Wolves 2-1 Chelsea: A quickfire double from Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota sinks Maurizio Sarri’s side as the Blues fall to a surprising loss at Molineux
- Wolverhampton Wanderers hosted Chelsea at Molineux in a Premier League match on Wednesday night
- Ruben Loftus-Cheek opened the scoring for Chelsea in the first half, taking them 1-0 up against Wolves
- Wolves defender Conor Coady was unfortunate to deflect the shot from Ruben Loftus-Cheek into the net
- Wolves had a couple of small chances to get back into the match but they went into half time 1-0 down
- However, Wolves came out in the second half firing on all cylinders and were able to get a quickfire double
- It was those two goals from Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota which helped Wolves to their surprising victory
What began as an evening where one England youth looked to have taken a chance long waited for, finished up with another seizing the spotlight all for himself. This was a match where Morgan Gibbs-White gave uplifting proof of his enormous talent.
Starting his first Premier League game, the 18-year-old did not wilt when his team went behind against Chelsea, instead becoming the catalyst for a comeback that electrified Molineux and left Maurizio Sarri’s side ten points off Manchester City.
Sarri tinkered with his team, giving opportunity to those who have been banging on his door, but was left to rue a second defeat of the campaign after the loss to Tottenham a fortnight ago.
Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Raul Jimenez celebrates scoring the equalising goal for his team after they went behind early
A few minutes after their first goal, Wolverhampton Wanderers added a second through Diogo Jota to go 2-1 up in the match
Ruben Loftus-Cheek opened the scoring for Chelsea in their match against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League
MATCH FACTS, RATINGS, PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE, AND MATCH ZONE
Wolves 3-4-3: Patricio 7; Bennett 7.5, Coady 7.5, Boly 7.5; Doherty 7.5, Moutinho 7.5, Saiss 7, Vinagre 7.5; Gibbs-White 8.5 (Costa 72’ 6.5), Jimenez 8 (Dendoncker 81’), Jota (Cavaleiro 88’)
Goals: Jimenez (59), Jota (63)
Booked: Saiss, Moutinho, Vinagre, Coady
Subs not used: Ruddy, Hause, Bonatini, Traore
Manager: Nuno Espirito Santo 8
Chelsea 4-3-3: Kepa 5; Azpilicueta 6, Rudiger 6.5, Christensen 6, Alonso 6; Kante 6.5 (Kovacic 77’), Fabregas 7, Loftus-Cheek 7; Hazard 6.5, Morata 4.5 (Giroud 65’ 6), Willian 5 (Pedro 65’ 6)
Goals: Loftus-Cheek (18)
Booked: Christensen, Alonso, Fabregas, Giroud
Subs not used: Caballero, Jorginho, Zappacosta, Luiz
Manager: Maurizio Sarri 6
Ref: Jon Moss 6
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It was simple yet effective for Wolves’ second goal.
Check out more from Mailsport‘s amazing Match Zone feature here.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek did at least do well, scoring a deflected goal that gave Chelsea an 18th-minute lead. But the impact of Alvaro Morata and Willian was minimal, and Sarri did not even offer a glance when the pair were taken off late on.
His opposite number, Nuno Espirito Santo, was a whirring dynamo on the sidelines as the seconds ticked down, one part manager, sending on substitutes to see out victory, one part conductor, cajoling the supporters in the stands to raise the volume.
After five losses and no wins in six, this was as good a result for Wolves as it was bad for Chelsea, alleviating the doubts that had began to creep into the club in recent weeks.
It had seemed the match would follow a different course, with Loftus-Cheek pivotal.
The last time he had started a Premier League game for Chelsea, Guus Hiddink was trying to piece together the shards of a squad left by Jose Mourinho.
It was April 2016 and the fixture against Manchester City was inconsequential. So this was certainly a rare experience for him, a match that mattered.
It has been said that Loftus-Cheek, having won a World Cup place for regular outings at Crystal Palace, would push to leave on loan in January had he not started here. So perhaps we can now expect any transfer request to stay in the drawer.
The Chelsea players surround the goalscorer Ruben Loftus-Cheek after he put their team one up in the first half of the game
Chelsea’s goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga gestures to his defenders during the match against Wolverhampton Wanderers
Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas went down injured during the first half but was able to get up and continue playing
After scoring off the bench against Fulham, Loftus-Cheek merited inclusion as Sarri decided he could rotate his team. The Italian made five changes, for the first time dropping Jorginho and starting Cesc Fabregas and Andreas Christensen in the Premier League, two more players with potential moves on the mind.
Molineux, clearly, was the place for appeasement. Earlier this season that would smack of ignorance to a club with big ambitions but lately Wolves have struggled for form, before last night not winning in six matches.
Santo has been trying to find a way to reinvigorate his team and made four changes, giving Morgan Gibbs-White his first Premier League start.
The 18-year-old won the Under-17s World Cup with England and has this season delivered a series of sparkling midfield displays off the bench. This time, he was starting in the front three, with Romain Saiss instead deputising for the suspended Ruben Neves alongside Joao Moutinho.
Wolverhampton Wanderers’ goalkeeper Rui Patricio pulls off a spectacular diving effort to try and keep his team in the match
Andreas Christiansen of Chelsea and Raul Jimenez of Wolverhampton Wanderers compete for the ball during the match
Rui Patricio celebrates from the other end of the pitch as Raul Jiminez scores the goal which gets his team back into the game
And to begin with, it looked a tactical masterstroke. Gibbs-White was Wolves’ source of energy, in one run shooting past Fabregas then cutting inside Willian to start a counter-attack. He slipped a neat pass to Diogo Jota for a chance, and turned N’Golo Kante to earn a foul.
But then, in the 18th minute, the young English talent in blue made a telling impression. Picking up the ball from Eden Hazard, Loftus-Cheek cut inside and fired a shot that in truth Rui Patricio would have gobbled up. Conor Coady though tried to deflect wide, only succeeding in glancing the ball to a new trajectory past the Wolves goalkeeper.
Loftus-Cheek’s strike was on target, so ought to be credited to him, even though Coady’s contribution turned it into a goal. Fortunate certainly, but given he is a 22-year-old that hasn’t had all that much luck in getting games he will take it.
Shortly after Patricio fared better with a super Willian free-kick that was heading for the top corner until he reached up a glove, and it looked like Chelsea would turn the screw.
But gradually Wolves regained a footing, and began to rekindle memories of testing Manchester City here in August. They were compact, and sprung forward with intensity.
Their best move of the half saw Ruben Vinagre whip a fine cross that Raul Jimenez headed down, and only an excellent tackle by Fabregas prevented Gibbs-White from having a clear finish.
Ryan Bennett delivered his own dramatic intervention minutes later, diving to block Willian as he shaped to shoot when put clear by Hazard, but Wolves had plenty to be positive about at the break.
Diogo Jota celebrates with his Wolverhampton Wanderers team-mates after scoring the goal to take them 2-1 up in the match
Chelsea’s Cesc Fabregas hides his face as they’re unable to convert a chance into a goal to get back into the match
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri watches on as his team is unable to hang on to an early lead against Wolves on Wednesday
Wolverhampton boss Nuno Espirito Santo looks on as his team are able to come back and take the lead against Chelsea
Their comeback was aided in part by the officiating. Jon Moss became enemy No 1 for a number of debatable calls against the home side, but seconds into the second half he took no action when Willy Boly looked to have taken out Alvaro Morata as he seemed certain to put the ball into an empty net.
The reprieve galvanised Wolves, who struck twice in four minutes.
Just before the hour Gibbs-White got the moment his performance deserved as he bullied Fabregas off the ball, then slipped a perfect pass in behind Christensen to set Jimenez clear. Jimenez can sometimes hesitate in front of goal but here he struck with conviction, powering the ball through Kepa Arrizabala, who it must be said should have saved.
Santo exploded, his eyes bulging up at the directors box behind him, and just as he caught his breath his team took the lead.
Moutinho dispossessed Willian with a shoulder that the Chelsea forward thought should have been punished, then fed Matt Doherty on the overlap. Doherty continued his habit for attacking effectiveness, crossing low to the back post where Jota was waiting to tap in.
Alvaro Morata was just one of a few Chelsea players who squandered chances for them to equalise the game against Wolves
Wolverhampton Wanderers players and coaches celebrate hand in hand in front of their fans after winning against Chelsea
Wolves substitute Leander Dendoncker consoles Eden Hazard after the match in which Chelsea couldn’t get back on top
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