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Clean Slate | Conor Gallagher opens up on fighting for his place at Chelsea after match-winning goal against Crystal Palace

Gallagher has logged just 180 minutes of action across the Premier League and Champions League this season after playing a leading role for Crystal Palace in 2021-22

Chelsea is up and running in the Premier League under new manager Graham Potter after the Blues secured a 2-1 comeback win against Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

The Eagles took just seven minutes to open the scoring through Odsonne Édouard but were canceled out a half-hour later by summer addition Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after the Gabonese star was set up by Thiago Silva who arguably should have received his marching orders after what looked to be an intentional handball to deny a goalscoring opportunity only for the Brazilian to see yellow.

But Chelsea would go on to seal all three points on the back of a dominant performance in the 90th minute when second-half substitute – and former Palace loanee – Conor Gallagher scored a sublime match-winner that saw them temporarily jump up to fifth in the Premier League table.

It was Gallagher’s first goal in Chelsea blue despite coming through the academy’s vaunted ranks at Cobham and the timing could not have been better in the wake of Potter’s arrival after replacing Thomas Tuchel.

With a clean slate at Stamford Bridge, Gallagher has a second chance in 2022-23 to stake a claim as a vital piece of the jigsaw puzzle while fighting for minutes in the center of the park, with the England youth international reflecting on the current situation during the post-match presser.

Gallagher has logged just 180 minutes of action across the Premier League and Champions League this season after playing a leading role for Crystal Palace in 2021-22 which saw him chime in with 8 goals and add 3 assists across 34 appearances for Vieira’s outfit that saw Palace try to pry Gallager away from Chelsea on a full deal.

Gallagher certainly offers something different in the heart of the Chelsea midfield over the likes of the key central duopoly of N’Golo Kanté and Jorginho, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek is likely to remain on the periphery as well as the jury still being out on Juventus loanee Denis Zakaria. That leaves Croatian international Mateo Kovacić as the only other consistent competition for Gallagher unless former Aston Villa youngster Carney Chukwuemeka works himself into Potter’s thinking.

With a long season ahead and a winter World Cup approaching – with all the potential selection headaches that could come with it – it may well turn out that Gallagher made the right decision after all, and his vital goal today goes a long way in helping him state his case in west London.

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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