We still can’t quite believe how Chelsea failed to score from this position in their loss vs Wolves

Nkunku looked very impressive upon his introduction as Chelsea fell to a 2-1 defeat to Wolves.

Chelsea were condemned to a 2-1 defeat in their trip to Molineux against Wolverhampton Wanderers as Mario Lemina and Matt Doherty’s second-half strikes were the difference makers in the Premier League affair. It marked Mauricio Pochettino’s eighth loss in the Premier League this season as they enter Christmas Day in 10th spot, level on points with Wolves.

It’s a situation that the Blues would rather not be in, but given their struggles up top and at the back, it will be all to play for as they enter the New Year with a respectable 2023/24 finish high on the agenda. One of the positives for the visiting side was that Christopher Nkunku made his Premier League bow and looked extremely bright, even grabbing himself a debut goal upon his substitution.

Sterling mauraded down the right flank in stoppage-time as he looked to lead his side to a hard-fought draw (at least). His inviting cross was met by the Frenchman, unmarked, as he deftly guided a header into the bottom left corner. It seemed as if it was game on at Wolves’ stomping ground but Gary O’Neil’s side steadied the ship and held out for a brilliant 2-1 victory.

Nkunku’s introduction spruced Chelsea into life as they looked to earn themselves a win from the Premier League encounter, but it was to no avail. With Raheem Sterling missing such an opportune chance in the first half to propel his side ahead, those associated with the west Londoners will look back on his effort – and the result – glumly.

Sterling’s first-half miss proves costly The Englishman squandered golden chance to put Chelsea ahead

The Englishman, who was Chelsea’s bright spark throughout, was through on goal in the 33rd minute as he looked to put his side ahead. Jose Sa played a hospital ball into the feet of Toti Gomes, despite the Brazilian being under heaps of pressure from Sterling behind him.

Sterling nicked the ball and bared down on goal, with both Cole Palmer and Nicolas Jackson patiently waiting for a squared pass for a chance at an open net. Instead of opting for an in-field pass for either teammate, Sterling had his eye on goal. His attempt was thwarted by Wolves goalkeeper Sa, who spread himself to make a vital one-on-one stop to keep it level at 0-0.

Whether his chance would have guaranteed a victory for the capital club is another question – but one thing is for certain, Pochettino’s side would have been much more settled and in control of the game had he decided to set up one of his eagerly waiting teammates in the middle.

Lemina and Doherty on target to seal three points for Wolves Both goals were scored in the second half of the game

In a contest in which both sides yielded a flurry of chances, it was Lemina who popped up early in the second half to grab an opener. Throughout the fixture, the hosts were consistently a threat from set-piece situations and, in the 51st minute, they ensured to take advantage of their dominance.

Pablo Sarabia swung in a deep corner kick, one which Lemina duly met to leave Djordje Petrovic hapless in net. The Gabon international notched his third Premier League goal of the campaign with his headed effort as Molineux erupted in jubilation. Chelsea, admittedly, grew into the game after Lemina’s opener but were unable to disrupt the stubborn defensive set-up of the home side.

Matt Doherty, who replaced Matheus Cunha in the 86th minute, doubled their advantage in the third minute of stoppage time as the defender latched onto a fluffed Benoit Badashile clearance. Diverted into the path of the Irishman, Doherty steadied himself before sliding a side-footed effort past Petrovic.

Next up for Wolves is an away test at Brentford on Wednesday 27th December, while Chelsea host London rivals Crystal Palace to Stamford Bridge on the same day. Both sides will be looking to gain three points in their respective outings to boost their chances of a respectable finish in 2024.

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