Home Sports Football Chelsea survive late Luton comeback to win thriller

Chelsea survive late Luton comeback to win thriller

Cole Palmer starred as Chelsea ended a miserable 2023 with an important 3-2 win after withstanding a late Luton fightback at Kenilworth Road.

The Blues took the lead in the 12th minute when a poor clearance from Luton’s Issa Kabore set up the £42.5m England forward to drill low into the far corner past Thomas Kaminski.

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Palmer assisted Chelsea’s second as he worked the ball from left to right, feeding to Noni Madueke who dribbled past Amari’i Bell and smashed the ball from a tight angle into the top corner.

Chelsea looked assured on 70 minutes with Palmer adding a third in a standout moment of individual skill. He stayed calm in the area to roll the ball away from the goalkeeper, then again from sliding defenders before slotting home from close range.

But Luton refused to give in and thought they had pulled a goal back through Elijah Adebayo before his header was ruled out for an offside in the build-up.

Six minutes later they did score as Ross Barkley headed home from Alfie Doughty’s corner.

The Hatters threw players forward, hitting Chelsea with an onslaught of crosses that they struggled to cope with. The pressure told and Adebayo nodded in a second for Luton, setting up a nervous final few minutes for the visitors, but Chelsea were able to hold on for the win.

Mauricio Pochettino will be glad of the victory, their second in four days, but disappointed with the way his side dealt with what should have been a comfortable end to the match.

Luton are still in the relegation zone but this was another performance that will give them hope they can stay in the Premier League, having again pushed one of the league’s traditional elite right until the end.

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