Two-goal Conor Gallagher returns to haunt Crystal Palace in Chelsea late show
Chelsea finished strongly to win 3-1 at Crystal Palace, with Conor Gallagher punishing his former side at Selhurst Park.
The depleted hosts, who had lost the influential Michael Olise, Eberechi Eze and Marc Guehi to injury, took the lead via a Jefferson Lerma screamer – his maiden Eagles goal.
Gallagher equalised almost immediately after a delayed start to the second half, firing home his first of the Premier League season in the 47th minute.
Just as it seemed the relegation-threatened hosts were close to securing a valuable point, Gallagher struck in his second on the stroke of normal time, moments before Enzo Fernandez ensured Chelsea would end the evening in the top half of the table.
It was difficult to predict what kind of reception Palace would receive after the 4-1 loss at rivals Brighton, after which some players and fans in the away end exchanged heated words, and the frequent appearance of protest banners in recent weeks.
And though several were raised ahead of kick-off – “supporters ignored and taken for granted” among them – the overall mood was perhaps less sour than boss Roy Hodgson, who had pleaded with supporters to back his diminished side, might have expected.
His players responded with an encouraging start, despite the visitors enjoying the lion’s share of possession, pouncing on loose balls with promising drives into Chelsea’s final third.
Palace took the lead at the half-hour mark, shortly after Jean-Philippe Mateta had missed a chance to fire the hosts ahead, when Lerma managed to liberate himself from a quartet of tumbling and battling bodies and patiently took a few paces forward before blasting the ball high into the net from 25 yards out.
Former Eagles loanee Gallagher, who scored the winner in the