Wolves 1 (Nunes 32) Chelsea 0
Matheus Nunes’ stunning first goal for the club arrived at the perfect moment, inspiring Wolves to three invaluable points over Chelsea in the battle against the Premier League drop.
The Portuguese, positioned just inside the corner of the penalty area, allowed the ball to bounce and sit up nicely, before rifling into the top corner just after the half-hour mark. That strike proved the stringboard for a brilliant Wolves performance, full of guts and determination, which earned a first win in four at the ideal time.
April has heighted the importance in Wolves fixtures, and Julen Lopetegui will have taken heart from his side’s opening at Molineux. Facing Frank Lampard for the second time as Wolves head coach, the Spaniard saw his side compete well and force the first save from Kepa Arrizabalaga as Toti’s header was comfortably collected.
Wolves, with both Diego Costa and Matheus Cunha up front, were causing problems for their visitors, who were grateful to see Mario Lemina’s side-footed effort deflected behind, before the hosts took the lead soon after.
Daniel Podence, back in the 11 after his goal last week, floated inside and clipped in a pass which was flicked on by Costa and headed clear by Kalidou Koulibaly, but only as far as Nunes, who from just inside the corner of the penalty area, allowed the ball to bounce, before arrowing the sweetest of connections into the top corner in stunning fashion, beyond the dive of Arrizabalaga.
The Portuguese’s brilliance had lit up Molineux, and Wolves supporters were almost celebrating in the sun again soon after when Podence clipped Costa through against his former club, but Arrizabalaga made himself big to save and the Blues were able to clear the danger.
It took the visitors 42 minutes to call his opposite number Jose Sa into action when he drilled a strike straight at the goalkeeper, who also did well to hold a low ball from the compatriot soon after, with Kai Havertz ready to tap home.
Half-time | Wolves 1-0 Chelsea
The second half started with Chelsea dominance, but with Sa remaining untested. Despite the visitors having more of the ball, it was Lopetegui’s men who should have added to their lead in the first 15 minutes, as two counter attacks, the first a two versus one situation, failed to material following poor passes by Cunha and Costa.
The former Chelsea man was withdrawn soon after, but Cunha remained on the pitch to shoot at Arrizabalaga and fire over, with Wolves searching for the crucial second goal. Thankfully for the hosts, Sa continued to serve as a spectator at this point, happily watching Reece James’ free-kick soar over the crossbar.
As the game wore on, battling was the order of the day, and that’s what the old gold did in abundance. Fresh legs reenergised the 11, with the returning Hee Chan Hwang a thorn down the side when pressing, regaining possession and bringing others into play.
Despite their work, Molineux still felt aggrieved as decisions went harshly, they felt, against the old gold, however that simply aided the atmosphere. A moody Molineux booed and jeered its way to Wolves getting their big win, not after a hairy moment when Ben Chilwell’s delivery was passed up, but as the Chelsea full-back went to ground easily in the fifth minute of added time, and Peter Banked gave Wolves the decision, the points were confirmed as old gold.
Full-time | Wolves 1-0 Chelsea
Wolves | Sa, Semedo, Dawson, Kilman, Toti, Lemina (Adama 74), Gomes, Nunes (Collins 90), Podence (Moutinho 63), Cunha (Sarabia 74), Costa (Hwang 63).
Unused subs | Bentley, Bueno, Hodge, Neto.
Chelsea | Arrizabalaga, James, Fofana (Chalobah 80), Koulibaly, Cucurella (Chilwell 68), Fernandez, Kovacic, Gallagher, Sterling (Mudryk 68), Felix (Aubameyang 67), Havertz (Pulisic 60).
Unused subs | Mendy, Badiashile, Loftus-Cheek, Zakaria.