished there however, as the former Palace loanee won the game in stoppage time, firing past Dean Henderson after being found by Cole Palmer at the edge of the box.
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That means the midfielder, who spent the 2021/22 season on loan at Selhurst Park, has now scored more Premier League goals against Crystal Palace than any other side (4). It also means that six of his last 10 league goals have been scored at Selhurst Park, three for Crystal Palace and three against them.
◉ 6 goals at Selhurst Park
◉ 4 goals against Crystal Palace
Conor Gallager at the double. ⚽️⚽️ https://t.co/ALWQa9ZogF
— Squawka Live (@Squawka_Live) February 12, 2024
The 24-year-old was the talk of Monday Night Football before the game, with Jamie Carragher singing his praises before the match.
“Gallagher is the one who has impressed me the most for Chelsea this season”. The former Liverpool man said.
“When he went on loan to Crystal Palace, I didn’t think he was good enough for Chelsea, but he’s almost certainly proven himself to be good enough for this Chelsea. He’s been the standout player and proven everything to Pochettino, proving he’s been good enough to start for Chelsea week in, week out.”
Former Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech is also a fan, saying:
“Conor is the one who knows the league, he plays with a lot of energy, but he’s surprisingly good at finding little spaces around the box, coming in, shooting finishing. He presses well, he brings the engine.”
Gallagher has won possession in the final third more times than any other player in the Premier League this season (31) and after three goals in his last two games is proving himself to be more and more of a crucial player for this side week after week. He finished the game with the joint most shots (3), the joint most chances created (3) and the most shots on target (2) for his side as he was named Player of the Match by Gary Neville.
He also covered 13km, the most he has ever run in a Premier League game.