Conor Gallagher spares Chelsea blushes with 90th-minute winner to beat Leeds


Chelsea needed a last-minute goal from Conor Gallagher to ensure safe passage beyond Championship outfit Leeds United in the FA Cup fifth round, as further questions about Mauricio Pochettino are asked. The Blues fell to an early Mateo Joseph goal, after yet more sloppiness at the back, but strikes from Nicolas Jackson and Mykhailo Mudryk saw the hosts lead at the break. Another Joseph effort dragged Leeds back into the tie midway through the second half, only for Gallagher to net in added time to secure an edgy victory at Stamford Bridge. Here, Express Sport takes a look at the game's biggest talking points.

Pochettino pressure mounts despite win

In the end for Pochettino, progression into the last eight of the FA Cup was the priority, but a shaky and at times careless Chelsea performance would've done little to answer his critics. Both Leeds goals came from sloppiness at the back, with Axel Disasi giving the ball away for the visitors' opener, while Joseph was afforded the freedom of the Chelsea penalty area for the second.

After Sunday's shocker, Chelsea supporters would've been hoping for a commanding performance and a confidence-boosting win. The two-time European champions might still be in the FA Cup, but any hopes of lifting silverware come the end of the season don't appear more likely after their showing against Leeds.

Chelsea ace provides Palmer competition in starting XI

It was a timely performance from Mykhailo Mudryk, who like many other Chelsea stars have been under the kosh this season. But unlike previous times Mudryk has taken to the pitch in a Chelsea shirt this season, the Ukrainian was deployed in the number-10 position and did influence the match.

Aside from his stylish first-half goal, Mudryk caused threats by operating centrally all evening and could provide a genuine threat for Cole Palmer. The ex-Manchester City youngster has had that position locked down all season, but Palmer could be forced to share that spot with Mudryk, if the latter can replicate his performance against Leeds.

Jackson diamond in Chelsea’s rough

There hasn’t been a lot for Chelsea fans to get excited about this season. In fact, there hasn’t been a lot for Chelsea fans to get excited about for a while, but 22-year-old Jackson could prove to be a diamond in their rough.

With his strike against Leeds, the Senegal international took his tally to the season for 10 goals across all competitions. While long-term the Blues will be hoping for bigger returns from their £32million striker, there have at least been some positive signs from his Chelsea career so far.

Clumsy Caicedo a liability with rushed tackles

Moises Caicedo is a player who has faced plenty of criticism so far this season, with the midfielder having flattered to deceive ever since joining in the summer. The £115 signing has featured regularly for Pochettino’s side this season, admittedly to varying degrees of success, but one glaringly obvious flaw continues to plague the midfielder’s performances.

Having been fortunate not to have picked up a red card during Sunday’s final with Liverpool, Caicedo was once again unable to rein in the clumsy tackles, with the ex-Brighton man picking up a second-half yellow card. It was his 10th yellow card across all competitions this season, and while he’s yet to sit out a game via suspension, if Caicedo continues with his reckless tackling, it could cost Chelsea in the long run.

Goalkeeper conundrum still present for Mauricio Pochettino

It was one of the big questions heading into Sunday’s League Cup final for Pochettino, but two games later it doesn’t look as if the Argentine boss is any closer to an answer about his goalkeeper question. Summer signing Robert Sanchez was brought in as the intended number one, but having dropped out of the side through injury, Dorde Petrovic assumed the role between the sticks.

And it looks as if that might continue, at least for the rest of the season. Sanchez failed to catch the eye during his runout against Leeds, with the former Brighton & Hove Albion man susceptible to an error or two. Fortunate not to have been lobbed early doors by Dan James after rushing out of his penalty area, the 26-year-old went on to fire a goal-kick straight out of play - two mistakes which are unlikely to have left a lasting impression on the Blues boss.

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