Conor Gallagher’s replacement will most likely be Cole Palmer. As of now, there are no options other than Palmer.
Chelsea will host Manchester United in the 15th round of the 2023-24 Premier League (PL) season on July 7 at 5:15 a.m. ET at Old Trafford in Manchester, England. Chelsea is 10th in the standings with 19 points, while United is seventh with 24 points.
In their last meeting in Brighton, Chelsea narrowly won 3-2. Enzo Fernandes and Levi Colwill gave them the lead with consecutive goals, but they conceded through Facundo Buonanotte and then faced a numerical disadvantage when Gallagher was sent off for accumulated cautions. Brighton responded with an onslaught, bringing on the likes of Kaoru Mitoma, Pascal Gross and Juan Pedro.
Enzo scored a late goal to extend the lead, but Pedro conceded in stoppage time. There were several close calls, but Robert Sanchez was in fine form for the first time in a while to preserve the win. The win over Brighton was important for Chelsea after a two-match winless streak. Now, Chelsea will face Man United. The absence of Gallagher is a huge pressure.
Gallagher has been key to Chelsea’s midfield this season. Moving between the center of the second and third lines, he provided mobility and made an impact with his pressing and involvement in the attack. His liveliness was a huge boost to a Chelsea team that had looked stagnant. Even the most vocal critics applauded Gallagher’s performance, but he was unavailable against United. Mauricio Pochettino will have to face United without him.
His replacement is Palmer. Palmer, who joined from Manchester City this summer, has played up front, on the wing, and in the second line, and has even earned an England cap. Palmer has shared a role alongside Gallagher, but now he’ll have to take on the all-around involvement and active pressing that Gallagher used to do.
With so many injuries in the midfield, Palmer is not the only option. Leslie Ugochukwu and Romeo Rabia are out with injuries, leaving Enzo and Moises Caicedo to defend the back three. I might consider moving Enzo forward, but that would leave the midfield wide open. Palmer is the only midfielder with first-team options who can play a similar role to Gallagher, so Pochettino will likely start Palmer in Gallagher’s place unless he makes a surprise move.
“Palmer would be a huge boost for Chelsea without Gallagher,” said Football London. In his pre-match press conference, Pochettino expressed confidence in the absence of Gallagher, saying, “We don’t have many options, but we are confident we will play a good game.”