Conor Gallagher, a player who could have left Chelsea in the transfer window, put in a monumental performance to spearhead Chelsea’s comeback at Selhurst Park after his team put in another disastrous opening 45 minutes as they did not register a single shot. For context, Palace totally outplayed Chelsea in the first half as they got their well-deserved lead when Jefferson Lerma latched his attempt to the top-right corner with the Blues defence slow to close him down. In addition, there were scenarios where no Chelsea midfielder offered Thiago Silva an outlet for a forward pass as Conor Gallagher, Enzo Fernández, and Moisés Caicedo were calmly strolling in the opposition’s half.
Conor Gallagher’s Performance Screamed That He Is Here to Stay
Fortunately for the Blues, a half-time refresher and the belt from an unhappy gaffer spearheaded their second-half resurgence. Firstly, Conor Gallagher, who played for the Eagles on loan previously, equalised for Chelsea after he caressed his right-footed strike past Dean Henderson after some good work on the flank by Reece James’s replacement, Mario Gusto.
With Chelsea turning up the tempo, the match became an even affair as both teams pushed for a winner. However, it was not until the start of injury time that one squad found a breakthrough, and Chelsea fans can breathe a sigh of relief that it was their team on the winning end for once. After gaining possession in midfield, Chelsea broke with fierce vigour as Sterling rolled the ball out to Palmer before the winger found Conor Gallagher, who dispatched his shot past bodies and into the bottom left corner. It was Conor Gallagher’s fourth career goal against Palace, the most against any Premier League opposition, proving to fans not to fall in love with a loanee.
As Palace scrambled for an equaliser by pushing men forward for a free kick, they did not account for the breakaway as Caicedo cleared away the danger before Palmer burst forward and slipped through Enzo Fernández, who demonstrated a calm demeanour befitting of a World Cup winner by sitting down Munoz before lifting his effort into the top-left corner. With this win, Chelsea recorded their 13 consecutive wins against the Eagles, their longest-ever winning run against an opponent in their league history.
Morning, Blues. Sleep well? 😍 pic.twitter.com/E0F52HWOCx
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) February 13, 2024
Conor Gallagher Pleased with Goals but Admitted the Team Is Lacking Consistency
Speaking to NBC Sports after the game, Conor Gallagher stated: “The three points were the most important today and obviously a good performance. I’m really happy with the three points. It was a hard-fought win victory, and there are still a lot of areas to improve. There is no better feeling than scoring a goal, and I think you could see it from my celebrations today.”
Continuing on, Gallagher stated that it is down to their own consistency if they could replicate the stunning 4-4 draw against Manchester City earlier in the season. “We have some massive games coming up and are trying our best to keep improving. It’s just that consistency is the thing for us because everyone has seen us win games and been brilliant, and there have been games where we have been terrible. It is about us getting that consistency, and today was crucial after a great performance against Villa the other day, so hopefully we can continue this form.”
Lastly, as for him playing in different areas throughout the campaign, Conor Gallagher replied: “I’ve played in a number of positions this season, more so holding midfield towards the start of the season then box to box, the 10, even upfront for a few games. I’m happy to play anywhere for the manager. I’m happy wherever I play. No problem.”
Mauricio Pochettino Lauded Conor Gallagher as Priceless
After avoiding three successive Premier League defeats on the spin, Mauricio Pochettino had high praise for Conor Gallagher as he labelled his captain as priceless. “I think he’s a player with a great commitment to the team, always trying to compensate for every single situation. It’s priceless to have a player like him. I’m so happy for him, as it’s a victory we needed.”
As for whether Conor Gallagher will remain in Chelsea Blue in the future, the Argentinian manager replied: “Always he decided what he said to me was that he wanted to stay at Chelsea. But it’s about him and the club. I am not worried about these types of things. He has another year on his contract. But that’s a matter for him and the club.”
Former Chelsea keeper and legend Petr Čech is adamant the club should keep him as he stated: “He’s always been working hard. He’s one of the players that’s always cared about winning and about the club. You find that even young players can have special abilities to be a leader. Conor is one of those players – he’s always worked hard, cared and tried his best. He’s a Chelsea boy, too. He’s pushing, and he is one of the captains in the making because of the way he is.”
🔵 Pochettino: “I don't care about the rumours. I don't care about the tension. I don't care about the pressure. I don't care about the stresses”.
“We know really well the reality and we are going to keep working”, told Sky. pic.twitter.com/Cok0q5bOyg
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) February 12, 2024
Is Chelsea’s Midfield Finally Clicking?
After back-to-back away wins and with standout performances from midfield duo Conor Gallagher and Enzo Fernández, Chelsea fans may feel their midfield is finally beginning to take shape. However, with how subpar they were in the first half, it is still early to judge how good their midfield is compared to the best.
Speaking of the best, Chelsea will face Manchester City and Liverpool in their next two matches, and it will be a massive task for the inconsistent Blues. With Manchester City in full flow with the return of Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland and the united spirit of Liverpool playing for Jürgen Klopp, it may be a rough two weeks for Chelsea.
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This time next week ⌛️
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) February 6, 2024