For the second time in four days, Chelsea lost points when Wolverhampton Wanderers came from behind to steal a 2-1 stoppage-time victory at Molineux.
Early in the second half, Olivier Giroud broke the deadlock, making a signature near-post effort with a volley that snuck under Wolves keeper Rui Patricio’s body.
Initially, the target was not given, with Chelsea players left appealing to the referee, but a word in the ear of the official indicated that the ball had finally crossed the line – just – to give the lead to Chelsea.
However, with Daniel Podence, Wolves’ best player at night, the advantage did not last long, leveling things up with a shot from an angle that took a touch off Reece James’s back to leave Edouard Mendy with little chance.
And there was a final twist as Kurt Zouma was exposed on the break by Pedro Neto, skinning the Frenchman before tossing a shot into the lower corner in the fifth minute of injury time.
The outcome leaves Chelsea three points from Tottenham’s league leaders having played a game more than all the teams around them. And in the last week with six points begging, Frank Lampard will be left rueing two missed chances to top the Premier League.
Meanwhile, for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side, victory ends a difficult run and sends them into the top half of the table.
For this game, Frank Lampard called an attacking XI, shoehorning all Giroud, Werner, Havertz, Pulisic, and Mount on the same side, but Chelsea made very little note of open play for all that imaginative talent. Pulisic was comfortably the most dangerous player of the visitors, but the primary chances for Chelsea came from set-pieces and even Giroud’s goal was from a cross into the net.
If Lampard’s side is to create a serious title challenge, they will need to figure out a way to create possibilities against packed defenses such as Wolves, and it is a concern how inefficient Werner appears in particular when teams take away space behind him to run into. From earlier in the season, Lampard seems to have sorted out the defensive problems, but these back-to-back defeats leave the Chelsea boss with plenty of food for thought.