Conor Gallagher was the beating heart of Chelsea's second-half revival against Crystal Palace on Monday night, as Mauricio Pochettino's struggling side proved they are not down and out just yet with an away win that took them back into the top half of the Premier League.
The Blues came from behind to make it two wins from two, the former Palace loan star volleying home a second-half equaliser just 80 seconds after the interval before sweeping in a Cole Palmer cut-back in the 91st minute to take the three points.
Enzo Fernandez rounded off matters with a composed finish in the 94th minute, but Gallagher was the driving force of this victory and was hailed as "priceless" by his boss afterwards.
The 24-year-old, who has just under 18 months left on his contract, will not have a shortage of suitors this summer but it will be a bad look for the owners to allow him to leave.
Gallagher grew up supporting Chelsea and knows the standards required. He has shown great commitment to his boyhood club amid uncertainty over his future and fan group We Are The Shed are raising funds for a new crowd-surfing banner to show more needs to be done to tie Gallagher to a new deal.
However, Chelsea may not be able to resist a substantial summer offer for Gallagher as they look to sell academy players for "pure profit" to help balance the books after Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital have spent £1billion on new players.
Last night, the England international showed the drive Chelsea needed to get over a poor first half, covering more ground than anyone else — 13km — in the process.
Just four days after an outstanding FA Cup win at Aston Villa, Chelsea produced one of their worst halves of the season. Gallagher's effort just before half-time had been their only shot, despite the Blues racking up nearly 80 per cent possession.
"It wasn't good enough," Gallagher said. "But the second half was a lot better. It was the perfect response, and the early goal helped us settle." The fans will appreciate Gallagher's straight-talking, as did club legend Petr Cech, working for Sky Sports, who called Gallagher "one of the captains in the making".
Pochettino has issues to address in midfield. Fernandez played well but is struggling to justify the £107million he cost last year. Moises Caicedo, who joined for a British transfer record £115m, again made a big mistake. The Ecuadorian is all too easily dispossessed and was overpowered in the build-up to Jefferson Lerma's 20-yard strike in the 30th minute.
However, the away fans stuck behind the team in south London and hijacked Bob Marley's Three Little Birds, which played through the PA system. Chants of "Every little thing is gonna be all right" sent the perfect message to a young and under-pressure side.
I loved that [they were singing Bob Marley] ... Hopefully, that can be our song going forward
"I couldn't hold back [the celebrations]," Gallagher added. "The fans were brilliant, from the first minute to the last. It helped us to come back. I loved that [they were singing Bob Marley]. I was singing it in my head as well. Hopefully, that can be our song going forward."
Back-to-back wins at Villa and Palace have lifted the side after heavy defeats to Liverpool and Wolves. Chelsea now need to step it up again for their trip to Manchester City on Saturday before they face Liverpool in the Carabao Cup Final.
A groin injury to Thiago Silva, who is set for scans this week, is a concern, as he joins Benoit Badiashile on the sidelines, but Levi Colwill returned from a four-game lay-off last night.