3 things learned as Wolves stun Chelsea
Wolves - Chelsea was a classic encounter, as Olivier Giroud gave the Blues the lead but Daniel Podence equalized and Pedro Neto scored a 95th minute winner to seal a stunning comeback win.
Christian Pulisic was superb in the first half but Frank Lampard switched him from the left flank to the right and Chelsea struggled to create much after that as they missed the chance to go top of the Premier League table.
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Chelsea had plenty of the ball throughout but Wolves, without Raul Jimenez, secured their first win in three after hanging in there and causing a threat on the break.
Wolves move on to 20 points with the win, just two behind Chelsea, as Lampard’s side have now lost back-to-back games in the Premier League.
Three things we learned from Wolves - Chelsea
1. Pulisic razor sharp; Otasowie shows up on debut: USMNT teenager Owen Otasowie had a really good 45 minutes on his Premier League debut, as the teenager popped up everywhere in midfield on the inside right channel, got an assist on the equalizer and almost grabbed a goal but Semedo played the ball behind him. It was a very promising debut for the young midfielder/defender who should get plenty of minutes over the festive period. As for Pulisic, he was razor sharp in the first 38 minutes when he was on the left as he ripped Nelson Semedo apart, but then Lampard switched him to the right flank. It was a bizarre decision, which we broke down in ‘Pulisic Watch’ here, and Pulisic’s switch from the left coincided with Chelsea struggling to create in the final third. That said, it was great to see him go the full 90 minutes for the first time in the Premier League since July.
2. Havertz struggling to get up to speed: This was another poor showing from the German attacker and the 21-year-old is struggling to get up to the pace of the Premier League, as he’s scored just one goal this season so far. After his $83 million move from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer, Havertz looks lost in this Chelsea system. He should probably be playing up top on his own and be given the freedom to roam around, but instead he’s asked to play centrally or out on the right, and he’s just not strong enough to dictate the tempo of the game from a slightly deeper role. If he’s going to get the most of a player he clearly trusts, Lampard needs to be brave and play Havertz up top instead of Abraham or Giroud.
3. Shot-shy Wolves prove they can cope without Jimenez: This game marked Wolves’ longest run without a goal (285 minutes) since they returned to the Premier League in 2018, but then Daniel Podence and Pedro Neto proved they can cope without long-term absentee Raul Jimenez. Pedro Neto was brilliant on the counter and Adama Traore came on and made an impact despite picking up a few knocks. Podence can create and Neto can finish, so those two should help ease the blow of Jimenez being out, while Fabio Silva is showing enough that he can chip in too.
Man of the Match: Daniel Podence - Grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck in the second half (after he had been grabbed around the neck by Ben Chilwell) and dominated the game after N’Golo Kante shut him down in the first half. Great goal and the Portuguese playmaker is a wizard.
Wolves started well as Nelson Semedo surged forward and Romain Saiss headed over, but Chelsea looked dangerous for most of the first half.
Pulisic was at the heart of everything good Chelsea did, as the USMNT star buzzed down the left wing time and time again, with Werner and Giroud going close, as the latter headed over from a corner.
Pedro Neto then saw his volley pushed away by Edouard Mendy as the hosts got going, while at the other end Giroud’s header appeared to hit Coady on the arm but VAR didn’t award a penalty kick.
Right on half time a towering heading from Kurt Zouma cannoned off the bar and Giroud couldn’t convert the rebound which just hit him a yard out.
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USMNT teenager Owen Otasowie came on at half time for his Premier League debut, but moments later Chelsea were ahead.
After Werner found Chilwell, his cross found Giroud and he hammered a volley on goal which Patricio saved brilliantly, but the ball just squirmed over the line.
Fabio Silva then slotted home but he was clearly offside as Chelsea were let off the hook.
Podence then delivered a moment of magic as he danced past Reece James and Ben Chilwell and beat Mendy at his near post to make it 1-1.
Wolves almost won it late on as Semedo was put through but he passed to Otasowie instead of shooting, and the chance came and went.
Real drama arrived as Pedro Neto won a penalty kick but VAR told the referee to look at the pitch-side monitor and he correctly took the penalty away as Reece James did not trip Neto.
Incensed by that decision, Neto surged forward in the 95th minute and beat James for pace and slammed home the winner across goal as Chelsea were hit with a sucker-punch on the counter and Lampard could hardly believe it.