Late goals from Ross Barkley and Elijah Adebayo created a tense conclusion to what should have been a comfortable victory for Chelsea.
In an exciting match at Kenilworth Road, The Blues started well and took the lead in the 12th minute. A clearance mistake from Issa Kabore handed the ball to Cole Palmer, who slotted low into the far corner past Thomas Kaminski.
Palmer was again instrumental in Chelsea’s second goal as he maneuvered the ball from left to right, providing an assist to Noni Madueke inside the box. Madueke dribbled past Amari’i Bell and smashed the ball from a tight angle into the top corner.
Nicolas Jackson then delivered a through ball to set up Palmer, who remained calm to roll the ball away from the goalkeeper and past sliding defenders before slotting in Chelsea’s third in the second half.
However, Luton didn’t give up easily. They thought they had pulled a goal back through Adebayo, but his header was ruled out for offside in the build-up before Barkley scored a header from Alfie Doughty’s corner.
Luton pressed forward, and substitute Carlton Morris’ header was pushed onto the crossbar before Adebayo scored a second for Luton, creating a nervous final few minutes for the visitors. Nevertheless, Chelsea managed to hold on for the win.
The victory means Chelsea has secured two crucial wins in a week, aiming to climb up the Premier League table after a challenging 2023.
Mauricio Pochettino will be pleased with the victory but disappointed with how his team handled what should have been a comfortable end to the match.
Palmer Continues to Showcase His Importance
Palmer has been Chelsea’s standout player this season, and his performance against Luton Town once again highlighted the quality he has brought to Pochettino’s side since his £42.5 million move from Manchester City.
His goal in the first half was a lethal finish after a poor clearance landed the ball at his feet, and his pass to Madueke was perfectly timed as Chelsea attacked.
This marks Palmer’s fourth Premier League game this season in which he has both scored and assisted.
He is also only the fifth Chelsea player to reach double figures for goal involvements (eight goals, five assists) in a single Premier League season while aged 21 or under, joining Arjen Robben, Eden Hazard, Christian Pulisic, and Mason Mount.
His second goal highlighted his composure as he stayed calm to dribble around Kaminski and roll the ball between two Luton defenders on the goal line.
Palmer received good support from his former England U21 teammate Madueke, who was dangerous throughout the game. Madueke’s ability to go either inside or outside his marker caused problems for Luton.
Pochettino praised Madueke for the way he responded to being out of the team following his match-winning performance against Crystal Palace in the week, and the winger put in another positive performance this time out.
The former England and Chelsea midfielder’s energy drove the team forward, and he came close when he curled over a free-kick from the edge of the penalty area.
Rob Edwards’ side will be disappointed to have missed out on what could have been when Adebayo hit the crossbar from close range, and substitute Morris’ header was pushed onto the bar by Djordje Petrovic as they looked to secure an unlikely point.
Luton is still in the relegation zone, but this was another performance that will give them hope they can stay in the Premier League, having pushed another of the league’s traditional elites right until the end.