Matheus Cunha’s hat-trick helped Wolves claim a 4-2 comeback victory at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea dropped into the bottom half of the Premier League table.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side were booed off by home fans at the end of a second loss in four days, whilst the name of former owner Roman Abramovich could be heard ringing around the ground.
Cole Palmer’s goal had seemed to have his side on their way to a fifth home league win in a row when he slotted in after 19 minutes.
Thereafter however, Gary O’Neil’s team dictated everything, with Cunha leading the way, although Chelsea will deem themselves unfortunate to have conceded from two big deflections in the first half, one of which was given as an own goal against Axel Disasi.
Thiago Silva headed a consolation near the end before home supporters let the depth of their anger be known.
The sides exchanged half-chances during the opening 15 minutes, Cunha and Pedro Neto drawing decent saves from Djordje Petrovic in Chelsea’s goal, whilst at the other end Palmer saw a left-footed shot deflect wide from outside the box and Christopher Nkunku was blocked by Jose Sa as he ran through on goal.
The game needed a spark of inspiration, and it came from Moises Caicedo. Chelsea’s record signing collected the ball centrally midway inside the Wolves half and with slid-rule precision found the run of Palmer. Caicedo’s pass did the hard part for him, and Chelsea’s top scorer placed it first-time into the corner with a cool flick of the boot.
It was a worthy assist, but the Ecuadorean undid his good work almost instantly. It was he who dallied on the ball in midfield, gifting it back to Wolves. From there, the visitors broke forward, working it up to Cunha who cut in onto his right and hit a shot that deflected off Silva and in as Petrovic scrambled to recover.
Chelsea laboured to impose themselves but O’Neil’s side had been the better team on the ball throughout the half, despite the hosts’ superior possession statistics. Wolves moved the ball with more intent, their attacking players making the more inventive runs. Chelsea by contrast, save for Caicedo’s moment of magic, were running into walls.
The pattern of the half was encapsulated by the goal that put Wolves in front. One ball from Nelson Semedo released Neto down the right, who carried it and crossed low. Chelsea were unfortunate to suffer another critical deflection as Rayan Ait Nouri’s shot bounced off Disasi and in, rounding off an efficient, clinical Wolves counter.
Chelsea supporters near the dugout were angry with their team’s slow pace and a perceived lack of fight, making their feelings known at half-time in a furious chorus of boos. But things were only to get worse.
Raheem Sterling dragged wide from Ben Chilwell’s clever cut-back at the start of the second half as Pochettino’s side sought a response. At the other end, frustrations spread from the crowd to the pitch as Caicedo gave away two free-kicks in as many minutes on the edge of his own box, the second earning him a booking.
Wolves’ third goal came from more crisp, incisive counter-attacking. Enzo Fernandez tried to cut out Semedo’s ball down the line but helped it only into the path of Neto, who ran it deep into the box and laid off for Cunha to batter it past Petkovic. Cue another rally of bitter discontent from home supporters.
Malo Gusto’s foul handed Cunha the chance to seal his hat-trick from the penalty spot, an opportunity he took with a neat finish into the corner.
Thiago Silva’s late headed consolation could not take the sheen off a stunning Wolves win.