Wednesday 12 December 2018

Sarri now under no illusions about task he faces to turn Blues around

Wolves 2 Chelsea 1

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire

Sam Wallace

There are 10 points now between his Chelsea team and Manchester City, and if Maurizio Sarri had his doubts about the task facing him then this dispiriting loss will have opened his eyes about more than one of his big-name players.

It was a magnificent night for Wolves and their manager Nuno Espirito Santo, who dared to be brave in his selection, especially with that of 18-year-old Morgan Gibbs-White, and was rewarded with a first victory in seven but Chelsea, with overwhelming control of possession, should never have allowed the game to slip from their grasp.

Sarri will have felt let down as Alvaro Morata once again looked ill-suited to the intensity of a night like this. Willian, once such a reliable figure, was culpable in Wolves' winner from Diego Jota and questions will also be asked of Kepa Arrizabalaga.

It was only Chelsea's second defeat of the season but they have come in the space of three games and there must be concern now about the shift in momentum.

Wolves did have chances in the first half, including a header nodded downward by Raul Jimenez that Cesc Fabregas got a boot to as Gibbs-White ran on to the loose ball.

Fabregas looked sharp considering how few minutes he has been given and Ruben Loftus-Cheek struck the shot that gave Chelsea the lead.

Level pegging: Raul Jimenez got Wolves’ equaliser just before the hour mark. Photo: Getty
Level pegging: Raul Jimenez got Wolves’ equaliser just before the hour mark. Photo: Getty

It was nicely hit and would have required a save from Rui Patricio but Conor Coady stooped to try to head it away and simply redirected the ball into the near corner.

A profligate Chelsea then found themselves behind when they conceded two goals in four minutes. The first was made by Gibbs-White, when faced with a retreating Chelsea defence he chose the channel for his pass perfectly. Jimenez struck his shot low and hard but it was saveable.

Wolves' second arrived within five minutes as Irish full-back Matt Doherty, excellent again, struck a fine ball to the far post after Willian had coughed up possession far too easily, and Jota was there to finish for his first of the season.

Chelsea were back in a position where they needed something from Eden Hazard to rescue them. He looked off the pace and there was no-one else in blue with the inspiration required. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas (left) and Wolverhampton Wanderers' Romain Saiss battle for the ball. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire
Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas (left) and Wolverhampton Wanderers' Romain Saiss battle for the ball. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire

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