Cunha hat-trick as Wolves come back to stun Chelsea

4 February 2024 0 By Total Football News
Matheus Cunha celebrates scoring for WolvesMatheus Cunha now has nine goals and six assists in 23 Premier League appearances this season

Matheus Cunha scored a hat-trick as Wolves came from behind to stun Chelsea and replace the Blues in the top half of the Premier League table.

Cole Palmer gave Mauricio Pochettino's hosts a 19th-minute lead when he calmly slotted past Jose Sa following Moises Caicedo's defence-splitting pass.

But Wolves levelled less than three minutes later when Cunha's shot took a significant deflection off Thiago Silva and wrong-footed Djordje Petrovic.

The turnaround was complete shortly before the break, courtesy of another deflected shot, as Rayan Ait-Nouri met Pedro Neto's cutback and sent the ball in off Axel Disasi.

The home supporters greeted the half-time whistle with boos but Chelsea were unable to produce a fightback of their own, instead falling two goals behind when the electric Neto beat Silva for pace and picked out Cunha for his second.

The Brazilian then completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot after being brought down by Malo Gusto, sending Petrovic the wrong way with eight minutes remaining to put the result beyond doubt before Silva headed in a late consolation.

Wolves' thoroughly deserved victory moved Gary O'Neil's side up to 10th, one point and one place above Chelsea after 23 games.

O'Neil's Wolves on the rise

With the added incentive that victory at Stamford Bridge would lift them above Chelsea, Wolves brushed off the disappointment of losing out to a 97th-minute winner in their seven-goal midweek thriller against Manchester United to reach the top half of the table for the first time under O'Neil.

Wolves had not completed a league double over Chelsea since 1974-75, nor had they managed to win at Stamford Bridge in any competition since 1979.

That they brought an end to both of those waits on Sunday, in the manner they did, was the latest evidence of the terrific job O'Neil continues to do in his first season in charge.

There was no shortage of standout performers for the visitors, for whom Neto once again starred and went close to a goal of his own when he forced his way into the penalty area but could not beat Petrovic early in the second half.

Meanwhile, in the absence of top scorer Hwang Hee-chan, Cunha has now been directly involved in 12 goals in Wolves' last 12 Premier League games - scoring seven.

After Cunha completed his treble, O'Neil, only appointed on the eve of the new season, immediately switched his attention to issuing instructions and refocusing his team.

But he could not hide his delight as he celebrated at full-time with the travelling Wolves fans, who chanted his name throughout a significant win which leaves their sights fixed on the clubs above them.

A week to forget for Chelsea

Four days after being outclassed in a 4-1 midweek defeat at leaders Liverpool, Chelsea were outfought as their 10-match unbeaten home run in all competitions was brought to a painful end.

While there is an acceptance that they are in the early phases of a long-term project under Pochettino, Sunday's meeting with a Wolves side keen to replace them in the top half was an important one as the hosts sought a positive response.

They made a promising start as Palmer scored his 10th goal in 20 league appearances during an outstanding first season at the club - but it was far from enough.

Hesitant Chelsea passing had already presented Neto and Cunha with early opportunities before the Blues went on to surrender their first-half advantage.

They struggled to create opportunities when chasing the game - a late flurry of chances when already three goals down aside - with Christopher Nkunku in particular starved of service in only his second league start.

The Blues have the same points tally as they did at this stage last season under Graham Potter, who was sacked six games later.

While Pochettino does not currently appear to find himself under the same pressure, the Chelsea fans were clear at full-time that this performance was not acceptable.

Player of the match

Matheus CunhaMatheus Cunha

with an average of 8.68

Chelsea

  1. Squad number20Player namePalmer

    Average rating

    5.05

  2. Squad number28Player namePetrovic

    Average rating

    4.26

  3. Squad number6Player nameThiago Silva

    Average rating

    4.25

  4. Squad number23Player nameGallagher

    Average rating

    4.02

  5. Squad number18Player nameNkunku

    Average rating

    3.94

  6. Squad number21Player nameChilwell

    Average rating

    3.61

  7. Squad number27Player nameGusto

    Average rating

    3.43

  8. Squad number8Player nameFernández

    Average rating

    3.40

  9. Squad number42Player nameGilchrist

    Average rating

    3.36

  10. Squad number2Player nameDisasi

    Average rating

    3.33

  11. Squad number7Player nameSterling

    Average rating

    3.27

  12. Squad number25Player nameCaicedo

    Average rating

    3.13

  13. Squad number17Player nameChukwuemeka

    Average rating

    2.93

  14. Squad number10Player nameMudryk

    Average rating

    2.82

  15. Squad number15Player nameJackson

    Average rating

    2.66

  16. Squad number5Player nameBadiashile

    Average rating

    2.57

Wolverhampton Wanderers

  1. Squad number12Player nameMatheus Cunha

    Average rating

    8.68

  2. Squad number7Player namePedro Neto

    Average rating

    8.45

  3. Squad number8Player nameJoão Gomes

    Average rating

    8.02

  4. Squad number15Player nameDawson

    Average rating

    7.99

  5. Squad number20Player nameDoyle

    Average rating

    7.99

  6. Squad number3Player nameAït-Nouri

    Average rating

    7.97

  7. Squad number5Player nameLemina

    Average rating

    7.88

  8. Squad number23Player nameKilman

    Average rating

    7.84

  9. Squad number22Player nameNélson Semedo

    Average rating

    7.83

  10. Squad number21Player nameSarabia

    Average rating

    7.77

  11. Squad number17Player nameBueno

    Average rating

    7.72

  12. Squad number24Player nameToti

    Average rating

    7.71

  13. Squad number27Player nameBellegarde

    Average rating

    7.71

  14. Squad number2Player nameDoherty

    Average rating

    7.70

  15. Squad number1Player nameJosé Sá

    Average rating

    7.57

Line-ups

Chelsea

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 28Petrovic
  • 27GustoBooked at 31minsSubstituted forGilchristat 81'minutes
  • 2Disasi
  • 6Thiago Silva
  • 21ChilwellBooked at 78minsSubstituted forBadiashileat 81'minutes
  • 25CaicedoBooked at 56minsSubstituted forJacksonat 63'minutes
  • 8Fernández
  • 20Palmer
  • 23Gallagher
  • 7SterlingSubstituted forMudrykat 72'minutes
  • 18NkunkuSubstituted forChukwuemekaat 72'minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Badiashile
  • 10Mudryk
  • 11Madueke
  • 13Bettinelli
  • 15Jackson
  • 17Chukwuemeka
  • 31Casadei
  • 42Gilchrist
  • 47Bergström

Wolves

Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 1
  • 23Kilman
  • 15Dawson
  • 24Gomes
  • 22Nélson SemedoBooked at 39mins
  • 5Lemina
  • 8João GomesSubstituted forDohertyat 90'minutes
  • 3Aït-NouriSubstituted forBuenoat 87'minutes
  • 21SarabiaSubstituted forDoyleat 72'minutes
  • 12Matheus Cunha
  • 7NetoBooked at 41minsSubstituted forBellegardeat 72'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Doherty
  • 4Bueno
  • 17Bueno
  • 20Doyle
  • 25Bentley
  • 27Bellegarde
  • 42Griffiths
  • 62Chirewa
  • 63Fraser
Referee:
Tim Robinson
Attendance:
39,628

Match Stats

Live Text

Match ends, Chelsea 2, Wolverhampton Wanderers 4.

Second Half ends, Chelsea 2, Wolverhampton Wanderers 4.


This news item was provided by the BBC Sport website - the original link is: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/68120824