Chelsea were left frustrated by Wolves on Saturday afternoon as they suffered a 1-0 Premier League defeat at Molineux.
A quiet first half saw little created by way of chances, but the game was sparked into life in the 31st minute when Wolves midfielder Matheus Nunes struck a volley across the goal perfectly to leave Kepa Arrizabalaga with no chance to make the save.
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Frank Lampard’s side looked reinvigorated after the restart with more intensity in their attacking play, and they showed signs that the pendulum was beginning to swing momentum back into their favour. Raheem Sterling and Conor Gallagher linked up well after the hour mark with a chance that eventually fell to the midfielder, only for his effort to be blocked.
Chelsea’s next chance didn’t come until late on when Reece James cut back for substitute Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang, but Craig Dawson anticipated the play well to intervene while soft claims for a penalty after Christian Pulisic went down were dismissed by the referee.
Ben Chilwell‘s skied effort in the 90th minute summed up the day for the Blues, who were blunt in attack overall.
A strong performance from Kalidou Koulibaly saw him anticipate play well in the back four, while Enzo Fernandez and James also looked to benefit from the system.
Chelsea simply didn’t do enough to trouble the goalkeeper at Molineux despite having some promising spells with their build up. Much of that was down to a strong defensive performance from the home side.
Manager rating out of 10
5 — The return of Frank Lampard as interim manager saw him deploy a 4-3-3 at Molineux. After a sluggish second half, there was a clear improvement in performance after the break, with Lampard also decisive with his substitutions, but there is work to be done as he looks to guide his side through to the end of the season.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Kepa Arrizabalaga, 6 – The Chelsea goalkeeper didn’t have too much to do across the 90 minutes, with the Matheus Nunes volley one that every goalkeeper would have had struggled to get close to.
DF Marc Cucurella, 6 – Instinctive with his decisions in attacking areas to get balls into the box, but struggled to find his intended target. Booked early on in the second half for a dangerous challenge, and involved again moments later when stopping a Wolves counter-attack.
DF Kalidou Koulibaly, 7 – An assured performance from the Senegal international who was quick to clear the danger in a no-nonsense display. Looked comfortable in the two-man pairing with Wesley Fofana.
DF Wesley Fofana, 6 – Bright in the second half when dribbling with the ball out of the defence, helping Chelsea ease past the first block of their opponent’s press before he often made the right decision with his pass. A block in the first half diverted a shot from outside of the box that could have troubled the goalkeeper.
DF Reece James, 7 – Won his battle against Daniel Podence on his flank despite some tricky footwork from the winger. Strong when challenging for possession and also showed confidence when on the ball to transition it forwards. One of Chelsea’s most creative players on the day.
MF Enzo Fernandez 6, – The majority of Chelsea’s best attacking spells came through Fernandez, who the Blues utilised to help break through into the final third. Operating from the number six position in Frank Lampard’s midfield three, Fernandez had plenty of the ball and demonstrated his range of passing.
MF Mateo Kovacic 5, – A mixed display from Kovacic who kept things ticking in midfield as well as playing forwards at the right times, though he could have offered more in defensive transitions.
MF Conor Gallagher, 5 – Gallagher constantly looked to run into gaps between the Wolves defence and helped create space for his side, but gave away possession in moments where he could have been more patient. Failed to test the goalkeeper with a chance after the hour mark.
FW Raheem Sterling, 4 – The 28-year-old turned over possession too much on the right flank where he was rarely given the opportunity to run at defenders directly. Showed some moments of positive build up play with Conor Gallagher.
FW Joao Felix, 5 – Bright in possession and encouraged his side to play directly, but didn’t threaten the goalkeeper enough with his only efforts coming from outside of the box. Kept the defence honest throughout the match with runs in behind.
FW Kai Havertz 4, – An anonymous display from Kai Havertz, who wasn’t able to find enough space to have an impact on the game. Replaced just after the hour mark by Pulisic.
Christian Pulisic, 6 – The USMNT star looked to come inside from the flank to make a difference from central areas, but it was often difficult for him to find enough space to operate in.
Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang, 6 – Created a half-chance early on with positive movement inside the box, with a difficult header that was challenged well by Nelson Semedo.
Mykhailo Mudryk, 6 – Pressed well from the front when introduced to help force a turnover for his side, but didn’t get a chance to use his pace.
Ben Chilwell, 6 – Introduced for Marc Cucurella in the 68th minute, who was on a booking after an earlier challenge. Trevoh Chalobah (Fofana, 80″) N/R – On for Wesley Fofana in the final spell of the match.