Chelsea claimed a dramatic victory against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday afternoon as former Eagles loanee Conor Gallagher came off the bench to thump home a long-range winner in the 90th minute. The Blues had fallen behind after just seven minutes as Odsonne Edouard poked home Jordan Ayew’s tantalising cross for the home side. But they stayed in the contest and eventually drew level with seven minutes of the first half remaining as summer signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang swivelled in the area and thrashed the ball into the bottom corner. The west Londoners flattered to deceive after the break as the match looked destined to end in a stalemate. But Gallagher had other ideas as he unleashed a sublime strike into the net. And, despite the win, Chelsea manager Graham Potter now has three issues to solve.
Lack of cutting edge
Chelsea spent £272million to bring in eight new players in the summer. But, remarkably, they still lack a cutting edge in front of goal. The Blues’ result at Selhurst Park means they have now found the back of the net just 11 times in nine games since the start of the campaign.
Kai Havertz, who lined-up alongside Aubameyang up front in south London, has scored just one goal this season, while attacking midfielder Mason Mount is yet to find the back of the net. While Aubameyang registered his first strike for his new employers, he was ineffectual for much of the encounter.
And Raheem Sterling, who has scored four times in Chelsea colours, was kept quiet by the Palace defence. Chelsea were once a formidable attacking force. But they could struggle to even force their way into the top four over the coming weeks if they don’t find a way to create more chances soon.
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What to do with Kalidou Koulibaly
Chelsea spent £33m to land 31-year-old centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli in the summer. But he hardly excelled during his six appearances under Tuchel and was sent off against Leeds in August.
Potter kept Koulibaly on the bench for his first match in charge when the Blues took on RB Salzburg in the Champions League last month. And the former Brighton manager overlooked the Senegal international once again at Selhurst Park as he opted for a centre-back partnership of Thiago Silva and Wesley Fofana.
It’s too early to cast judgement on whether Koulibaly can make an impact at Stamford Bridge. But Potter sees the defender in training on a daily basis and has decided to snub him. So unless he changes his mind, Koulibaly could already be a Chelsea flop. And that could signal that the west Londoners’ summer transfer business was not as wise as it may have been.
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