Mason Mount, Kai Havertz, and Christian Pulisic made the difference as Chelsea clinched a hard-fought win over Wolves on Saturday.
Chelsea dominated the proceedings from the get-go, with Wolverhampton Wanderers in sixes and sevens whenever they got the ball. But despite their dominance, they could not find the clinical touch in the final third; Kai Havertz, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and Christian Pulisic were among the guilty party.
Chelsea finally came close to scoring at the half-hour mark, but Jose Sa denied Pulisic with a brilliant fingertip save. As the minutes progressed, it was clear that something might have to give. And the Blues finally broke the deadlock on the stroke of half-time, with Kai Havertz looping Mason Mount’s cross over Sa.
Chelsea remained on top after the break, but Wolves threatened more in the early exchanges. However, the Blues did not take much time to find the back of the net in the second half, with Pulisic finally getting his goal. The USMNT international was involved in an express move before indulging in a give-and-go with Mount and scoring from an acute angle.
Interestingly, the visitors started piling on the pressure after that. But Chelsea held on before rounding off the win in the 89th minute through Armando Broja, who scored his first goal for the Blues. The result helped Chelsea climb into the top four ahead of the game between Brighton & Hove Albion and Tottenham Hotspur. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Graham Potter’s men.
Three wins in four games to start the Graham Potter era at Chelsea 🔵 pic.twitter.com/lxzpBISwEN
— B/R Football (@brfootball) October 8, 2022
Kepa Arrizabalaga: 6.5/10
Kepa started ahead of Edouard Mendy again, but he enjoyed a largely quiet evening. However, the Spaniard still justified his position by keeping out a tricky free-kick by Joao Moutinho.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 6.5/10
Azpilicueta started as the right-back ahead of Reece James in a surprising call. But the Chelsea captain was brilliant for the most part, showing the desire to make things happen. He sent in several enticing crosses and deserved an assist from the game. But he was vulnerable off the ball and faced some problems when Wolves countered.
Trevoh Chalobah: 7/10
Chalobah earned a rare start, with Potter resting Thiago Silva. And the youngster was solid at the back, making numerous defensive interventions while winning almost all his duels. He also played out from the back efficiently, completing all but three of his attempted passes. In another positive, Chalobah exchanged neat passes with Mason Mount in the build-up to Chelsea’s first.
Trevoh Chalobah’s game by numbers vs. Wolves:
95% pass accuracy
74/78 passes completed
15/16 final third passes
2/2 ground duels won
2/2 tackles won
Impressive outing at Stamford Bridge. 💪 pic.twitter.com/iRH3P7lwBi
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) October 8, 2022
Kalidou Koulibaly: 6.5/10
Koulibaly continued in the starting lineup and made several crucial clearances to alleviate the danger when Wolverhampton Wanderers broke around the Chelsea box. But the Senegalese defender had some careless moments on the ball and should improve that part of his game. He did not let anyone past him.
Marc Cucurella: 6.5/10
Cucurella was surprisingly the quieter of the two Chelsea full-backs against Wolves. The Spanish international did carry a threat but did not send in many crosses for the attackers. He also faced some nervy moments against Adama Traore but did produce some superb defensive interventions.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek: 7/10
Loftus-Cheek retained his spot in the midfield. The English international was a bundle of energy and looked like Chelsea’s best bet to make things happen in the first half alongside Azpilicueta. He played two key passes while barely losing the ball cheaply. But Loftus-Cheek should improve his defensive output.
Jorginho returned to the starting lineup and helped Chelsea remain on top of the proceedings throughout ninety minutes. The Italian international barely misplaced a pass, but we dock him a rating point because he slowed the game’s tempo at times. Jorginho also let Matheus Nunes drift past him at times but was otherwise solid off the ball.
Conor Gallagher: 7/10
Gallagher was a bundle of energy, often foraying into the final third to make things happen. He linked up nicely with Loftus-Cheek, Azpilicueta, and Mount as Chelsea ran the show. The English international played three key passes while winning six duels and five tackles in a top-notch all-round effort.
Mason Mount: 8/10
Mason Mount's game by numbers vs. Wolves:
5 chances created
5 touches in opp. box
5 passes into opp. box
4 passes into final ⅓
4 x possession won
His first assists of the season. ✌️ pic.twitter.com/awBEsLnL0u
— Squawka (@Squawka) October 8, 2022
Mount was slow off the blocks but gradually got into his groove. The English playmaker linked up well with Azpilicueta and the midfielders, playing a game-high five key passes. And he exchanged neat passes with Chalobah before delivering the pinpoint cross for Kai Havertz for Chelsea’s first.
But Mount’s best moment came in the give-and-go with Christian Pulisic, as he played almost a blind ball for the American, who scored Chelsea’s second. Mount even put in the hard yards off the ball, tracking back a few times to help the defenders.
Kai Havertz: 7/10
Havertz was one of several Chelsea players who wasted chances in the game’s opening quarter. But the German international played clever short passes to help slice open Wolves’ defence. And he did well to leapfrog Nelson Semedo before looping Mount’s cross over Jose Sa to break the deadlock. That strike should boost Havertz’s confidence.
Kai Havertz now has 4 goals in his last 5 starts for club and country… 💎 pic.twitter.com/oUrakCz45R
— LDN (@LDNFootbalI) October 8, 2022
Christian Pulisic: 7/10
Pulisic was a surprising starter on Saturday, and it was clear why in the early exchanges. While the 24-year-old got a few chances coming his way, he squandered those opportunities. But his confidence grew when Sa parried his long-range effort in the first period. And Pulisic carried it into the second half, showing brilliant awareness to convert Mount’s defence-splitting pass.
Mateo Kovacic: 6.5/10
Kovacic replaced Loftus-Cheek midway through the second half and shored up the midfield. The Croat held the fort in the middle of the park but saved his best for the game’s dying embers, setting up Armando Broja for the late goal.
Armando Broja: 7/10
Broja did not see the ball coming his way after replacing Mount. But he scored from one of his three touches, curling the ball from the edge of the box. That was Broja’s first Chelsea goal, and he would hope to score plenty more this season.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) October 8, 2022
Reece James: N/A
James was on the pitch for nearly twenty minutes but barely saw the ball coming his way. However, he completed all his attempted passes and should be fresh to take on AC Milan next week.
Carney Chukwuemeka: N/A
Chukwuemeka made his Chelsea debut and helped the Blues see the game out in the final five minutes.
Hakim Ziyech: N/A
Ziyech was a late replacement for Havertz and did not have any openings coming his way.