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  • Writer's pictureBy Paul Lagan at Stamford Bridge

Palmer hits hat-trick including two late strikes as Blues win manic, frantic encounter with Man United 4-3

Stamford Bridge Picture by Paul Lagan
Stamford Bridge Picture by Paul Lagan

By Paul Lagan at Stamford Bridge


Chelsea 4 v Manchester United 3


Cole Palmer hit a hat-trick, two of which were penalties, but it in truth this was a manic, frantic and frankly bonkers match that somehow Chelsea won 4-3 with two last-gasp goals having taken a two-goal lead before flushing it down the toilet to give United a 3-2 lead.

There were so many things wrong with this game, that it will shown in coaching courses for a decade.

But for sheer thrilling entertainment, it was the game of the season.

Both sides are a pale shadow of their past glories and that was reflected in the unstructured, ill-discipline play on the pitch – the neutrals loved it.

Conor Gallagher had given the Blues an early lead – Palmer doubled the score. They then fell apart and Alejandro Garnacho snaffled a brace and Bruno Fernandes header saw United take a deserved 3-2 lead.

As the game edged into added time it was the Palmer show as he struck twice, once from the spot and another from the edge of the area.

He has been the player of the season for Chelsea, and without him they would be even worse than their 10th position in the Premier League

The game started with a frantic and frankly unsustainable pace - neither side in control, yet neither side looking vulnerable.

That is until four minutes in and a nice break on the right saw Conor Gallagher on the edge of the penalty area and he coolly slotted home past Onana.

An Antony curler on eight minutes, didn't worry Djorde Petrovic one bit.

But United responded well with excellent possession and positive one-touch football.

The Blues defence at this point holding firm.

A far post volley by Garnacho which sailed high and wide helped.

Thirty seconds later and the Blues were awarded a penalty from Jarred Gillett when it was judged that Antony had bundled over Marc Cucurella.

Up stepped Palmer who sent Onana the wrong way to double the score on 19 minutes.

It should have been 3-0 on 25 minutes. A simple deep free kick by Gallagher to the far post was met on the head by Axel Disasi, but inexplicably the defender could not control the ball and headed wide, despite being unchallenged.

Kobbie Mainoo had a fine half-volley power towards the Chelsea goal. But again Petrovic was right behind it..

The Blues gifted United a way back into the game on 34 minutes when a silly, careless and downright unprofessional pass by Moises Caicedo allowed Garnacho to latch onto it and, after a quick double touch, he slotted a deft left-footer past Petrovic.

United sensing that the Blues had tired considerable, took confidence by the break and started to take control of the match.

But they always looked dangerous in the break and Onana was quick to dive to his right to block a low Enzo rasper on 38 minutes.

But the comeback was complete a minute later in the most embarrassing fashion when Bruno Fernandes was at the far post and he headed easily past Petrovic to make it 2-2.

Mudryk got on the end of a Palmer break on the right, but his shot went straight to Onana who pounded the ball clear.

United made one change at half-time – on came Jonny Evans off went Varane.

Harry Maguire had the first chance of the half – a long run and shot with his left boot, inched over Petrovic's goal.

The manic and frantic nature of the game continued. Nicolas Jackson had the next effort on goal, Onana again parried the effort expertly away.

Chelsea almost committed footballing suicide again on 57 minutes, this time Disasi let the ball slip Garnacho raced clear. But the central defender managed to get a boot to the shot and deflected it away for a corner. Next up, Palmer shot, Onana saved – it was a see-saw, ding-dong, thumping joy for the neutral but heart-attack inducing for both the managers.

United boss Eric ten Hag made another substitution, on came Willy Kambwala and Marcus Rashford, off went Rasmus Hojlund and Evans, who had lasted just 19 minutes.

Within seconds and United were ahead – a deep right wing cross by Antony and and Garnacho was quickest to react, while Petrovic was slow and the winger bravely put is head on the ball and it zipped into the back of the net to compound the indignity flowing from the stands to the pitch.

Pochettino responded by bringing on Raheem Sterling and Carney Chukwuemeka, off went Mudryk and Caicedo.

They were soon followed by Alfie Gilchrist and Trevoh Chalobah – off went Gusto and Disasi.

But not before United Scott McTominay was brought on for Casemiro on 74 minutes.

Massive boos greeted the former Chelsea golden boy Mason Mount when he replaced Garnacho on 85 minutes.

It was Mount's first return to his first club since his £55million transfer last year.

Noni entered the fray with two minutes left – off went Gallagher.

The Chelsea crowd vented their ire at Mount every time the 25-year-old touched the ball.

Minutes into added time and another twist in the tail as Chelsea got a second penalty when Diogo Dalot clipped Noni – it looked like a slip by the defender and VAR had a look.

It was given and Palmer took to the spot again.

With the clock running into 99 minutes he put the ball in the same spot and Chelsea incredibly secured a point when it looked like they had thrown it all away.

Or did they?

A quick corner saw the ball given to Palmer on the edge of the United area. They had switched off.

He took one touch before ramming the ball goal-bound. It took a slight deflection on its way into the back of the net – and the whole stadium, apart from the United fans went into pangs of delirium.

And then it was all over.


Teams: Chelsea: Petrovic, Gusto, Disasi, Badiashile, Cucurella, Caicedo, Enzo, Palmer, Gallagher, Mudryk, Jackson

Subs: Silva, Sterling, Noni, Bettinelli, Chalobah, Chukwuemeka, Casadei, Gilchrist, Tauriainen


Man Utd: Onana, Maguire, Fernandes, Hojlund, Garnacho, Casemiro, Varane, Dalot, Antony, Wan-Bissaka, Mainoo

Subs: Heaton, Amrabat, Mount, Rashford, Eriksen, Diallo, Evans, McTominay, Kambwala

Referee: Jarred Gillett



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