Goals from Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic and a first in blue for Armando Broja helped Chelsea register a maiden win in five against Wolves, and secured a third successive Premier League home victory for the first time in over a year.
Chelsea vs Wolves result
It finished Chelsea 3 Wolves 0 at the Bridge, moving us up to fourth in the Premier League table, although we were made to wait longer than we would have liked to go ahead. Several good chances came and went before Havertz cleverly headed us in front in first-half stoppage time. It was the least we deserved for an inventive and dominant showing before the break.
Just as in the midweek success over AC Milan, a second goal soon after the restart effectively ended the game as a contest. Mason Mount picked up his second assist and this time it was Pulisic who benefitted, calmly lifting the ball into the Shed End net.
The result was rarely in doubt thereafter, and Blues fans had the added enjoyment of giving Diego Costa a rapturous reception when he was taken off, soon after our second, and seeing Carney Chukwuemeka for the first time.
There was one final moment to celebrate, a first Chelsea goal for Broja, unerringly planted into the bottom corner having been released by Mateo Kovacic. It proved the perfect ending to another great day’s work for Graham Potter and his men, who can now look forward to the San Siro.
With the fixtures coming thick and fast, Potter shuffled his pack in defence, midfield, and attack, making seven changes in all.
Cesar Azpilicueta, Trevoh Chalobah and Marc Cucurella came into the back four, and Jorginho joined Ruben Loftus-Cheek ahead of them.
Conor Gallagher and Pulisic provided the width in attack, and Havertz led the line. That left Potter with plenty of options on the bench, including two of Wednesday night’s goalscorers, Reece James and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Wolves’ starting XI had Diego Costa in it for the first time, and before kick-off he received a hearty round of applause from the Stamford Bridge crowd along with the familiar refrain of ‘Diego! Diego!’.
Open and entertaining
Chelsea, using a 4-2-3-1 shape, started brightly on a gorgeous autumnal afternoon in west London. In just the second minute Gallagher collected a square pass from Mason Mount and curled wide, and it wasn’t long before Wolves threatened our goal, Daniel Podence glancing a header into the Shed End advertising hoardings.
The open nature of the contest continued unabated. The movement of Chelsea’s fluid front four was causing the visitors plenty of problems, particularly between the lines. Gallagher found Havertz who swivelled and shot over, a Jorginho daisycutter from 22 yards forced Jose Sa into his first save on the quarter-hour, and Pulisic skewed over on his left after we had again moved the ball at pace.
When they could, Wolves wanted to use the speed of Matheus Nunes and Adama Traore on the break. The former opened us up with a burst from well inside his own half, ended abruptly by Azpilicueta, who was booked. Kepa palmed Joao Moutinho’s free-kick to safety.
A flurry of Chelsea chances came and went after the midway point of the half. Azpilicueta, a constant threat down our right, cleverly cut a low delivery back to Mount, who shot wide. Havertz broke clear but was forced wide by Sa, and Pulisic couldn’t get a shot off before being challenged. Loftus-Cheek was the next to try his luck, blasting over with the 10th attempt of the game. Only 25 minutes had been played.
From yet another Azpi pass Pulisic headed over, and then from further out the American went much closer. He cut inside and bent a superb strike towards the top right-hand corner, only for the stretching Sa to tip it around the post.
Ahead at last
There followed a period of relative calm, a Nunes header over aside, until we finally broke the deadlock in the third minute of stoppage time.
Unsurprisingly, it stemmed from our right. We kept the pressure up from a cleared corner, with Chalobah and Mount doing well to fashion some space. The latter crossed diagonally and delightfully, and at last the execution of the finish matched the delivery, Havertz rising above Nelson Semedo and looping a header over Sa and under the crossbar. It was our 15th and final attempt of the first half.
Our first of the second, after Wolves’ most sustained spell of pressure all game, bore plenty of similarities, but Havertz couldn’t connect cleanly with Gallagher’s deep right-sided cross.
We wouldn’t have to wait long to extend our advantage, though. On 53 minutes Mount spread it wide to Pulisic and carried his run to collect the return pass, swivelling and slipping in the winger. Despite the angle narrowing, Pulisic deftly lifted his finish over Sa for another excellent Chelsea goal, his first this term.
The home support were on their feet again soon afterwards, saluting Diego Costa as he was substituted. Our former striker enjoyed his long walk around the pitch from the corner flag at the meeting of the West and Matthew Harding stands, all the way to the East Stand dugout.
Havertz failed in lifting the ball over Sa again when put through, and Podence nearly punished us as we were briefly opened up, saved by an important Cucurella block.
With 20 minutes left, sub Hwang Hee-Chan volleyed into the ground and straight at Kepa. Losing leads in his fixture has been a frustrating recurring theme in recent years, and perhaps Potter had that in mind with his first three changes, Kovacic, James and Broja the men introduced for Loftus-Cheek, Pulisic and the superb Mount. The visitors’ threat was subsequently negated.
Potter was able to hand Carney Chukwuemeka his Blues debut with five minutes left, and there was even more cause for celebration when Broja opened his Chelsea account. Kovacic slid the Academy graduate through, and Broja shifted the ball onto his right before firing into the bottom corner. It was a classy, confident finish that epitomised an excellent Chelsea performance.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Kepa; Azpilicueta (c), Chalobah, Koulibaly, Cucurella; Loftus-Cheek (Kovacic 66), Jorginho; Gallagher (Chukwuemeka 86), Mount (Broja 72), Pulisic (James 72); Havertz (Ziyech 86).
Unused subs Mendy, Chilwell, Sterling, Aubameyang.
Scorers Havertz 45+3, Pulisic 54, Broja 90
Booked Azpilicueta 22, Jorginho 60
Wolves (4-2-3-1): Sa; Semedo, Kilman, Toti, Jonny (Ait-Nouri 72); Moutinho, Nunes; Traore (Campbell 72), Podence, Guedes (Hodge h/t); Diego Costa (Hwang 57).
Unused subs Sarkic, Mosquera, Ronan, Bueno.
Referee Simon Hooper
Chelsea vs Wolves stats
Chelsea vs Wolves - Premier League table
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What time are the Chelsea vs Wolves highlights available?
Match highlights from this game will be available from 7pm UK time on matchday on chelseafc.com and The 5th Stand app. Extended highlights and the full match can be watched from midnight.
Chelsea fixtures - what's next?
The Blues are on the road next week, first in Italy to play AC Milan in the Champions League, and then the focus returns to domestic matters and a trip to Villa Park to take on Aston Villa on Sunday.
Next fixture: AC Milan vs Chelsea
Date: Tuesday 11 October 2022
Kick-off time: 8pm UK time
Location: San Siro