Wolves 2-1 Chelsea Match Report

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Pedro Neto scored a last-minute winner to give Wolves a spectacular win over Chelsea, ending their barren run of over 200 minutes without a goal.

After a very even first half, Wolves fell behind early on in the second as Olivier Giroud saw his powerful volley squeeze past Rui Patricio.

They fought back through Daniel Podence as he saw a superb individual effort deflect off Reece James past Edouard Mendy. Wolves then snatched the win in the last minute as Pedro Neto ran through on the counter-attack and smashed his effort into the far bottom corner.

 

Wolves 2-1 Chelsea Match Report

Wolves came into the game under fire after two very disappointing defeats against Liverpool and Aston Villa, and were looking to try and stop the rut of average performances. In keeping with their fragility in conceding chances, Nuno reverted to a back five.

Frank Lampard’s Chelsea had been in superb form but having lost to Everton in their last game, Wolves would’ve been looking at their potential weaknesses.

The first half was fitting of two teams playing with a dip in form, as neither could really break down the other. Both sides created very little in the way of clear-cut chances, however, Chelsea dominated possession, with five of the top six players for touches in the first half being from the Blues.

Olivier Giroud and Kurt Zouma looked dangerous from set-pieces whilst Wolves had sparked in Podence and Neto. The two wingers and Fabio Silva combined well at points, but only tested Mendy once.

Corners were proving to be Chelsea’s main source of threat as Zouma came close on a number of occasions, and they almost took the lead through one when he saw a powerful header smash of the underside of the bar and mishit on the rebound by Giroud.

Coming into the second half it was obvious that both managers had demanded more energy from their sides as both teams came out of the blocks much faster.

It was the away side who took the lead on 50 minutes and Giroud proved his threat worthy of attention as his powerful half volley squeezed through the normally reliable Patricio. The goal was delayed due to the technology but was eventually given and Wolves knew they had a big fightback on their hands.

They rose to the challenge in impressive fashion, the pace of their play quickened, and the wingers became more involved. They even thought they’d equalised a few minutes later as Fabio Silva converted smartly – only to see his effort disallowed for offside.

Adama Traore came on for Silva to add some extra pace in attack, and despite and early injury scare, he produced some moments of direction and attacking flair. The best chance he created fell to Nelson Semedo who ran onto his pass through the right-hand channel but chose to pass the ball across goal instead of taking the shot himself from only 8 yards out.

Wolves’ pressure eventually paid off as Daniel Podence produced a moment of magic, taking down a pass from Premier League debutant Owen Otasowie and smashing a shot in at the near post after some wonderful to keep away from three defenders. The momentum was well and truly with the pack.

Timo Werner and Kai Havertz failed to really get into the game as Ruben Neves and Otasowie began to run the midfield and the defence became as resilient as they have been for most of the season. The game reverted to the spectacle we witnessed in the first half as both sides became cagey and failed to sustain any period of possession.

Wolves thought they’d won a penalty when Neto went down under pressure by Reece James but, like the Liverpool game, VAR replays showed that the Portuguese winger dived, and the decision was reversed.

Five minutes were added at the end of the game as Chelsea looked to push for a winner, but it was the home side who would emerge victorious. Romain Saiss cleared a corner to substitute Vitinha, who slotted a pass-through for Neto and he drove into the Chelsea penalty area from the left before firing a bullet shot into the far corner past the huge frame of Mendy.

They could’ve even scored again through Neto who again drove into the area, this time from the right, but saw his effort fly just wide of the far post. As the full-time whistle went the ecstasy was clear to see from the players, who fully deserved the change in fortune.

 

‘Men’ of the Match – Daniel Podence and Pedro Neto

I’m more than happy to bend the rules slightly for these two. They were a constant threat throughout the match and fully deserved the goals they both got. Every week we run out of superlatives o describe them but both strikes were of the highest quality – if that’s Mohamed Salah we see them all over our timelines.

If we can become more attacking and make better use of them, they could become absolute stars in the Premier League. In a season where Wolves have lost Diogo Jota and Adama Traore has lost his form, these two have really stepped up to change games.

 

Final Thoughts

A thoroughly deserved win, we were resolute in defence, whilst we didn’t attack as much as we might’ve liked it was the perfect tactical choice from Nuno and the counter-attacks paid off big time.

If we can be this potent in front of goal more often then we could easily push further up the table. It was disappointing to see Fabio Silva come off but he did probably have his weakest performance so far.

All in all, not a bad way to spend your Tuesday night.

Tom Parker is part of the Talking Wolves editorial team – you can follow him on Twitter here.