Tuesday 20 March 2018

Mata on song for Chelsea

Paul Hirst

Chelsea returned to winning ways with a comfortable victory over Wolves to ease the pressure on under-fire manager Andre Villas-Boas.

Recent losses to Liverpool and Bayer Leverkusen had piled the pressure on the 34-year-old Blues boss, but the tension at Stamford Bridge eased in the sixth minute when John Terry capitalised on some poor marking to head home Juan Mata's cross.

Daniel Sturridge slipped his marker to tap home Mata's cross just before the half hour and the Spaniard added the hosts' third in the last minute of the first half. The performance was hardly vintage Chelsea, but the result ensured Villas-Boas slept a little easier last night.

Wolves, who had won just one of their last 10 games before yesterday, were there for the taking, and after a cagey opening five minutes, Chelsea took hold of the game thanks to Terry's opener.

Ramires stole the ball away from a dallying Nenad Milijas and fired towards the goal, only to see Wayne Hennessey tip the Brazilian's effort wide with a brilliant save. From the resulting corner Terry lost his marker to head Mata's cross home.

Chelsea still lacked confidence and were cautious in possession, but they suddenly sprung to life to double their lead in the 29th minute. Ronald Zubar attempted to bail Mata over, but the Spaniard kept his footing and sent over a low cross that Sturridge tapped home.

Hennessey then spilled Sturridge's powerful shot over the bar just before the break and Mata made it 3-0 on the stroke of half-time when he was given room to finish from 12 yards. It was a stroll for the hosts after the break and Ramires, Didier Drogba, Fernando Torres and Mata all went close to making it four on a comfortable afternoon for the Blues.

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