Chelsea's winners, losers and ratings as Potter nicks first win thanks to Gallagher stunner and Thiago Silva reprieve

Gallagher Potter Aubameyang Silva Chelsea Crystal Palace 2022-23 GFXGetty/GOAL

The Graham Potter era at Chelsea is belatedly up and running. But only just, and in seriously controversial circumstances.

After an underwhelming 1-1 draw with RB Leizpig in his first match as the Blues' new boss, Potter looked set for further frustration at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

However, Conor Gallagher came off the bench to steal a 2-1 victory for the visitors, who had been second best throughout.

Indeed, they were lucky to have reached the interval only a goal down, with Palace having dominated after opening the scoring just seven minutes in through Odsonne Edouard.

Fortune smiled on Chelsea again shortly before the break when the officials ruled that a deliberate handball by Thiago Silva – who had fallen to the ground after losing possession to Jordan Ayew – had not denied the striker a clear goalscoring opportunity.

Palace, then, were left feeling like they'd been the victims of a daylight robbery when the final whistle blew, while Potter was just relieved to have picked up his first Premier League win as the Blues' new boss...

  • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Chelsea 2022-23Getty

    The Winners

    Graham Potter:

    It may not have been pretty, and it certainly wasn't deserved, but Potter won't care, for now at least. The match review will make for painful viewing, of course, but the main thing is that Chelsea picked up all three points. And Potter played his part, with two of his substitutes combining for the winner, with Christian Pulisic paving the way for Gallagher's fantastic curler from outside the area.

    Conor Gallagher:

    Having spent last season on loan at Selhurst Park, the midfielder tried his best not to celebrate in front of the fans who treated him so well. But his joy was obvious, and that was wholly understandable. Gallagher has struggled for game time this season but this goal could prove a real turning point for him, even if the competition for places as Chelsea remains intense.

    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang:

    Thomas Tuchel's dismissal was hardly a positive development for the striker. Aubameyang, remember, had only just been signed by the German, under whom he played the best football of his career, at Borussia Dortmund. So, while he may not have been heavily involved in Saturday's game, his fantastic finish served as a timely reminder of his quality, to both Potter and everyone else in the Premier League.

  • The Losers

    Wesley Fofana:

    It's fair to say that the defender has had a rough few weeks since joining from Leicester. Off the field, he got himself embroiled in an unnecessary war of words with his former employers. On it, he's looked horribly off the pace. After being embarrassed in the Champions League loss to Dinamo Zagreb, Fofana was involved in an absolute horror show for Palace's opener. He initially lost possession in his own third with a sloppy pass and then failed dismally to get back to defend his area, completely losing sight of Edouard, who volleyed home the opener. Right now, Fofana looks anything like a £70 million ($80m) centre-back.

    Patrick Vieira:

    The Frenchman was furious that referee Chris Kavanagh only booked Thiago Silva for deliberately handling the ball while Ayew was trying to get away from the Brazilian centre-back. Vieira's mood only darkened after VAR then upheld the match official's decision and promptly earned a yellow card of his own for his protestations. His sense of injustice was understandable, though. It is true that the foul occurred on the left-hand side of the pitch but there was no covering defender and it's difficult to believe that Ayew wouldn't have been left with a one-on-one with Kepa had Thiago not flicked the ball away from him.

  • Odsonne Edouard Wesley Fofana Crystal Palace Chelsea 2022-23Getty

    Chelsea Ratings: Defence

    Kepa (6/10):

    Nothing he could have done about the goal and acquitted himself reasonably well in the absence of the injured Edouard Mendy. In truth, though, wasn't actually tested that much.

    Reece James (6/10):

    It was the right-back's long ball forward which Thiago Silva knocked down for Aubameyang's equaliser. Didn't quite offer his usual attacking threat, though.

    Wesley Fofana (5/10):

    Lost possession in the lead-up to the opener and then, to make matters worse, got caught badly out of position. Still struggling to justify that lofty fee.

    Thiago Silva (8/10):

    Lucky to stay on the field after getting caught in possession and giving away a free with a deliberate handball. But Chelsea's best player thereafter, even popping up with an assist for Aubameyang's equaliser.

    Ben Chilwell (6/10):

    Didn't offer much going forward because he was kept so busy by Palace's tricky attackers.

  • Zaha Jorginho Kovacic Crystal Palace Chelsea 2022-23Getty

    Midfield

    Mateo Kovacic (5/10):

    Worked hard throughout but passes lacked their usual precision and he failed to really impose himself on the game. His afternoon was best summed up by the late booking he received for clipping a Palace player after losing the ball himself.

    Jorginho (4/10):

    Rattled by the pressure Palace applied in midfield. Looked nothing like his usual calm self and his passing was poor as a result. Unsurprisingly replaced after just 55 minutes.

  • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Chelsea Crystal Palace 2022-23Getty

    Attack

    Raheem Sterling (6/10):

    Despite the presence of Aubameyang up front, Sterling actually threatened more in the penalty box. Despite his best efforts, couldn't provide a goal.

    Kai Havertz (5/10):

    Created an early chance for Mount with a nice ball but offered little incision overall.

    Mason Mount (6/10):

    Perhaps should have done better with a first-half header, and an indirect free-kick in the area that was teed up for him. Came off with just under 10 minutes to go.

    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (8/10):

    Cut an isolated figure up front for long spells but when his chance came, he buried it, the former Arsenal man netting his first goal for Chelsea on his first league start after a terrific turn and finish.

  • Graham Potter Chelsea 2022-23Getty

    Subs & Manager

    Ruben Loftus Cheek (7/10):

    Came on for Jorginho shortly after half-time and added a bit more steel in midfield.

    Armando Broja (5/10):

    Replaced Aubameyang for the final 15 minutes but didn't get a whiff of a chance.

    Conor Gallagher (8/10):

    Introduced in place of Havertz with a quarter of an hour to play and won the game for Chelsea with a stunning strike in the dying seconds.

    Christian Pulisic (6/10):

    Only had six minutes of normal time to work with but played his part in the winner with a jinking run.

    Graham Potter (9/10):

    This was shaping up to be a disastrous day for Potter, whose side were outplayed in the first half. But with a bit of luck (Silva avoiding a red card), and some inspired substitutions (Pulisic and Gallagher), he pulled off the first win of his Chelsea tenure.