Eden Hazard’s injury time equaliser broke Wolves hearts and denied them a sensational Premier League double over the Londoners. Raul Jimenez thought he’d secured Wolves a big three points when linking up with Diogo Jota before bundling his side into the lead, but it was enough for only a point.
After a first half of very few incidents, one break after the interval was all it took to put Wolves in front, as Jota and Jimenez passed their way up the pitch, with the Portuguese rolling in his strike partner, who forced the ball over the line via the aid of a deflection to send the Stamford Bridge away end into raptures.
Rui Patricio, as expected, had to be at his best and, once Wolves had the lead, he produced big saves to deny Gonzalo Higuain and Pedro, but his efforts proved only enough for a point, as Hazard found a yard of space and rifled an unstoppable drive into the bottom corner to deny Wolves.
The opening 15 minutes provided little in the way of chances, with Chelsea’s Pedro not connecting with his ambitious volley to sum up a quiet opening. The first shot on goal fell to the hosts, who’d enjoyed the lion’s share of the ball early on, and Higuain’s effort at Patricio left the goalkeeper taking no chances, as he pushed behind for a corner.
The Argentine striker has a big reputation in the game and is trying to enhance his reputation in the Premier League, but he’ll have wanted to do better when heading Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross wide. As for Wolves, they were remaining organised and in shape, but the one opportunity they had to break in the first period, Jota handled Ruben Neves’ fine ball to halt play.
When Michael Oliver blew the whistle for half-time, he concluded 45 minutes of very little action, with one shot on target between the two teams, who had defences on top and organisation at its peak. It, unsurprisingly, finished goalless at the break.
Half-time: Chelsea 0-0 Wolves
The entertainment had to improve after the break and once Hazard’s mazy run was halted by Matt Doherty on the edge of the box, David Luiz’s free-kick was blocked behind for a corner.
However, as we’ve seen so much this season, Wolves have an ability to turn it on like a switch, which proved the case for the opening goal. Willy Boly’s clearance was taken under Neves’ spell and once he fed the front two, they did the rest, with Jota and Jimenez exchanging passed into the Chelsea box and the Portuguese feeding the Mexican, whose effort took a nick before trickling over the line.
Shocked at falling behind, Chelsea responded and Patricio needed to get down low to deny Higuain, before he tipped over a long-range effort from Pedro. The latter incident forced a corner, which took a touch off Jimenez, but Higuain couldn’t turn in at the back post.
Set pieces were aplenty as the game wore on, but Patricio and his defence were dealing with every question asked of him. With nine minutes remaining Morgan Gibbs-White took the place of Jota, who’d linked up impressively with Jimenez once again.
Willian was now on for the hosts and his curling effort from the edge of the box forced a fine, full-length save by Patricio, before Adama Traore replaced Jimenez for the last few minutes. Chelsea were piling on the pressure during the closing stages and Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s effort deflected wide as the board for added time went up.
However, Wolves weren’t able to hold on and it took a moment of quality from Hazard to ensure that was the case. The Belgian manoeuvred an opening and fired a powerful drive into the bottom corner, out of Patricio’s reach.
Full-time: Chelsea 1 Wolves 1
Chelsea: Arrizabalaga, Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Emerson, Jorginho (Willian 72), Kante, Kovacic (Loftus-Cheek 57), Pedro (Hudson-Odoi 61), Hazard, Higuain.
Unused subs: Caballero, Christensen, Barkley, Giroud.
Wolves: Patricio, Doherty, Saiss, Coady, Boly, Jonny, Dendoncker, Neves, Moutinho, Jota (Gibbs-White 82), Jimenez (Traore 88).
Unused subs: Ruddy, Kilman, Costa, Cavaleiro.