Luton Town 2-3 Chelsea: Cole Palmer stars as Chelsea survive late Luton comeback

Having recorded back-to-back victories against Newcastle United and Sheffield United over the festive period, spirits were high as Rob Edwards’ Luton Town welcomed Chelsea to Kenilworth Road on Saturday.

LUT: Kaminski; Bell, Osho, Mengi; Doughty, Barkley, Sambi Lokonga, Kaboré; Brown, Townsend; Adebayo

CHE: Petrović; Colwill, Silva, Disasi, Gusto; Caicedo, Gallagher; Jackson, Palmer, Madueke; Broja

Any hopes Luton had of recording a third win on the bounce seemed to come to an abrupt end with just 12 minutes on the matchday clock, when a dreadful clearance from Issa Kaboré allowed Cole Palmer to slot home into the far corner and open the scoring.

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It wouldn’t be the last of the ex-Manchester City star’s contributions, as the Englishman recorded the assist for Chelsea’s second goal – playing in Noni Madueke who did well to get the better of Amari’i Bell before picking out the top corner from a tight angle.

Palmer netted his second goal of the afternoon with 70 minutes played, displaying remarkable composure inside the penalty area to roll the ball away from Thomas Kaminski before sending the ball over the line.

But it would prove to be the goal that sparked life into Rob Edwards’ Hatters, who thought they’d reduced the deficit when Elijah Adebayo headed home in the 75th minute – only for his goal to be disallowed for an offside in the buildup.

Ross Barkley’s header five minutes later would count though, as the midfielder nodded home from an Alfie Doughty counter, and there was a palpable belief at Kenilworth Road that Luton Town could rescue a point from this fixture.

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Throwing countless players forwards, Elijah Adebayo arrived on the scene to head home yet another goal from a wide area in the 87th minute – but Chelsea defended astutely for the dying minutes, holding on to claim all three points.

Yet another spirited performance could have quite easily seen Luton Town record another monumental victory in the Premier League, with this their first defeat in the three games since Tom Lockyer suffered cardiac arrest in the abandoned fixture against Bournemouth. Despite walking away with the all-important points, this is arguably much more of a worrying result for Chelsea, who will be glad to draw a line under a troubled 2023.