Conor Gallagher returned to Selhurst Park to haunt Crystal Palace with a stunning late winner to give Graham Potter a controversial first win as Chelsea boss.
Substitute Gallagher, who impressed on loan at Palace last season, curled home a superb right-footed effort to snatch victory for Chelsea with his first goal for the club.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang also scored his first Chelsea goal on his Premier League return after Odsonne Edouard had poked Palace into an early lead.
However, there was controversy surrounding Aubameyang’s goal as it was set up by Thiago Silva, who Palace felt should have been sent off for a deliberate handball which denied Jordan Ayew a possible goalscoring opportunity.
Palace furious over Silva handball
Gallagher, whose impressive form for Palace last season earned him his England debut, was introduced by Potter in the 76th minute for Kai Havertz.
And with the game seemingly petering out for a draw, the 22-year-old midfielder nutmegged Jean-Philippe Mateta and sent a curling shot into Vicente Guaita’s top corner.
However, while Gallagher returned to break Palace hearts, the Eagles’ supporters will likely direct their ire towards the officials following the decision not to send Silva off.
Just after the half-hour mark, the Chelsea defender appeared to deliberately handle the ball after falling to the ground, denying Ayew a possible goalscoring opportunity.
Referee Chris Kavanagh showed the Brazilian a yellow card, which was upheld following a VAR check, much to the dismay of Palace boss Patrick Vieira – who was booked for his protests – and his players.
Palace’s sense of injustice deepened when Silva headed James’ long ball into the path of Aubameyang, who produced a smart finish on the half-volley to bring Chelsea level.
Because of the postponement of matches following the death of Queen Elizabeth II – for whom a minute’s silence was observed before kick-off – and the international break, neither side had played a Premier League game since 3 September.
And while Chelsea looked settled in possession early on, Palace took the lead with their first attack. Edouard pounced on a loose Wesley Fofana pass and found Ayew on the right. The Ghanaian’s dipping cross found Edouard, who stretched to poke the ball past Kepa Arrizabalaga.
With their tails up, the home side – who lost Nathaniel Clyne to a serious-looking injury before half-time – immediately pressed for a second as Kepa turned Eberechi Eze’s shot from distance around the post with the Palace attacker firing narrowly wide from the resultant corner.
Wilfried Zaha forced a sharp save from Kepa in the second half but Palace were unable to put the Chelsea defence under enough pressure, before Gallagher popped up to rub salt in the home side’s wounds and get Potter off the mark as Blues boss.
- 17ClyneSubstituted forTomkinsat 44′minutes
- 28DoucouréSubstituted forHughesat 84′minutes
- 10EzeSubstituted forSchluppat 74′minutes
- 9J Ayew
- 22ÉdouardBooked at 22minsSubstituted forMatetaat 84′minutes
- 6Thiago SilvaBooked at 33mins
- 8KovacicBooked at 88mins
- 5JorginhoSubstituted forLoftus-Cheekat 56′minutes
- 19MountBooked at 52minsSubstituted forPulisicat 84′minutes
- 29HavertzSubstituted forGallagherat 76′minutes
- 9AubameyangSubstituted forBrojaat 75′minutes
Match ends, Crystal Palace 1, Chelsea 2.
Second Half ends, Crystal Palace 1, Chelsea 2.
Foul by Raheem Sterling (Chelsea).
Tyrick Mitchell (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ben Chilwell (Chelsea).
Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Goal! Crystal Palace 1, Chelsea 2. Conor Gallagher (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Christian Pulisic.
Armando Broja (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Joel Ward (Crystal Palace).
Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea).
Michael Olise (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Jean-Philippe Mateta (Crystal Palace) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Michael Olise with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Raheem Sterling.
Substitution, Crystal Palace. Will Hughes replaces Cheick Oumar Doucouré.
Substitution, Chelsea. Christian Pulisic replaces Mason Mount.
Substitution, Crystal Palace. Jean-Philippe Mateta replaces Odsonne Édouard.
Foul by Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea).
Michael Olise (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the right wing.
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