Romelu Lukaku made the difference as Chelsea played a frustrating 2-2 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday evening.
A new era began for Chelsea on Saturday as their takeover was confirmed earlier in the day. But the first half did not point towards a new dawn at Stamford Bridge, even though the Blues dominated the proceedings while Wolverhampton Wanderers threatened on the counter.
There were a couple of instances when a Chelsea player found the back of the net, only for the goal to be ruled out as offside. Meanwhile, Rayan Ait-Nouri was guilty of spurning a chance at the other end. Chelsea finally broke the deadlock ten minutes into the second half, as Romelu Lukaku converted from the spot after Romain Saiss brought him down with a reckless tackle.
Lukaku doubled his and Chelsea’s tally two minutes later, producing a delightful right-footed finish to make it 2-0 after Christian Pulisic pounced on an error by Conor Coady. After that, Chelsea continued to dominate the proceedings, but the end product was sorely lacking in their game.
Wolves pounced on the Blues’ profligacy by pulling a goal back in the 79th minute. Francisco Trincao produced a brilliant left-footed curler after Chiquinho robbed the ball off Mateo Kovacic. The goal left Chelsea all over the place, and Wolves did not let their foot come off the pedal.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) May 7, 2022
The pressure ultimately paid off as Coady redeemed himself with a thumping header from close range, getting the two teams back on level terms with the game’s final shot. The result saw Chelsea drop points for a third successive game and potentially get dragged into the top-four battle. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Thomas Tuchel’s men.
Edouard Mendy: 6/10
Mendy made two big saves to deny Hwang-hee Chan and Pedro Neto. But the Chelsea goalkeeper could not have done anything to keep out the efforts of Francisco Trincao or Conor Coady, as the Blues’ defence and midfield sold him short.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 6/10
Azpilicueta was the only Chelsea defender who did not look impressive on Saturday. The Spaniard looked in trouble whenever Pedro Neto charged forward while losing possession cheaply on several occasions (17 times in all).
Thiago Silva: 6/10
Silva was a calming presence at the back for Chelsea whenever Wolves tried to pile on the pressure. Even when the visitors looked to take home a share of the spoils, the Brazilian defender was an immovable object. But Silva failed to cover Coady for the equaliser, taking his rating down slightly.
Antonio Rudiger: 6/10
Wolves barely troubled Rudiger in the opening three-quarters of the game, with the German central defender making several crucial clearances (three) and tackles (four). But he clashed into Mateo Kovacic in the build-up to Trincao’s goal, handing the Wolves attacker enough space to shoot.
This is what happens when you play no natural DM, where is the midfield cover? Then Kova’s defensive awareness isn’t great as he doesn’t track his man well enough which means Rudiger can’t come out to meet Trincao who scores pic.twitter.com/EbR4EbJC5m
— Johyan (@JohyanCruyff) May 7, 2022
Reece James: 7/10
James continued to produce impeccable performances from the right wing-back slot, albeit with his teammates failing to produce the required final touch. The English international sent in numerous dangerous crosses from the right flank while defending astutely against Rayan Ait-Nouri bar a few forgettable moments. But he, too, was caught napping as Chelsea dropped the points against Wolves.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek: 7/10
Loftus-Cheek got another chance to impress on Saturday, and he was solid in the middle of the park as he barely lost possession while being solid off the ball. The Englishman won nine duels while completing several important clearances (two), interceptions (two) and tackles (two). But he should have done better to stand his ground when Wolves piled on the pressure in the game’s dying ember.
Mateo Kovacic: 7/10
Kovacic was a force of nature in the middle of the park for most of the game, helping Chelsea dominate the proceedings for large parts. But he played his part in Chelsea dropping two points as he squandered possession to initiate Wolves’ counter for Trincao’s goal. Otherwise, the Croat was a solid customer.
Marcos Alonso: 6/10
Alonso’s outing lasted just one half, and he looked sub-par in the opening 45 minutes. The Spaniard linked up well with Kovacic and Christian Pulisic, but his final ball was nowhere to be seen. Wolves did not test him defensively, with Pedro Neto carrying a threat from the left flank.
Christian Pulisic: 6/10
Pulisic did well to win the ball off Ruben Neves following the mistake by Coady, but his end product was dreadful on Saturday. Apart from releasing Romelu Lukaku for the second Chelsea goal, the USMNT international’s decision making left a lot to be desired, even though he went home with a game-high four key passes.
Romelu Lukaku: 8/10
Romelu Lukaku has scored more goals than any other Chelsea players this season (14).
◉ Romelu Lukaku (14)
◉ Kai Havertz (13)
◉ Mason Mount (12)
◉ Timo Werner (11)
Back on top in just two minutes! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/e0WZeNduln
— Squawka (@Squawka) May 7, 2022
Lukaku had a game of two halves on Saturday, as his finishing left a lot to be desired in the first half. But there were some positive signs as he was getting into dangerous areas. That paid dividends after the break, as Lukaku won the penalty before converting it for the opener.
The finish for the second goal was even better, as he beat Jose Sa with his weaker foot after Pulisic sent him through on goal. Lukaku also played three key passes in the game, showing his creative side. But his efforts were almost for nothing, as Chelsea dropped two points against Wolves.
Timo Werner: 7/10
Werner can count himself unlucky for going home without anything to show for his efforts. Jose Sa denied him with two world-class saves, while he was caught offside when he put the ball into the back of the net. He faded as the game progressed but showed positive signs.
📸 – Werner opened the score but it’s ruled out after the referee spotted a foul by Werner. pic.twitter.com/yfOWmsXEWY
— 𝐀𝐅𝐂 𝐀𝐉𝐀𝐗 💎 (@TheEuropeanLad) May 7, 2022
Saul Niguez: 6/10
Saul replaced Alonso at half-time but was anonymous in the second half, as he barely posed a threat from the left flank. The Spaniard put in the hard yards off the ball, but Tuchel needed more from him in the defensive phases.
Malang Sarr: N/A
Sarr could not help Chelsea see the game out, failing to stop Chiquinho from crossing the ball towards Conor Coady for the equaliser.
Kai Havertz: N/A
A late introduction, Havertz barely got a touch on the ball, with Wolves dominating the proceedings.