It is defeat in consecutive away games for the Blues as for the first time under Maurizio Sarri, we let a lead slip to end up on the losing side.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s 18th-minute goal had set us on our way in this rare midweek league game but a ragged five minutes and two goals conceded midway through the second period did the damage. Raul Jiminez and Diogo Jota were the Wolves scorers.
The home side, playing at a good pace, looked threatening in the early stages when they worked the ball into space out wide. They certainly did not resemble a side which had taken one point from their previous six Premier League outings.
But Chelsea, with five changes made from the side which beat Fulham, took over in the middle period of the first half. Loftus-Cheek’s deflected goal was followed quickly by Willian coming within a whisker of finding the net with a firmly struck free-kick.
On a damp pitch, there were some importantly timed tackles put in by both sides before the interval, after which we had more control of the game than at any time. But then came Wolves quick-fire double and we looked vulnerable in giving Wolves the ball in dangerous areas. From then on and despite a 70 per cent share of possession over the game, we only briefly looked like recovering a point when Eden Hazard went close and Cesc Fabregas shot over.
He ended on the losing side tonight but handed his first league start of the season, Loftus-Cheek scored his sixth goal. This one took a big deflection off the head of a Wanderer but the shot was initially on-target and has been confirmed as Ruben’s goal to keep by the Premier League.
A night of cards
The decisions of referee Jon Moss angered the Molineux crowd especially, although some were not to the Chelsea players’ liking either. In total there were seven yellow cards shown, four to the home side, four to us. The foul count was 18 for Wolves, 10 for the Blues.
State of the table
A win for Tottenham at home to Southampton but a draw for Arsenal at Man United mean we drop a place to fourth and are ahead of the Gunners on goal difference.
With the games coming thick and fast now, Maurizio Sarri made more changes than he usually does to his Premier League selection. Andreas Christensen replaced David Luiz in defence, his first league start of the campaign too. Fabregas and Loftus-Cheek took the places of Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic in midfield and up front, Alvaro Morata and Willian were the changes for Olivier Giroud and Pedro.
2 mins – An early chance from a chip over the top by Loftus-Cheek but Hazard skied his volley.
6 – Hazard had yet to find his shooting boots when he planted a shot straight at the keeper after some careful build-up play by Azpilicueta and Kante.
16 – It needed Rudiger’s rapid feet to get in the way of Diogo Jota and snuff out danger after Wolves had got in behind the Blues defence.
18 – GOAL! Loftus-Cheek picked up where he left off against Fulham, by firing powerfully at goal having picked up the ball on the corner of the penalty area. This time he was given help in beating the keeper by Wolves skipper Coady who diverted it into the net with his head.
23 – It needed a finger-tip save by Rui Patricio to turn Willian’s free-kick onto the top of the crossbar. Hazard had been fouled when on a penetrating run.
35 – Rudiger made another important contribution when changing the direction of a cross whipped in from the Wolves left. Consequently Raul Jiminez could not keep his header down.
36 – Fabregas made a vital sliding challenge deep inside our penalty area when Morgan Gibbs-White was about get on the end of Jiminez’s knock down.
37 – An equally good last-ditch challenge by Ryan Bennett denied Willian who was about to pull the trigger having been sent through by Hazard.
46 – The Blues were fast out of the box after the break and opened up Wolves through Hazard and Loftus-Cheek, but as the latter sent in a superb centre, Willy Boly’s challenge, which looked to some a foul, prevented a Morata touch.
56 – A pin-point long pass by Fabregas found Willian but unfortunately the Brazilian could not keep his shot down. A minute later Kante shot wide.
59 GOAL Jiminez found the net with a powerfully struck shot under Kepa after the Wolves centre-forward had been played in between Christensen and Alonso by a well-weighted pass by Gibbs-White.
63 GOAL A low ball across the face of goal was capitalised upon as the Blues marking was found wanting. Jota finished at the far post. We had been guilty of losing possession deep in our own half, through a misdirected Christensen pass and then the ball taken off Willian who believed he had been fouled.
78 Hazard cut inside and went for goal. He hit it cleanly but a few inches over the bar.
87 Fabregas also aimed too high when going for goal having controlled Alonso’s cross.
The games keep coming every three days and a big one is on the horizon. We host league leaders Manchester City at Stamford Bridge this Saturday tea-time.