London – Graham Potter’s first Premier League game for Chelsea ended with a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park thanks to Conor Gallagher’s stunning finishing touch with the help of Christian Pulisic. Gallagher was well received by Palace fans as Player of the Year after his loan spell there last season, but he broke their hearts with a superb strike from the edge of the penalty area in the 90th minute to give Potter all three. points.
Crystal Palace could feel sad that he had not been left without anything. They took an early lead with Odsonne Edouard after just seven minutes and could have added another soon after with their superb Eberechi Eze. But the controversial moment in the match came in the 32nd minute as Thiago Silva was fortunate to escape with only a yellow card after being caught in his own half and inexplicably handling the ball (maybe twice) to prevent Jordan Ayew from getting a pass on the goal.
– Report: Crystal Palace 1-2 Chelsea | Premier League table | Upcoming matches
Patrick Vieira was furious but Silva survived, and after six minutes it was Silva’s header who found Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang his first Chelsea goal to equal the match. After both teams went to great lengths to force an open in the second half, it was Gallagher who found the winner of this memorable strike of late.
1. Gallagher saves the day
Potter thanks Gallagher for this victory. It was a level game, and until the point where Gallagher found himself on the edge of the penalty area as the 90th minute match approached, it looked like a 1-1 draw. Up until that point, having spent quite a bit of time between matches, you could see some of Potter’s imprint on Chelsea as they look to dominate possession and force openings with breakout balls over the top, or for players escaping the last shoulder.
But defensively, Chelsea struggled. You can imagine that the offense will take some time to adjust given that both the manager and the new hires take time to get together, but it is the defense that needs to be fixed first. Crystal Palace’s goal was superbly crafted, Jordan Ayew’s superb cross-cross cut through Chelsea’s defense, and it was sheer persistence that made Edward able to get his studs on the ball to turn it into Kepa’s goal. But the fact that he was able to find some distance between Silva and Reece James would have upset Potter, as well as their extravagance in defense with Palace pressure that often made them give up.
You feel Ben Chilwell still trying to get back into his best form while there have been times when the relationship between defense and midfield has been disrupted. Up front, Raheem Sterling was dangerous on the flanks while Kai Havertz used his physical abilities well to win key headers and Aubameyang made good use of his chance, but there were few chances and it required a superb shot from Gallagher to swing this match in favor of Chelsea. A win would be a relief to Potter – and they were lucky to keep Silva on the pitch – but he has a lot to do ahead of Milan on Wednesday.
– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS and more (US)
2. Aubameyang is off the mark
After a hectic summer in which £255m was spent, among new signings, it was Sterling who may have found his feet the quickest at his new club. He reached his level at the end of Thomas Tuchel’s reign, with three games in his last four for the club, and also scored their only goal in their 1-1 draw with Salzburg FC. We’re still waiting to see the other summer recruits click. Kalidou Coulibaly found himself on the bench in Potter’s first two matches, while Marc Cucurella was absent through illness on Saturday. Wesley Fofana also looked shaky at times against Palace with that three lead causing Chelsea’s defense all sorts of difficulty. Dennis Zakaria has not yet appeared.
So among the notable first-team deals, Aubameyang left. He played 66 minutes against Salzburg but in his first Premier League appearance with Chelsea, he delivered. Potter was asked Friday if Aubameyang was seeking “redemption” with the move. The new Chelsea boss said it was up to Aubameyang to think, but he made a promising impression with his movement and finish. While Havertz and Sterling had more touches, Aubameyang made his key important as he finished superbly with Guetta with a half-volley in the first half after creating space by spinning Joel Ward. He ended up running 74 minutes until he was replaced by Armando Bruga. Aubameyang left Arsenal under a cloud, but he did well at Barcelona in that six-month period scoring 11 goals in 18. But Chelsea are offering him the chance to restart his Premier League career.
Although he has signed Tuchel – and the two have spoken of their mutual admiration for each other after their stints at Borussia Dortmund – it is Potter who should impress him and early signs look promising. However, Gallagher will receive the headlines. The winning goal will give him a welcome boost after he struggled this season upon his return to Chelsea after last season with Palace. He was poor against Leeds in their 3-0 defeat in August, and was sent off against Leicester in their next match. But this could be a touching day for him. You can see there’s room for Gallagher in this Chelsea side in the middle of the field with Jorginho in disrepair, and their hectic schedule having them play 13 games in 44 days after the international break. In the familiar surroundings of Selhurst Park, we hope he starts his career at Chelsea.
3. Ezz makes a promise
Talented Ibirich Ise started just six league games for Palace last season due to injury, but he’s off to a great start to the season. It must be a nightmare to play against – he just floats around the midfield and then does those runs in the middle of the field, or he finds himself just as much on the flanks and penetrating inside. Chelsea could not manage it at times due to their pressure which forced them to make many mistakes.
Izzy, 24, brilliantly enters this palace side where he plays directly behind the attackers and subtly intertwines as a conduit between defense and attack. And you can imagine he has few better mentors than Wilfried Zaha and Vieira at the club. But while his performances were a real highlight for Palace, you get the feeling that their lack of power in depth would be a problem. They’ve had a rough start to the season, having faced Liverpool, Man City, Arsenal and now Chelsea. They’ve only won one league game this season (although two games were postponed in September) and what appeared to be a serious injury to Nathaniel Clyne in the first half is the last thing Palace need with many players sidelined in defence. Palace will do well but they will need to put together their full squad over the coming weeks.
Crystal Palace: Guaita 6, Clyne 7, Ward 6, Guehi 7, Mitchell 7, Olise 6, Doucoure 7, Eze 7, Ayew 7, Edouard 7, Zaha 7
Subs: Tomkins 6, Schlub 6, Mateta 5, Hughes 5
Chelsea: Kepa 6, James 7, Thiago Silva 6, Fofana 6, Chilwell 6, Mount 6, Jorginho 5, Kovacic 6, Havertz 6, Aubameyang 7, Sterling 7
Subs: Loftus-Cheek 6, Gallagher 8, Bruga 5, Pulicic 5
Best and worst performer
Best: Reece James
Sterling put in another solid performance, but James was Chelsea’s best player. He kept Zaha pretty much out of the way, and you can see Potter wants him to keep overlapping Sterling to overload the right wing. But in defense, he was instrumental in keeping Palace away, putting in a late-minute ball that prevented the hosts from scoring.
Ask the Palace fans and they will say that the worst performance on the field was referee Chris Kavanagh, but Jorginho suffered. He squandered possession and fittingly his last act was to misplace a pass right off the field.
Highlights and Highlights
Odson granted Edward advance to the palace after just seven minutes.
Crystal Palace (CPFC) October 1, 2022
Aubameyang scored his first goal with Chelsea and raised the level of the Blues with Palace.
Allow me to reintroduce myself 🎶
Aubameyang is back in registration for # PL!
– Premier League USA (PLinUSA) October 1, 2022
The Crystal Palace president questioned the referee and the VAR about Thiago Silva’s handball and the subsequent yellow card.
Honestly, what is the point? # mouse We cut out every week and change what he thinks. # mouse You should think this is a red bug but not an “obvious” one! Even if it is not a file #dogso Which is he hit her twice on purpose, one we play on yellow! #cpfc #epl
– Steve Parish (@ CEO4TAG) October 1, 2022
Chelsea left it late to seal the victory with a superb shot from Gallagher.
– Chelsea (ChelseaFC) October 1, 2022
After the match: What the managers said, the players said
Patrick Vieira on Thiago Silva’s handball: “It’s something I don’t want to talk about – it’s hard for me to understand and accept, so I’d better shut up and not talk about it. I think the referee got it wrong, and if I said what I think, I’d be in trouble. There is the referee, there is the VAR and they are making the decisions, and we are moving forward.”
Viera Un Gallagher: “It was a good season with us last year and the fans are showing appreciation for what he did for us last year. It was a good goal, but we shouldn’t have let him take this opportunity.”
Graham Potter on Gallagher: “I’m happy for Connor, and I’m glad the bench came in and made an impact. It was a great blow. He has a lot of respect for Crystal Palace, as you can see from his reaction, but he’s a Chelsea player. A player now.”
The Potter in Aubameyang: “It was an important goal too. He was working hard to get fit in the Premier League and I really liked him. It was an important goal for us.”
The potter in action: “There is a lot of pressure and expectations because of Chelsea’s place in the hierarchy. That’s why I accepted the challenge and why I’m here. I try to help the players and I try to help them improve.”
Basic Statistics (Provided by ESPN Statistics and Information)
Aubameyang: The first goal in 3 games with Chelsea (all Combs). With Barcelona, he did not score until his fourth game (hat-trick)
Conor Gallagher: The first goal in seven competitive games for Chelsea in all competitions
Chelsea: The Blues, who are currently in their Champions League group, play for Milan twice in the next two weeks, first at Stamford Bridge on October 5 and then in Milan on October 11. These matches will be crucial for Graham Potter’s team to keep their hopes up. Alive to reach the knockout stage. Trapped between Champions League matches, Chelsea host Wolves on October 8, who have had a rough start to the season.
Crystal Palace: Patrick Vieira’s side got off to a poor start in the Premier League this season, and they hope to score points against Leeds United on 9 October, before playing Leicester City on 15 October and then Wolverhampton on 18 October. They failed to keep the momentum from last season going and we hope to turn things around.