Wolves 2-1 Chelsea to send fans in wild celebration at the Molineux
Wolves (possible 3-4-2-1) Jose Sa; Kilman, Dawson, Tote; Nelson Semedo, Lemina, Joao Gomes, Ait-Nouri; Hwang, Sarabia; Cunha.
Substitutes: Bentley, S Bueno, Doyle, H Bueno, Doherty, Chirewa, Hesketh, Kalajdzic, Barnett.
Chelsea (possible 4-2-3-1) Petrovic; Gusto, Disasi, Thiago Silva, Colwill; Ugochukwu, Gallagher; Palmer, Jackson, Sterling; Broja.
Substitutes: Bettinelli, Bergstrom, Badiashile, Maatsen, Mudryk, Lavia, Madueke, Nkunku, Matos.
Referee David Coote.
Chelsea labored to a scoreless first half with a defensively inclined Wolves at the Molineux before bowing down to a 2-1 loss in their week 18 Premier League fixture on Sunday.
In a first half where the ‘Blues’ managed two shots on goals to Wolves none, there was actually much to say.
Gary O’Neil effected two changes to the Wolves side that fell to a defeat at West Ham last weekend. Jose Sa returned in goal and Rayan Ait-Nouri was started at left wing-back, leaving both Dan Bentley and Jeanricner Bellegarde dropping out.
Chelsea on the hand, made a load of changes from their Carabao Cup win over Newcastle. Levi Colwill, Axel Disasi, Lesley Ugochukwu, Raheem Sterling, and Nicolas Jackson all were in, while out came Ian Maatsen, Benoit Badiashile, Moises Caicedo (ill), Mykhailo Mudryk and Christopher Nkunku.
The ‘Blues’ then endured a frustrating first half despite being ahead on every metric except the one that counts most-putting the ball in the net.
Raheem Sterling, who was without saying, the best player on display by a distance, frittered away the best chance of the half after dispossessing Joao Gomes of the ball to speed through on a one on one encounter with Wolves goalkeeper José de Sá.
Raheem Sterling of Chelsea is challenged by Mario Lemina of Wolves. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images
Wolves improved and finished the half strongly, but Gary O’Neil side won’t need a soothsayer to tell Wolves they are fortunate to be on level terms with the visitors at the half-time mark of this game.
Wolves sprinted off to a flying restart of the game and almost scored on their fist asking but were denied by Chelsea’s goalie Đorđe Petrović.
In the fifth minute of the first half, Mario Lemina celebrated a goal-saving challenge. Now, in the sixth minute of the second half, he gets to celebrate a goal.
Lemina puts Wolves ahead! 🐺♨️ pic.twitter.com/cw0Hc0wVur
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) December 24, 2023
Pablo Sarabia’s well delivered in-swinging corner landed pat on Lemina’s head and the Wolves’ player directed it neatly into the far corner of the net giving his side the lead in the 51st minute. Chelsea looked uncomfortable all game long with Sarabia’s corners.
Chelsea were forced into substitutions on the 59th minute with Mykhailo Mudryk and Christopher Nkunku replacing the injured Lesley Ugochukwu and the lackadaisical Armando Broja.
Nkunku is finally making his belated Premier League debut at last. On the 60th minute, Malo Gusto is yellow carded for kicking the ball away.
Sterling goes down a minute later in the Wolves area after a clumsy challenge from the falling Tote – but the referee gives a foul against Chelsea player. VAR check did not see anything wrong. Nicolas Jackson is booked for dissent in the process by the referee.
In the 63rd minute Cole Palmer’s cross/hot collided with a defender and goes up in the air with Sa flailing after the loose ball, and clutching thin air when Nkunku flicked a shot at goal. Tote was on time to clear the ball off the line.
On 90+3 minute, Matt Doherty ‘The bus driver’ chose his moment to finish it off. Moments later, Nkunku halved the lead on his Chelsea debut to end it 2-1 on a Wolves win.