Goals: Wolves- Jimenez (58′) D.Jota (62′)
Chelsea- Conor Coady own goal (17′)
Jiménez and Jota quickfire goals in the second half were enough for Wolves to upset Chelsea in the Premier League.
Unsurprisingly, Chelsea came out of the blocks faster and an early wayward attempt from Hazard demonstrated the Blues intent to put alot of pressure on the Wolverhampton backline from minute 1 to minute 90. The game was open from the start, with both teams looking to attack each other.
However, Chelsea took the lead in the 17th minute when a Ruben Loftus-Cheek shot from the edge of the box was inadvertently headed into his own net by an unlucky Conor Coady. That goal summed up Wolves’ poor form recently, as that was entirely bad luck for the Molineux side. The replays showed that the ball was on target, and it looked like Patricio was going to save it comfortably before Coady intervened accidentally to Chelsea’s favor. However, it did go down officially as a Coady own goal rather than a Loftus-Cheek goal.
Chelsea had a few chances to extend their lead to 0-2 before the break, and their best chances to add to their lead fell to Willian. His first chance in the 22nd minute from a free kick on the left-hand side of the box was tipped over the bar superbly by the Portuguese keeper. However for his second chance a few minutes before half-time, a late Ryan Bennet challenge halted Willian from finishing off an inevitable 1-on-1. Wolves would have had their keeper and Bennet to thank if they were to gain any points from tonight’s game.
Wolves did create Chelsea a few problems in the first half, and one of their best chances fell to Jiménez in the 26th minute when his header was guided just over Kepa’s bar. However their best chance of the half came in the 36th minute, and a vital Cesc Fabregas intervention denied a certain goal for the bright Wolves youngster- Morgan Gibbs-White who was about to latch on to a pullback in the box before the Spaniard slide in superbly to deny Wolves an equalizer.
So as we went into half-time, it was still all to play for as Chelsea had a slender 1-0 lead at a place where top 6 sides like Manchester City had dropped points earlier on in the season. So could Sarri’s men hold on and extend their lead to pick up an impressive win to solidify their top 4 spot going into the weekend, or will Nuno’s men up the intensity on the blues in the second half and turn this game around to gain 1 point or maybe 3?
The second half started the way the first half did, with Chelsea on top, but they had a chance to extend their 1 goal lead to 2 seconds after half-time when Loftus-Cheek’s ball was flashed across the box after beautiful link-up play with Hazard, and Morata looked like he would tap in, however Boly did enough to put Morata off and send him in the net rather than the ball! Would that be the turning point of the game?
It was! As in the 58th minute, Morgan Gibbs-White piece of individual brilliance ended up with Jiménez who’s shot went straight through Kepa, who was probably at fault for that goal completely, which was unfortunate for the young Spaniard. Morgan Gibbs-White had a big part to play in the Wolves leveling at 1-1!
Would Chelsea’s brittle and unreliable defense crumble? It did! and it was in controversial fashion. As Willian was dispossessed in midfield with the Brazilian complaining for a foul on him twice before the ball was nicked from him, however, the referee waved away his complaints, and from that attack, a ball across the box from the Wolves wide player found Jota in acres of space inside the Chelsea box to tap in past Kepa to complete the comeback and make it 2-1 to Wolves? But the question remained, could Wolves hold out for a famous win which could reignite their season after a poor run?
The answer was yes, and Chelsea made it easy for them. You would have expected Chelsea to throw the kitchen sink at Wolves, but despite Sarri bringing on Pedro, Giroud, and Kovacic, they only created 1 good chance before the game was over and that was wasted by Fabregas in the 87th minute, when Marcos Alonso’s cutback fell to Fabregas inside the box, and he lifted his effort over Patricio’s bar.
This famous win for Wolves could reignite their season now. But for Chelsea, that is now 2 consecutive away defeats this season in the league! Title race over for them now, and all focus will be getting top 4 as the race for the top 4 is so tight.
Player and Manager Ratings
Patricio- 8 (Made an outstanding save from Willian’s free kick to keep the margin at only 0-1 in the first half)
Bennet- 8 (Made a vital challenge to deny Willian a 1-on-1 goal!)
Coady- 6 (Other than an own goal, was pretty solid tonight)
Boly- 8 (Made a vital challenge to deny Morata a tap in right after half-time)
Doherty- 7 (Caused Chelsea multiple problems down Chelsea’s left-hand side)
Moutinho- 6 (Played some lovely passes, but on the whole was average)
Saiss- 5 (Average. Was close to being sent off)
Vinagre- 7 (Caused Chelsea problems down the right-hand side)
Gibbs-White- 9 (Outstanding in the second half! Brilliant assist for Jiménez equalizer)
Jiménez- 7 (Was pretty anonymous for most of the night, but when he was needed, he provided the goods and equalized for Wolves)
H.Costa- 7 (Did everything he needed to do when he came on)
Dendocker- 6 (Wasn’t on long enough- but did solidify Wolves’ midfield and helped them hold out for a win)
Manager Rating- Nuno Espirito Santo- 9- Got his tactics spot on! And his subs made an impact!
Kepa- 6 (Made a massive mistake for Wolves’ equalizer)
Azpilicueta- 6 (Solid but was caught out of Wolves’ second goal)
Christensen- 5 (Poor in the second half)
Rüdiger- 5 (Poor in the second half)
Alonso- 2 (Worst player on the pitch. Needs to be dropped for Emerson at the weekend as he looks tired)
Kanté- 5 (Average. Gave the ball away on many occasions)
Fàbregas- 6 (Average, good for the most part, but missed the vital chance to help Chelsea gain at least a point in the second half)
Loftus-Cheek- 8 (Excellent. Got the assist for the goal, but looked very sharp and could be Sarri’s answer to Chelsea’s midfield problems)
Willian- 4 (Lethargic for the most part. At fault for the second goal completely!)
Hazard- 6 (Average for his standards)
Morata- 5 (Average. Didn’t have too many chances)
Pedro- 6 (Looked better than Willian)
Giroud- 5 (Didn’t have enough time to impact the game)
Kovacic- 5 (Added nothing to the midfield when he came on)
Manager Rating- Maurizio Sarri- 5- Did rotate his side, but it was clear that he needs reinforcements in January- especially a new Striker, a new Right Winger, and a new centre-back as Christensen has proved tonight and in his other appearances this season that he is not good enough for this Chelsea team.
Possession (%) 30 70
Shots 6 17
Shots on Target 2 3
Corners 1 5
Fouls 18 10
Position in PL table
Chelsea slip to 4th in the table on goal difference after Tottenham’s 3-1 win over Southampton lifts them to 3rd place. However, Arsenal’s point at Old Trafford tonight means they are level on points with Chelsea. But are 5th on goal difference. Although, the Gunners would expect Chelsea to slip up against Manchester City meaning that if they beat Huddersfield on Saturday then they could leapfrog Chelsea into 4th! So Chelsea’s top 4 position is in danger after this damaging defeat at the Molineux tonight against a resurgent Wolves side! For Wolves, they are in 12th place with 19 points, but the main point for them tonight was to end the rot… And they did that with a famous win against a lethargic Chelsea side in the second half.
Next games for both teams
Both teams are back in action this weekend, however, Chelsea plays on Saturday 8th December where they take on the Champions, Manchester City at Stamford Bridge at 5:30 pm (UK time), whereas Wolves travel to Newcastle on Sunday to take on the Northern club at 4:00 pm (UK time).
Check out Chivers and Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris’s post-match analysis podcast after the game tonight which will be posted later this week on Sportstalkline.com
By Danyal Khan