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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

A tale of two halves for Chelsea against Crystal Palace but Pochettino must recognise one key detail

Mauricio Pochettino has much to learn from Chelsea’s 3-1 triumph at Crystal Palace, where his team clinched a dramatic late victory following a lackluster first half.

Despite enjoying nearly 80 percent possession, Chelsea failed to register a single shot until stoppage time in the first half at Selhurst Park, making it one of their poorest halves of the season, especially following their impressive performance away at Aston Villa in the FA Cup the previous week.

Jefferson Lerma capitalised on a sloppy first half performance from the visitors, scoring a 20-yard thunderbolt past goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic to give Palace a deserved lead in the 30th minute.

But Chelsea underwent a remarkably swift transformation after the break, with Conor Gallagher equalising before playing a pivotal role alongside Enzo Fernandez in a dramatic late turnaround.

In the first half, Cole Palmer appeared lost up front, Conor Gallagher’s performance was lackluster, Nicolas Jackson struggled to make an impact, and Noni Madueke, despite showing glimpses of promise, made the critical error that led to Lerma’s goal.

Madueke was substituted at half-time, with Christopher Nkunku entering the fray for the second half. Pochettino may soon need to acknowledge that Palmer is not the optimal choice as their primary striker, and consider dropping Madueke for the long term due to his mistake.

Second Half Delight

After the break Gallagher converted Malo Gusto’s cross, and following Palmer’s shot in the 51st minute, Chelsea had already amassed more attempts on goal in six impressive minutes than they had in the entire first half.

Gallagher once again proved pivotal as he swept in Palmer’s cut-back, and Enzo Fernandez added further shine to the scoreline with a composed late finish.

Chelsea have now won their last two matches 3-1 which they carry into next week’s game against Manchester City before meeting Liverpool at Wembley for the Carabao Cup final.

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