Late Madueke Penalty Secures Morale-Boosting Chelsea Win Over Palace  (Sky Sports)

Chelsea 2 Crystal Palace 1

Noni MaduekeSubstitute 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 Axel Disasi's 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.

Player ratings

Chelsea: Petrovic (6), Gusto (8), Disasi (6), Badiashile (6), Colwill (6), Caicedo (6), Gallagher (7), Mudryk (7), Nkunku (7), Maatsen (7), Jackson (6).

Subs: Thiago Silva (7), Madueke (7), Broja (6), Gilchrist (n/a), Lavia (6).

Crystal Palace: Henderson (6), Clyne (6), Andersen (6), Guehi (7), Mitchell (7), Lerma (6), Richards (7), Olise (8), Eze (7), Ayew (6), Mateta (7).

Subs: Matheus Franca (n/a), Schlupp (6).

Player of the match: Malo Gusto.

How Chelsea left it late to pick off Palace again

Chelsea needed this. For so long during the second half, they 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.

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 at the far post, 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've 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

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. Chelsea 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 collection of misses this term when he raced onto Conor Gallagher's measured pass only to stroke wide.

The 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.

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 turning a corner.

Madueke saves Christmas for Chelsea

Sky Sports' Ben Grounds at Stamford Bridge:

"Mauricio Pochettino said this was a game his side simply could not lose. They had to do it the hard way. They've missed too many big chances this season. More than any other Premier League side. They missed more here. Jackson, again the fall guy.

"It had looked like being another frustrating home outing for Pochettino's side for most of the second half. But the Chelsea manager looked to his bench, as he so often has, rummaged in his bag, and picked out Madueke. Ask many Chelsea fans and they will tell you he should have started tonight. But he has made his point.

"This turned into a restorative evening for the beleaguered Chelsea manager, who was full of energy on the touchline throughout - collecting a yellow card in stoppage time.

"Here came a welcome dose of Christmas cheer just when it seemed things were turning further against Chelsea with Madueke providing the crowning glory.

"Chelsea, three home wins on the bounce, are turning a corner. Aren't they?"

How did Nkunku play on his full PL debut?

There was a fluency about Chelsea in the first half that has rarely been seen in recent weeks. Nkunku on his long-awaited first start was at the heart of things. Fresh from his role in the opening goal, he played a wonderful ball in for Jackson, whose low drive was aimed fractionally wide of Henderson's far post.

The France international might then have had his first Stamford Bridge goal after 25 minutes had he not kicked the turf when clean through on goal, under pressure from defender Chris Richards.

Chelsea were industrious with the ball, racking up 323 passes during the first half and recording 63 per cent possession and - unlike on so many other occasions this campaign - they had created gilt-edged chances to go with it.

Nkunku started in the No 10 position but showed his versatility by drifting to the right when Gallagher was asked to play in a more advanced midfield role. It made him less effective with his natural tendency to drift inside, but what will please Chelsea fans is that he came through his first start unscathed, completing 71 minutes before being withdrawn ahead of the late drama.

What's next?

Chelsea's next game is at Luton on Saturday; kick-off 12.30pm.

The Blues then host Preston in the FA Cup third round on Saturday January 6; kick-off 5.30pm.

Crystal Palace are next in action on Saturday when Brentford visit Selhurst Park; kick-off 3pm.

The Eagles then host Everton in the FA Cup third round on Thursday January 4; kick-off 8pm.

Click Here for Official Teamsheet


Chelsea Petrovic; Gusto, Disasi, Badiashile (Gilchrist 90+2), Colwill (Silva 58), Caicedo, Gallagher (c), Mudryk (Broja 71), Nkunku (Madueke 71), Maatsen (Lavia 58), Jackson
Subs Not Used Bettinelli, Bergstrom, Matos, Castledine
Booked Caicedo, Madueke, Pochettino, Gallagher
Goals Mudryk 12, Madueke 89 (pen)

Crystal Palace Henderson; Mitchell, Guehi (c), Andersen, Clyne, Richards, Lerma (Franca 90), Ayew (Schlupp 79), Eze, Olise, Mateta
Subs Not Used Matthews, Tomkins, Adaramola, Hughes, Ahamada, Riedewald, Ozoh
Booked Richards, Mitchell
Goals Olise 45+1

Attendance 39,618

Referee Michael Salisbury

VAR Chris Kavanagh