Wolves 2 (Jimenez 59, Jota 63) Chelsea 1 (Loftus-Cheek 18)
A stunning second-half fightback saw Wolves defeat Chelsea and lift the lid off Molineux in the process. Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota fired a goal each within four minutes at the South Bank end to drag Wolves back to winning ways in spectacular fashion.
On the back of a six-game winless run, Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s deflected effort could have seen Wolves heads drop, but instead Nuno Espirito Santo’s half-time words had the desired effect and the hosts came out fighting, with a determination to regain momentum.
The influential Morgan Gibbs-White, on his full Premier League debut, teed up Raul Jimenez to fire underneath Kepa Arrizabalaga and spark renewed belief within Molineux. Then, a matter of minutes later, the game had flipped as Matt Doherty squared for Jota to smash home his first goal of the season to spark delirium on the terraces.
Prior to the drama, in Eden Hazard, Chelsea could boast one of the division’s best attacking threats, but his tame effort at Rui Patricio early on was not typical of the Belgian. Instead, the intensity was coming from the home side, particularly Gibbs-White on his first Premier League start.
Wolves had looked likely, but had the stuffing knocked out of them then the visitors took a fortuitous lead. Loftus-Cheek’s speculative effort had Patricio on course for a routine save, but Conor Coady’s attempted headed clearance wrong-footed the goalkeeper and saw the ball nestle into the corner.
The goal settled Chelsea and their confidence showed when Willian arrowed a free-kick towards the top corner, only for Patricio to fly through the air and tip over the crossbar. The Brazilian was a continued threat during the first-half and was denied a certain goal when Ryan Bennett threw his body in the way to produce a fine tackle.
The half didn’t pass without nervy moments for the visitors, however. Bennett’s long throw ins were proving particularly problematic, but despite some nervy moments, Chelsea dealt with everything asked of them as the half drew to a close.
Half-time: Wolves 0 Chelsea 1
It took Chelsea little time to get back in their groove after the interval and when Hazard fired a dangerous cross in front of Patricio’s goal, a sliding Alvaro Morata was just inches from making it 2-0. Following that close call, both Willian and N’Golo Kante tried their luck from range with little reward.
And they were made to pay just minutes later. Gibbs-White was the architect of the equaliser, charging through the heart of the Chelsea team and laying in Jimenez, who was composed to fire a powerful effort underneath Kepa Arrizabalaga and take the roof off the South Bank.
Tails were up and the initiative was there for the taking, and Wolves fully grasped it just four minutes later. Gibbs-White was again involved, as was Joao Moutinho, who took his time to lay in Doherty – it was then up to the Irishman, who rolled a perfect cross to Jota at the back post, who finished with aplomb. Absolute pandemonium.
A terrific second half performance had Molineux rocking and Romain Saiss’ header could have made it three, but his angles were wrong. At the other end, Hazard remained a danger and fired a swerving effort which flew narrowly over the bar.
Fresh legs were the order of the day and Helder Costa replaced the impressive Gibbs-White, who received a warm ovation, while Leander Dendoncker was then on for his Premier League debut for Jimenez.
In fairness, there were few heart in mouth moments for the hosts, particularly once Cesc Fabregas had cleared the crossbar from range. Instead Wolves actually looked more of a threat on the break, but were more than happy to hear the full time whistle and return to winning ways on home soil.
Full-time: Wolves 2 Chelsea 1
Wolves: Patricio, Doherty, Bennett, Coady, Boly, Vinagre, Saiss, Moutinho, Gibbs-White (Costa 72), Jota (Cavaleiro 88), Jimenez (Dendoncker 81).
Unused subs: Ruddy, Hause, Traore, Bonatini.
Chelsea: Arrizabalaga, Alonso, Christensen, Rudiger, Azpilicueta, Fabregas, Kante (Kovacic 77), Loftus-Cheek, Willian (Pedro 65), Hazard, Morata (Giroud 65).
Unused subs: Caballero, Luiz, Zappacosta, Jorginho.