Chelsea’s season was over. They had just lost 2-0 to Brentford, and a visit to league leaders Tottenham Hotspurs, Chelsea’s North London rival, loomed on the horizon. Then the unthinkable happened.
In one of the craziest Premier League games of the season, which saw two red cards, nine VAR checks, and five goals, Chelsea headed back to West London with a 4-1 victory and a bit of confidence.
Their reward? New league leaders, Manchester City, the best team in world soccer over the last five years, coming to town just six days later. Chelsea, despite winning at Tottenham by three goals, had looked like the worse of the two teams, and Manchester City hadn’t even been scored on by Chelsea in six straight contests between the two.
A matchup that had all the makings of being a blowout for the visitors, instead provided the match of the season. Chelsea four, Manchester City four. City scored first in the 25th minute, but Chelsea were leading 2-1 by the 37th. Just when it looked like Chelsea would go into half with an unexpected lead, Manuel Akanji scored in the first minute of first-half stoppage time to make it 2-2.
City scored two minutes into the second half and Chelsea heads dropped. How were they supposed to come back again? Then in the 67th minute, Nicolas Jackson equalized, following up his hat-trick against Tottenam with the biggest goal of his young career. Chelsea once again clawed back. Until, with three minutes left to go in regulation time, Rodri cracked a long shot which took a nasty deflection, and the visitors were back on top, now firmly in control.
Up steps Cole Palmer.
Palmer, now 21 years of age, had been a Manchester City player in their academy since he was eight. This past summer he left Manchester City for Chelsea, and has been having a career year. Deep into second-half stoppage time, the 90+5th minute to be exact, Palmer steps up to the spot after Chelsea won a penalty, and scores the equalizer in his first match against his boyhood club.
Two matches against the two best teams, plus one exceptional moment from an exceptional player, and Chelsea seems to have found new life. Now we just have to wait to see if the team can take this momentum forward.
Tagline: “The Beautiful Game”, with James Helman, looks at Chelsea Football Club’s performances and decisions, on and off the field, as well as the biggest games in European soccer.