The race for a top-four finish in the Premier League took yet another twist on Sunday as Chelsea were held to a 1-1 draw by a resilient Wolverhampton Wanderers side at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea dominated proceedings in the first half, with Wolves happy to give the Blues plenty of possession. However, they deprived Chelsea of any space in which to work, and Maurizio Sarri's side failed to create any real chances in a half which was certainly lacking any real spark.
Despite all of Chelsea's pressure, it was Wolves who took the lead early in the second half, with Raul Jimenez finishing off an excellent counter attack to put his side 1-0 up. The hosts continued to press, but found themselves unable to break Wolves down as Gonzalo Higuain and Ruben Loftus-Cheek passed up good chances to equalise.
However, in the dying embers of the match, a long-range strike from Eden Hazard found its way into the net to earn Chelsea a point, on what was a frustrating day for the Blues.
Here's 90min's breakdown of the game.
Key Talking Point
It feels as though we have been here before. Chelsea enjoyed a huge amount of possession, but their threat in front of goal was almost non-existent. With iconic forwards Didier Drogba and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink watching on, Chelsea looked stale and utterly bereft of ideas in the final third.
Higuain was brought in to be this potent machine who already understood Sarri's methods, but the Argentine was a far cry from the man Chelsea fans wanted him to be. In midfield, Mateo Kovacic continued to frustrate fans with his lack of goalscoring threat, and substitute Ruben Loftus-Cheek took just seconds to prove he offers more in midfield than the Croatian.
Doesn't matter how many attacking players are on the pitch if they're all stood still.— Chelsea Youth (@chelseayouth) March 10, 2019
Stamford bridge was once a fortress lol— َ (@HazardEdition) March 10, 2019
Once again, Chelsea's day was saved by Hazard, who unleashed a thunderous long-range strike which sailed into the Wolves net with only minutes remaining. This cannot keep happening. Chelsea need to improve, and something needs to change soon.
Starting XI: Arrizabalaga (6); Azpilicueta (7), Luiz (6), Rudiger (6), Emerson (6); Jorginho (7), Kante (7), Kovacic (5); Pedro (6), Higuain (5), Hazard (7*).
Substitutes: Loftus-Cheek (7), Hudson-Odoi (6), Willian (6).
Star Man - Eden Hazard
It was that man once again. On a day in which Chelsea lacked any potent threat in attack, they needed a moment of magic from their star to save the day, and that is what they got from Hazard.
The Belgian looked a menace throughout, trying to occupy any space which he could find. It was not easy for Hazard, who struggled to find a way past a resilient Wolves side. However, it took a superb strike from distance to finally beat Rui Patricio, and Chelsea fans will be thanking Hazard for saving the side for what seems like the hundredth time this season.
Eden Hazard has saved us again— Ajax fan 🇬🇭 (@TheBeardedRauI) March 10, 2019
Look at Hazard, I love him.— - (@Arrizabalagaed) March 10, 2019
EDEN HAZARD WITH A MASSIVE GOAL. MASSIVE.— Alex Goldberg (@AlexGoldberg_) March 10, 2019
THERE’S OUR BEST PLAYER! CLASS!
Key Talking Point
Wolves' performance at Stamford Bridge will certainly divide opinion. There are those who will be frustrated by the team's lack of ambition, but the large majority will be delighted with Nuno Espirito Santo's game plan.
Counter-attacking worked perfectly in December's 2-1 victory over the Blues, and Wolves made it abundantly clear that they were keen to employ a similar style at Stamford Bridge. The first half featured very little attacking from Wolves, and their goal early in the second half only encouraged the visitors to drop back.
it was a well executed match. you gave them no advantages, were a literal wall in the back, pressured and harassed them, and made the most of your chance.— man named mark (@photoheathen) March 10, 2019
this is one to be really proud of.
Chelsea's struggles certainly made it easier for Wolves, but the entire team still needed a disciplined performance to secure a positive result, and they were incredibly unfortunate not to earn all three points. Every played did exactly what was asked of them, and their incredible run against the top-six continues.
Starting XI: Patricio (6); Saiss (7), Coady (6), Boly (7); Doherty (6), Dendoncker (6), Neves (7), Moutinho (6), Jonny (6); Jimenez (7), Jota (6).
Substitutes: Gibbs-White (6), Traore (N/A).
Star Man - Raul Jimenez
Given Wolves' defensive game plan, forwards Raul Jimenez and Diego Jota both knew they were set for tough afternoons. They spent the majority of the afternoon chasing the ball, but were always alert if they needed to start countering.
Jimenez often found himself helping to defend set pieces, but regularly managed to head the ball away from danger. At the other end of the field, Jimenez had just one chance to score during the match, and he took it. He is paid to score goals and work hard, and he certainly did both today.
It was an excellent performance from Jimenez, and fans were eager to praise the forward on Twitter.
Raul Jimenez dropping a Drogba performance while Drogba is watching.— BREZZIDENT 💎 (@OlaTheOG) March 10, 2019
One does not simply bench Raul Jimenez— James💙💛 (@J_4710) March 8, 2019
Raul Jimenez has to be one of the best players in the premier league this season. Anytime Wolves score a goal he’s almost always involved. It’s not just his goal scoring, his work ethic is superb. Type of Striker Mourinho would kill for.— Valar EndGame Morghulis (@Howardson_) March 10, 2019