Mon. Feb 26th, 2024

Key events

GOAL! Crystal Palace 1-3 Chelsea (Fernandez, 90+4)

Another break, another Palmer assist. A neat finish from Fernandez.

90+3 mins: No goals in the league this season prior today for Gallagher. Not a bad way to kick things off.

One minute more to go but we could have extra added.

90+1 mins: Sterling sends the ball down the wing for Palmer, who cuts back and picks out Gallagher on the edge of the box from where he sweeps the ball home.

GOAL! Crystal Palace 1-2 Chelsea (Gallagher, 90+1)

Chelsea break and Gallagher finishes the move off against his former club.

90 mins: Sterling lifts in a cross for Disasi but he heads straight at Henderson.

88 mins: Colwill looks a little uncomfortable after the Mateta incident. The striker then wins a free-kick on the halfway line. Mateta has done a decent job tonight with little to work with.

86 mins: Ahamada sends the ball through for Mateta to chase but he is adjudged to have tripped Colwill and a free-kick is given against the Palace striker.

Crystal Palace’s Jean-Philippe Mateta tussles with Chelsea’s Levi Colwill. Photograph: Ian Walton/Reuters

Edouard – on for Franca – drives into the box but he takes the ball too far and his shot is pretty weak in the end.

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84 mins: Palmer takes a smart pass to Sterling inside the box but he can’t get the ball out of his feet quick enough and his shot is blocked.

82 mins: Chelsea are very much on top here … Palace fans are willing their players on for the final stages.

80 mins: Munoz is cautioned for giving Chilwell a palm to the face. Chelsea have a free-kick to the left of the box. Chilwell whips it in and the ball is cleared to Palmer on the edge on the box but he sees his shot blocked.

78 mins: Palmer collects a loose ball and makes his way into the box but his low shot is straight at Henderson.

Subs! Ahamada on for Hughes, Sterling on for Jackson.

76 mins: Franca gets the ball around 30 yards from goal and darts towards the box, eventually taking aim from the edge of the area but Petrovic gets down well to his right to repel a wicked shot.

Palace have readied two subs but they are jogging down the touchline in bibs still.

75 mins: Robert Speed suggests: “No, Lerma would have thought twice and chosen not to abuse the ref. It’s bemusing how often critics of rules deemed harsh won’t acknowledge the effect of deterrence.”

I’ve no issue with him being punished but sin-binning is a bad idea, in my opinion.

74 mins: Franca takes Palace up the pitch but the attacks breaks down on the edge of the box.

72 mins: Chelsea are on the front foot here. I would say Palace need to make a change or two but their bench looks pretty weak. Edouard for Mateta might be an option.

Another Chelsea cross goes into the box but Andersen clears by clambering on top of Nkunku. Chelsea fancy a pen but it ain’t happening.

Crystal Palace’s Joachim Andersen climbs over Chelsea’s Christopher Nkunku and heads clear. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Action Images/Reuters

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70 mins: Gallagher lifts a cross towards the penalty spot to Jackson who flicks his header wide.

Lerma is booked for dissent. In a mad world, he would be trudging off to sit down for 10 minutes now.

68 mins: Chilwell takes aim from the edge of the box but his shot is always rising.

“Skipping this game to watch new Curb,” Eden Tal says. “I think there’s a lot of Larry David in the later years of Roy Hodgson. He really doesn’t care what other people think anymore.”

I am not sure my blog can compete with Larry.

67 mins: Gusto’s been Chelsea’s best player, just in case you were wondering.

66 mins: Palmer slides a pass down the side of Richards for Jackson to chase bu the centre-back does well to put the ball behind for a corner.

Chilwell swings it in but Palace clear, only for Franca to give the ball back on the edge of his own box. Gusto’s cross, however, is cleared once more.

64 mins: Palace are currently giving as good as they get to push back Chelsea. This could turn into a game.

Crystal Palace’s Daniel Munoz (right) tussles with Chelsea’s Enzo Fernandez. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

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62 mins: The resulting corner reaches Lerma at the back post bit but he heads across goal and wide.

61 mins: If Thiago Silva does have a groin strain, his wife will be even angrier with Pochettino.

60 mins: I would accept sin-binning for any player who commits a foul throw.

Mateta gets into the box to receive a pass from Franca. The striker takes a shot from a tight angle which is blocked by Silva but I think he has done his groin in the process. Colwill preparing to come on.

Chelsea’s Thiago Silva blocks a shot by Crystal Palace’s Jean-Philippe Mateta. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

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58 mins: With Olise and Eze either side of Mateta tonight, Chelsea would have been in real trouble.

Gusto takes a dreadful foul throw but Oliver gives nothing.

56 mins: Hughes lifts a pass into the box for Lerma but his midfield colleague is not expecting it and fails to control the ball.

53 mins: “My answer to Dave Watton…no one knows,” says Brendan Large re Enzo. “He has had one good game for Chelsea, and that was the last game against Villa. He ran the midfield and scored a quite sublime free-kick. In all the other games for Chelsea (including this) he has not looked like a player of the £16m level, let alone £106m.”

51 mins: Gallagher whips in a corner to the front post, which is flicked on by Thiago Silva but Lerma is there it clear just in front of his own goal.

Chelsea come back at Palace through Gusto, who passes to Palmer, allowing the former City man to cut in and take a shot at goal but he drags it wide.

49 mins: Palace need to lift themselves once more after a promising first half. Chelsea are enjoying all the possession once more.

GOAL! Crystal Palace 1-1 Chelsea (Gallagher, 47)

That is better from Chelsea. Gusto gets down the right and sends in a fine cross, which Gallagher whacks in from 10 yards.

Conor Gallagher swings his boot and scores Chelsea’s equaliser at Crystal Palace. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images
Gallagher (right) celebrates his equaliser with his teammates. Photograph: Ian Walton/Reuters

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Second half

We eventually restart.

Oliver seems to be connected with everyone he needs to be. He gets a big cheer from the fans.

Pochettino goes for a chat with Michael Oliver. Maybe he has a spare screwdriver.

“Is Enzo Fernandez actually any good?” asks Dave Watton. “I struggle to see it, struggle to see him impacting games with stardust or dominating matches, but also struggle to judge the player without considering the price tag. Of all the Fernandezes in the Premier League he’s not the one who looks like a £100m player.”

The players are knocking it about among themselves while Oliver and a tech man attempt to sort the matter behind the dugouts. Ben Chilwell has gone over for a chat with the referee.

“For me it’s a foul on Caicedo by Lerma on the goal,” says Justin Madson. “The way the announcers are talking though, the quality of the goal means that doesn’t matter? Chalk one more up for refereeing/VAR insanity.

“I am not sure what Poch instructs his front line players to do, as all the game plan seems to be is stand in line with the defense and look wistfully back for a potential ball in. No runs, standing around, not finding space to occupy. Nothing to try to get defenders to move.

“Also, not to worry Brenden Large. Liverpool will be taking Xabi Alonso from Leverkusen – though Potter is still available if that falls through.”

I didn’t think it was a foul, personally.

There is a bit of a delay while Michael Oliver has his tech sorted.

Nkunku is coming on for Chelsea, Madueke off.

“It’s a breath of fresh air actually having someone on the pundits’ panel who knows about goalkeeping,” says Andy Flintoff. “It’s really frustrating hearing outfielders, who have barely played the position outside of a few minutes at training – if that – prattle on about something they know little about.

Petr Cech is being very interesting on Sky about goalkeeping and how Petrovic’s style counted against him on the goal.

“God I hope that Hodgson is the one under most pressure, because I can’t see how Chelsea could get in a better manager,” says Brendan Large. “I know Liverpool fans who would be more than happy to take Pochettino if Chelsea get rid, that should give a good indicator.

“Also which manager (apart from Mourinho) would take the job? The team barely know each other’s names at this stage and the ones being pushed out the door are those that have been there longest and have the biggest affinity with the club. It is a sh*t show and no mistake. The only way for this to have any chance is to give Poch time…I still think they would be in a much better place now if they’d let Potter have more time.”

“Having been at (and stayed to the end of) West Ham’s game yesterday I’m quite enjoying watching a side have 80% possession and be even less effective than us yesterday.”

Kudos to you, Ian Sargeant.


What should Chelsea do to change things? I would take off Fernandez, bring on Sterling and put Jackson down the middle with Palmer as a No 10.

Does Pochettino agree? Almost certainly not.

Half-time: Crystal Palace 1-0 Chelsea

It’s been a funny 45 minutes. Chelsea have enjoyed a lot of the ball but done next to nothing with it and have been punished by Lerma’s fine strike. Palace actually look the more effective in the final third.

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45+2 mins: “Thanks to Peter Pearson (no relation, AFAIK) for the zacusa and zurek rabbit holes,” says Joe Pearson. “I might attempt the former, although I am not a huge eggplant fan, but the latter seems a bit beyond my level of adventurousness. I mean, fermented rye flour starter? I don’t think so.

45+1 mins: I am starting to think Chelsea need to make a change of two at the break.

45 mins: Gallagher has a decent chance inside the box but drags his shot just wide.

Three minutes added on.

44 mins: Gusto sends in another decent cross but Andersen is in the way and Palace clear.

42 mins: Mateta slips the ball into the box for Munoz. The full-back goes over under pressure from Silva but the referee does not award anything. VAR takes a look, too, but is not interested.

Palace then have another counter, led by Franca who does his best to get into the box but is held on the edge. The Brazilian certainly looks a lively prospect.

40 mins: Fernandez keeps passing to no one in particular and it is not going well for Chelsea.

38 mins: Petrovic legs it out of his area to reach a long ball over the top but he is beaten to it by his own defender. I am not sure it was the goalkeeper’s ball to go for anyway. Chelsea’s nerves are showing.

36 mins: I thought with so much possession early on, it would help build Chelsea’s confidence but they have been impressively meek.