Promotions
Home » Chelsea 2-1 Crystal Palace: Noni Madueke strikes late penalty to seal win for Mauricio Pochettino

Chelsea 2-1 Crystal Palace: Noni Madueke strikes late penalty to seal win for Mauricio Pochettino

Chelsea 2-1 Crystal Palace

Substitute Noni Madueke struck an 89th-minute penalty to send Chelsea back into the top half of the Premier League table with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge.

The pressure was mounting on Mauricio Pochettino following a fourth straight away Premier League defeat at Wolves on Christmas Eve, but VAR Chris Kavanagh spotted a foul by Eberechi Eze on Madueke inside the box, allowing the youngster to dispatch a late winner from the spot.

Mykhailo Mudryk’s early opener (13) was cancelled out by one-time Chelsea target Michael Olise on the stroke of half-time (45+1), before Nicolas Jackson’s strike from Thiago Silva’s deflected cross was ruled out by VAR.

But Chelsea and Madueke would find a way, as Palace – without a Premier League win in eight games – slumped to a 13th straight defeat in all competitions against their London rivals.

Palace sit in 15th place – three points above the relegation zone – and boss Roy Hodgson said, when asked about the penalty decision: “I’m tempted to say, what’s the point? We have to accept there are two referees in the game.

“It happens and people will look at it themselves. But we are taking away the decision of those on the field and giving it to someone sat in front of a TV screen.

“It’s not my obvious idea of what a penalty looks like. I’m conditioned to see how penalties are given and not given for many years. I’ve no real interest in discussing referees and VAR.”

Noni Madueke celebrates with his team-mates

How Chelsea left it late to pick off Palace again

Chelsea needed this. For so long during the second half, it looked like they had ran out of ideas, and it was Palace who offered the threat of a winner after the excellent Olise underlined just why Chelsea tracked him earlier this year.

Christopher Nkunku showed a glimpse of his potential with his consolation goal at Molineux, and the striker signed for £58m from RB Leipzig underlined his huge promise with his involvement in the opener.

Malo Gusto turned expertly away from Chris Richards in midfield, and a slip from Nathaniel Clyne allowed Nkunku to find the marauding right-back on the opposite flank from a low cutback that was swept home by Mudryk for only his third Premier League goal.

The Ukraine international had made an electric start and would have made it two shortly afterwards but for a smothering block by Palace goalkeeper Dean Henderson, closing the angle well after Mudryk had been slipped in by a deft Jackson back heel.

There has been some discontent among Crystal Palace supporters after just one win in their previous 11 matches, but Chelsea’s opener did come against the run of play. That said, the hosts ought to have doubled their lead when Nicolas Jackson outmuscled Joachim Andersen to find Nkunku with only Dean Henderson to beat, but Richards recovered to produce a vital last-ditch challenge.

Mykhailo Mudryk

Chelsea named their youngest ever Premier League starting XI – aged 23 years, 21 days – and they showed their youth by conceding a soft equaliser on the stoke of half time. Djordje Petrovic hadn’t been tested but after Jordan Ayew spotted Olise unmarked, the stand-in goalkeeper was beaten by a composed finish at his near post.

It was a sweet moment for Olise, who had been linked with a move to Chelsea last summer before signing a new long-term contract at Palace. Chelsea have now conceded 59 Premier League goals in 2023, their most in a calendar year in the competition and the most league goals they have shipped in a year since 1991 (68).

Palace continued to impose themselves upon the restart with Jean-Philippe Mateta unleashing a low shot from a tight angle at Petrovic’s near post only for the Chelsea goalkeeper to tip it behind for a corner. It signalled a double change from Pochettino as debutant Romeo Lavia was summoned for his first minutes since joining from Southampton, alongside Thiago Silva.

Michael Olise It meant a drastic reshuffle as Nkunku moved wide to the right and if anything the change stunted Chelsea’s progress in spite of their increasing possession. They were now looking for moments in transition with Palace defensively so well organised and setting traps.

Madueke was introduced to add to the youthful exuberance – but it was Jackson who would add to his catalogue of glaring misses this term when he raced onto Conor Gallagher’s measured pass only to stroke wide.

Chelsea 2-1 Crystal PalaceThe Senegalese forward’s story at Stamford Bridge is only just starting, and he thought he had made amends when he met Thiago Silva’s cross to beat Henderson, only for VAR to cut short his celebrations. No matter; Chelsea simply went again.

Madueke had looked lively since his introduction and after Eze dangled a leg, Michael Salisbury was instructed by VAR Chris Kavanagh to consult his pitch side monitor and duly pointed to the spot.

Henderson was sent the wrong way and Chelsea had their third home win on the bounce. It was the England Under-21 international’s first league goal of the season. Pochettino said on Madueke’s impact: “He played free. The difference is he did what we needed in this moment.

Malo Gusto challenges Jordan Ayew“He went to play and I liked that he showed that he was upset with me. He was disappointed with me as he hadn’t played too much but he showed me that I can trust him.

“They need to show me that I can trust, and the mentality is really important in the Premier League. You need quality, but you need the right mentality and approach in training in order to perform.”

McFadden & Whitehead’s Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now played out at full-time. It has been a desperately poor 2023 for Chelsea, but Pochettino will hope they are finally on the move.