Wolves 2-1 Chelsea: Hosts condemn wasteful Chelsea to defeat

24 December 2023 0 By Total Football News
Mario LeminaMario Lemina celebrated his third goal of the season for Wolves

Mauricio Pochettino admits his Chelsea team need to be more clinical after Wolves condemned them to an an eighth Premier League defeat of a tepid campaign.

Second-half goals from Mario Lemina and Matt Doherty secured victory for the hosts, who recorded successive league wins against Chelsea for the first time in nearly half a century.

Substitute Christopher Nkunku headed home in injury time on his Premier League debut but it was not enough to salvage a point for the Blues, who lost a fourth consecutive away league game for the first time since December 2000.

This was another day when Chelsea's failings in attack came back to haunt them. They have now have failed to convert 36 big chances in the league this season - the most of any team.

Pochettino said: "We feel very disappointed because I think we deserve much more. This competition wounds you when you are not clinical enough.

"We created chances, that is why it is so disappointing. We conceded after a few corners and it was really difficult.

"We have players playing for the first time in the league, they need to adapt. It is confidence and about quality. We need to score if we want to win the games."

Nicolas Jackson's contribution was so underwhelming his exit 10 minutes from time was cheered by the Chelsea fans.

The result leaves the club 10th, seven points off qualification for the Europa Conference League, which, even at this stage, looks the best the Londoners can hope for.

No side has lost more Premier League matches in 2023 than Chelsea (19), while only Almeria (24), Werder Bremen (20) and Empoli (20) have lost more games than the Blues across the big five European leagues this calendar year.

Wolves are now level on points with Pochettino's men after a battling display, although the victory came at a price as experienced defender Craig Dawson limped off during the second half with what appeared to be a serious injury.

Nkunku provides some hope for Chelsea

If Chelsea are to make up their deficit on the Premier League's contenders for European places over the second half of the season, they need to get their attack firing.

France international Nkunku's first goal showed what he can deliver, guiding Raheem Sterling's deep cross into the corner of the net after being afforded only minimal space by Wolves skipper Max Kilman.

Pochettino has cautioned about expecting too much from Nkunku, 26, who came on as a second-half substitute after recovering from a knee injury sustained in pre-season.

However, the former RB Leipzig man has the potential to be a game-changer for the Blues after their struggles over the first half of the campaign, which were clearly on display in the first half at Wolves.

Chelsea should have gone in ahead at the break, but first Jackson allowed Sterling's astute far-post chip to roll under his foot when the move was begging for a control and first-time finish.

Then Sterling, who had responded to the first failed effort with a spin of obvious frustration, raced through on the Wolves goal after nicking the ball off Joao Gomes 40 yards out, but fired straight at Jose Sa.

In the second period, by which time Chelsea had fallen behind, Jackson found himself with a clear sight of goal but could not sort his feet out and lost his balance before he could manage a shot.

Jackson now has more yellow cards than Premier League goals and the reception he received from his own fans as he left the field will not do much for his confidence.

Pochettino, said: "We are going to lose him for one month to AFCON. If we compare Jackson with different players, he has scored goals. We cannot blame him, it is the team. He is young and expectation is massive at Chelsea.

"The quality players are here, they wouldn't be at Chelsea otherwise. It is about how you mix these players together. It takes time to work. Nkunku needs time for everyone to see his best."

Cole Palmer will not be available for the 27 December encounter with Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge after he picked up his fifth booking for needlessly kicking the ball away, with Sterling also suspended.

Wonderful Wolves

Wolves have their own striking concerns, which manager Gary O'Neil will try to address in next month's transfer window.

It is understood he is willing to let £35m signing Fabio Silva and Sasa Kalajdzic leave Molineux to create space for new arrivals.

Long-serving full-back Jonny Otto is also expected to depart following a major fall-out behind the scenes.

Yet, given the late stage at which he replaced Julen Lopetegui, amid disgruntlement with the Wolves' hierarchy, O'Neil can be delighted with the way his players have responded - and the backing he has received from the stands.

A packed Molineux for the first Christmas Eve Premier League fixture since 1995 was in a frenzy by the final whistle, after Lemina had headed home a 51st-minute opener.

They thought victory had been assured in added time when Doherty pounced on the loose ball after Axel Disasi had merely stopped rather than cleared Hwang Hee-chan's cross to double the lead.

Wolves now have an identical win, draw, loss record to Chelsea and only trail the Londoners on goal difference. Their assessment of that situation will be far more positive than their opponents.

Player of the match

LeminaMario Lemina

with an average of 8.29

Wolverhampton Wanderers

  1. Squad number5Player nameLemina

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  2. Squad number2Player nameDoherty

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  3. Squad number8Player nameJoão Gomes

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  4. Squad number15Player nameDawson

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  5. Squad number11Player nameHwang Hee-chan

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  6. Squad number24Player nameToti Gomes

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  7. Squad number4Player nameBueno

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  8. Squad number22Player nameNélson Semedo

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  9. Squad number20Player nameDoyle

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  10. Squad number17Player nameBueno

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  11. Squad number21Player nameSarabia

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  12. Squad number23Player nameKilman

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  13. Squad number12Player nameMatheus Cunha

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  14. Squad number3Player nameAït-Nouri

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  15. Squad number1Player nameJosé Sá

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  1. Squad number18Player nameNkunku

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  2. Squad number28Player namePetrovic

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  3. Squad number6Player nameThiago Silva

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  4. Squad number23Player nameGallagher

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  5. Squad number27Player nameGusto

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  6. Squad number26Player nameColwill

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  7. Squad number11Player nameMadueke

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  8. Squad number16Player nameUgochukwu

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  9. Squad number15Player nameJackson

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  10. Squad number29Player nameMaatsen

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  11. Squad number2Player nameDisasi

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  12. Squad number7Player nameSterling

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  13. Squad number10Player nameMudryk

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  14. Squad number5Player nameBadiashile

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  15. Squad number19Player nameBroja

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  16. Squad number20Player namePalmer

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Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 1
  • 23Kilman
  • 15DawsonSubstituted forBuenoat 70'minutes
  • 24Gomes
  • 22Nélson Semedo
  • 5LeminaBooked at 27mins
  • 8João Gomes
  • 3Aït-NouriSubstituted forBuenoat 87'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 11Hwang Hee-chan
  • 21SarabiaSubstituted forDoyleat 75'minutes
  • 12Matheus CunhaBooked at 64minsSubstituted forDohertyat 86'minutes


  • 2Doherty
  • 4Bueno
  • 17Bueno
  • 18Kalajdzic
  • 20Doyle
  • 25Bentley
  • 45Barnett
  • 62Chirewa
  • 79Hesketh


Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 28Petrovic
  • 27GustoBooked at 60minsSubstituted forBadiashileat 80'minutes
  • 2Disasi
  • 6Thiago Silva
  • 26ColwillSubstituted forMaatsenat 79'minutes
  • 16UgochukwuSubstituted forNkunkuat 59'minutes
  • 23GallagherBooked at 30mins
  • 20PalmerBooked at 56mins
  • 15JacksonBooked at 62minsSubstituted forMaduekeat 80'minutes
  • 7SterlingBooked at 90mins
  • 19BrojaSubstituted forMudrykat 59'minutes


  • 5Badiashile
  • 10Mudryk
  • 11Madueke
  • 13Bettinelli
  • 18Nkunku
  • 29Maatsen
  • 45Lavia
  • 47Bergström
  • 52Matos
David Coote

Match Stats

Live Text

Match ends, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2, Chelsea 1.

Second Half ends, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2, Chelsea 1.

This news item was provided by the BBC Sport - Football website - the original link is: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/67740568?at_medium=RSS&at_campaign=KARANGA