Eden Hazard struck a long-range curler deep into the game to rescue a point for Chelsea, who held Wolves to a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
The first half was a sordid affair, with Wolves prepared to sit back and absorb the pressure created by the hosts, looking to play on the counter. The visitors’ game plan worked to a great effect, with Chelsea struggling to create clear-cut goalscoring opportunities, although Nuno Espirito Santo’s men could not even muster up a touch in the opposition box.
At the start of the second half, Chelsea dominated possession again. But, against the run of play, Wolves would go on to grab the lead, leaving the Stamford Bridge faithfuls shell shocked. At the end of what was his side’s first big move, Raul Jimenez broke the deadlock after being set up by Diogo Jota.
Wolves though, would not come close to scoring another goal, with Chelsea dominating the proceedings. However, the Blues were failing to find the finishing touches to complete dangerous moves, which spiked up the sense of uneasiness at the Bridge until deep into injury time.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) March 10, 2019
With time running out, Eden Hazard took matters into his own hands, unleashing a sumptuous curling effort from 25 yards out to bring th two teams back on level terms. In the end, Chelsea and Wolves shared the spoils, with the Blues spurning a chance to climb up the table. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Maurizio Sarri’s men.
Kepa Arrizabalaga: 6/10
A weird afternoon for Kepa, who had absolutely nothing to do all game long before and after picking the ball from his net in the 56th minute. Cannot really be blamed for the goal Chelsea conceded as he was well placed to stop Raul Jimenez’s effort, only to see the ball being deflected by Cesar Azpilicueta.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 6/10
With Chelsea dominating the proceedings, Azpilicueta was a constant outlet down the right flank, but his deliveries did not reach the intended target on most occasions. Defensively, the Spaniard was near flawless, and was not one of those culpable for Wolves’ goal, as he made a superb sprint to each reach a position to block Jimenez. Unlucky to have thus, seen the ball being deflected off him.
Antonio Rudiger: 5/10
For much of the game, Rudiger was diligent in his defensive duties against the threat of the nippy Diogo Jota. But, at the moment when he needed to provide a solid presence outside his box, the German was caught flat footed, instead of closing Jota down.
David Luiz: 4/10
Luiz is a player who often leaves Chelsea fans mystified with his inconsistent performances and on Sunday, they saw the bad side of him. The Brazilian’s trademark cross-field passes came to nothing and he was the primary culprit for the goal his side conceded, as he was too casual in backing up to deny the visitors their goal.
Emerson Palmieri: 6/10
The left-back shuffling continued on Sunday, with Emerson starting ahead of Marcos Alonso. But, the former AS Roma defender could not affect the proceedings in the final third. His crosses should have created a bigger threat, especially with Gonzalo Higuain providing a big presence inside the box.
N’Golo Kante: 7/10
As is often the case, Kante was a busy customer in midfield, either while pressing or making quality passes to his teammates. In fact, Pedro (3) was the only player who made more key passes than him (2) in the entire game. But, one area he needs to continue addressing is his shooting, as he continues to find himself in dangerous positions in and around the opposition box.
A game of two halves for Jorginho, who started the game well and looked dangerous with his first-time passes, particularly the one that set Gonzalo Higuain up for Chelsea’s only chance of the first half. But, the Italian international quickly faded once Wolves grabbed the lead and was rightly taken off for Willian, who ultimately provided the assist to Hazard for the equaliser.
Mateo Kovacic: 5/10
Like Jorginho, Kovacic began strongly, but he tailed off just as quickly instead of waiting for the first half to get over. While he was neat and tidy in possession, the Croat almost always chose the easier option to pass the ball square instead of taking a chance against a disciplined Wolves rearguard. Replaced by Ruben Loftus-Cheek at the hour mark.
For the longest time, Pedro was the most dangerous outlet for Chelsea, linking up smartly with both Hazard and Higuain to create the spaces where there wasn’t any to begin with. Played the most key passes in the game as well, but in the end it came to nothing. Replaced by Callum Hudson-Odoi, with Chelsea desperately in search of an equaliser.
Gonzalo Higuain: 5/10
An underwhelming display by the on-loan striker, who had Chelsea’s two best chances coming his way before Hazard equalised. While he linked up well with Pedro, the Argentine’s hold-up play left a lot to be desired at times – he even conceded possession in a dangerous area once in the first half. Needs to do better than what he has been so far.
Eden Hazard: 7.5/10
The running theme of the season for Chelsea has been their over dependence on Hazard. And, they needed their talisman to bail them out for the umpteenth time on Sunday. All throughout the match, the Belgian looked like the biggest threat for the hosts.
Eden Hazard in prem this season :
• 24 G/A ( 1st )
• G/A every 94 mins ( 4th )
• 11 MOTMs ( 1st )
• 20 points won with G/A ( 1st )
• 91 Successful take ons ( 1st )
• 70 chances created from open play ( 1st )
Best in the league and always will be until he leaves it. pic.twitter.com/Qx7PT3f3dN
— Pys (@CFCPys) March 10, 2019
And, when the chances were starting to run out, it was Hazard who raised his hand, put his head down and unleashed an unstoppable curler from just outside the box to rescue a point for his side. Chelsea have never lost a single home league game in which Hazard has scored, a streak that continued against Wolves.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek: 6/10
It was quite surprising that Loftus-Cheek was Chelsea’s first substitution. But, the Englishman made the most of the chance handed to him by Sarri, using his imposing presence to good effect. Created a couple of chances for his side and one has to wonder, what more does he have to do to become a regular.
Callum Hudson-Odoi: 6/10
Hudson-Odoi looked bright and sprightly upon being introduced in place of Pedro, but he ought to have done better with his crosses, which ended up being over-hit. Still, should be getting more starts.
A dangerous outlet for the Blues immediately after coming on, Willian sent the ball into threatening areas with a couple of corners before laying the ball off for Hazard to score the equaliser.