Chelsea didn’t give their travelling fans any festive cheer on Christmas Eve as they slumped to a 2-1 defeat against Wolves at Molineux. Express Sport runs through four talking points from Mauricio Pochettino’s Nightmare Before Christmas, which left his side 14 points off the Premier League’s top four.
Chelsea suffer more away misery
Wolves’ narrow triumph secured back-to-back top-flight wins against Chelsea for the first time since a run of three between 1973 and 1975, having beaten the Blues 1-0 in April.
It condemned Pochettino’s side to even more misery away from Stamford Bridge in the form of a fourth consecutive defeat on the road.
Chelsea were previously beaten at Everton, Manchester United and Newcastle, and have lost four of their nine away league games this term.
Mauricio Pochettino’s blank stare into the abyss from the Chelsea bench as Matt Doherty added to Mario Lemina’s opener said it all.
Raheem Sterling, the Blues’ Scrooge
Raheem Sterling usually loves facing Wolves. The 29-year-old had been involved in six goals in his previous six Premier League appearances against the Midlands outfit, registering four goals and two assists.
Five of those involvements had come at Molineux, but he suffered a nightmare afternoon at the stadium this afternoon.
Sterling was handed a glorious chance to square the ball for Cole Palmer or Nicolas Jackson to slot home into an empty net.
But he instead fired his effort straight at Jose Sa, turning a 0.95xG chance into a 0.68xG opportunity. He was later booked for simulation in stoppage time, suspending him for the next game.
Nkunku puts Jackson on notice
Nicolas Jackson, aged 22, has potential but continues to bring a sense of chaos to Chelsea’s games when they really need a reliable goalscorer.
He has now been booked more times (eight) than he’s scored goals (seven) in the Premier League this season. And there is now serious competition in the dressing room.
Christian Nkunku played the final 30 minutes after recovering from the long-term injury that delayed his Chelsea debut and scored a consolation goal to apply pressure onto the hosts late on.
It was a composed header and offered supporters a glimpse of the world-class talent they can expect in west London.
All four of their away wins at Wolves have come under different managers – Claudio Ranieri, Carlo Ancelotti, Andre Villa-Boas and Lampard. Pochettino will have to wait for his.
Gary O’Neil is doing a terrific job as Wolves boss and has led his side to a seven-game Premier League unbeaten run at Molineux, featuring four wins and three draws.
Wolves haven’t enjoyed as good a run on home turf since going undefeated in 10 games from January to August in 2019.