There were first Chelsea goals for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Conor Gallagher as the Blues came from behind to defeat Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, and we’ve picked out all the key statistical talking points from the victory…
It represented a first victory for Graham Potter as Chelsea head coach, with Gallagher’s injury-time screamer sparking wild celebrations in the away end.
Potter’s dream start
It’s been quite the wait for Graham Potter, with the Chelsea head coach joining the Blues from Brighton at the start of September but yesterday’s clash with Palace was only his second game in charge.
With a couple of games postponed following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, plus the recent September international break, it meant that Saturday’s trip to south London was Potter’s first chance to lead the Blues out in the Premier League.
The head coach started with a compact 4-2-2-2 formation, with Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho at the base of midfield while Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling pushed wide. It meant Kai Havertz could join Aubameyang in a more forward role.
Although the hosts took an early lead through Odsonne Edouard, it was the Blues who looked most likely to score. Havertz linked up well with both Mount, who headed wide, and then Sterling, who eventually hit the base of the post.
Potter wasn’t afraid to make tactical tweaks to his side and he was rewarded with a Premier League victory, and our 10th win over Palace in a row!
Thiago helps in both boxes
A key part of our success was the ever-impressive Thiago Silva.
The Brazilian made a game-high five clearances to ensure Palace didn’t breach our goal for a second time, while he also assisted Aubameyang for our first goal.
The defender was high up the pitch to nod a long ball into the path of the Gabon striker, who swivelled and fired low into the corner.
Partnered with Wesley Fofana at the heart of a back four, Thiago Silva led the defence superbly and was often the start of us building out attacks from the back.
Auba up and running
He may only have had 29 touches throughout our win at Selhurst Park, but Aubameyang showed his clinical side with an instinctive finish to pull us level against Patrick Vieira’s side.
The former Arsenal striker, who joined us on deadline day from Barcelona, was handed his Chelsea Premier League debut by Potter and was the focal point of our attack with the likes of Sterling, Havertz and Mount encourage to ‘buzz’ in and around him in the final third.
Auba repaid Potter’s faith with an expert finish to draw us level, anticipating Thiago Silva’s knockdown before allowing the ball to roll along his body before drilling a shot low, hard and into the corner.
He’s up and running in Chelsea blue, let’s hope it’s the start of many!
Conor’s happy place
We can’t finish our tactical analysis without highlighting Gallagher’s incredible winning strike.
Sent on as a substitute with around 15 minutes left to play, the midfielder would have been encouraged by our head coach to make an impact on the game – and he did just that and some.
The intention of the England Under-21 international to drive forward was evident, with two successful dribbles in his cameo, but his winning goal was right out of the top drawer.
He shifted the ball out of his feet before curling an unstoppable drive into the top corner to secure us all three points at a place he knows so well, having enjoyed a successful loan with Palace last season.
Conor didn’t celebrate his goal out of respect to the Eagles but you just know that inside he was jumping for joy for picking the perfect moment to open his Chelsea account.