Eden Hazard’s late stunner for Chelsea salvages point against Wolves

first_img 28 Azpilicueta Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action Read more 10 Helder Costa 18 Jota His own team had scored with their first clear-cut chance, even if there had been earlier hints – Rúben Neves’s arced pass which was handled by Diogo Jota, and the striker’s heavy touch to Raúl Jiménez – that they might prosper on the break. As it was, a hooked clearance from Willy Boly served to spin Chelsea on their heels. Jota and Jiménez exchanged passes with opponents flustered in full-scale retreat and César Azpilicueta’s dart across on the cover succeeded only in flicking Jiménez’s shot over the on-rushing Kepa Arrizabalaga, with the ball dribbling over the line. That might have been enough to secure the double but Hazard would not be denied his flash of brilliance. (s 61′) 9 Higuain 17 Kovacic Raúl Jiménez’s 56th-minute goal was his 14th for Wolves in all competitions this season. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images 2 Rudiger Topics Possession (s 56′) 32 Dendoncker 11 Rui Patricio Thank you for your feedback. This contest had lurched deep into stoppage time when Eden Hazard, collecting the ball just outside the penalty area as two Wolverhampton Wanderers players closed in, glimpsed a route to goal through the clutter of bodies and fizzed home the most pinpoint of equalisers. It was a moment of jaw-dropping genius, a reminder of the quality that sets the Belgian apart, and the kind of timely intervention that can distort the prevailing mood. The Fiver: sign up and get our daily football email. Read more Fouls Match stats Pinterest (s 82′) Twitter Share on Twitter 18 Giroud 8 13 13 0 WOL CHE 29 Ruben Vinagre 27 Christensen Lineups Chelsea The four-way sprint for the third and fourth Champions League placesTottenham20 Apr Man City (A) 23 Apr Brighton (h) 27 Apr West Ham (H) 6 May Bournemouth (A) 12 May Everton (H)Arsenal21 Apr Crystal Palace (H) 24 Apr Wolves (A) 29 Apr Leicester (A) 4 May Brighton (H) 12 May Burnley (A)Manchester United21 Apr Everton (A) 24 Apr Man City (H) 28 Apr Chelsea (H) 5 May Huddersfield (A) 12 May Cardiff (H)Chelsea22 Apr Burnley (H) 28 Apr Man Utd (A) 4 May Watford (H) 12 May Leicester (A) 21 Ruddy Corners 22 Willian 16 Coady 8 Neves 5 Jorginho Quick guide Premier League top-four race: remaining fixtures 15 Boly 19 Jonny Share on Pinterest 16 Chelsea Off target 1 Wolves 6 Chelsea On target 1 Wolves WOL25CHE75% 20 Hudson-Odoi Show Goal attempts Chelsea 1-1 Wolves: Premier League – as it happened 12 Loftus-Cheek (s 72′) 49 Kilman Wolves Chelsea 25 75 Was this helpful? 27 Saiss 33 Emerson Palmieri 30 Luiz Up to then the outstanding England hopeful Conor Coady and his fellow centre-halves had repelled almost everything thrown at them, while a trio of midfielders and pair of workaholic full-backs presented a barrier upon which Chelsea broke. “If there are no spaces, it’s very difficult to score if you play five or six touches against a very physical team with 11 players in the last 20m,” said Sarri. “Hazard is a great player who can solve the situation in any moment but during the match he was like the other players. He needs more movement without the ball, not only when he has it at his feet.” Substitutes Facebook (s 89′) 1 Arrizabalaga 8 Barkley Sarri, defending his player, pointed out the 27-year-old needs clever movement around him if he is to flourish, which was a valid criticism of a collective lack of spark in the face of blanket defence. Chelsea had been flummoxed too easily. “If the other players don’t move without the ball, Jorginho is in trouble,” he said. “He is really very able to play at one touch but, if you want to play one touch, you need movements from the other players. He is a very strong character and a professional player, and he has to play in every condition. Taking him off was a consequence of a change of system, not the performance. But I know him very well. He can go in trouble if all the rest of the team are not moving.”Yet the reality was that Chelsea disrupted Wolves’ resolve only when, for the first time this season, they abandoned the predictability of 4-3-3 and switched formation. Sarri claimed they played that last quarter in something akin to a 4-2-3-1 but, in practice, N’Golo Kanté loitered as a lone midfielder while a quintet of forward thinkers, driven on by the youthful energy and aggression of the substitutes Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi, finally dragged markers out of their comfort zone. Share via Email 7 Ivan Cavaleiro Wolves had revelled in the frustration their obstinacy prompted. Nuno Espírito Santo’s side have made a habit of blunting the best on their return to the Premier League – this was a 10th point from nine games against the elite six including beating Chelsea 2-1 at Molineux in December – reflecting the discipline the manager has instilled. The Portuguese spoke of his pride after the final whistle, albeit with a reminder his players should have been better organised at the corner routine from which Chelsea levelled. 17 Gibbs-White The reality is the late drama which spared Chelsea’s blushes here should not detract from the inadequacies that have undermined the team’s pursuit of the top four. This, as Maurizio Sarri went on to acknowledge, was a missed opportunity given Tottenham Hotspur’s latest stumble and the subsequent meeting of the sides immediately above. Yet it ended a rather fraught occasion, threatening to shatter the fragile truce in these parts. Had Hazard not prised wonderfully disciplined and organised opponents apart at the last, denying Wolves a first win here in four decades, then a mood of mutiny might have returned.As it was, the home support pinpointed familiar culprits for the plod of it all. The substitution of Jorginho 18 minutes from time had prompted cheers from a significant proportion, the Italy midfielder suffering yet again as the personification of a philosophy that too often has simply not clicked. From the outside looking in his passing can appear ineffective, lacking penetration. Chelsea had spent the first half of this game camped on the edge of the Wolves penalty area without ever really hinting at opening up stubborn opposition. The constant shuffling of the ball inflates the passing statistics but the visitors were content. They did not even need to close Jorginho down at source to wreck Chelsea’s game-plan. 9 Jimenez 7 Kante 37 Traore Hide 10 Hazard Substitutes Premier League Share on WhatsApp Wolverhampton Wanderers match reports Share on Facebook 2 Doherty 13 Caballero 11 Pedro 28 Joao Moutinho Share on LinkedIn Share on Messenger Reuse this contentlast_img

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