David Luiz 5/10 as Chelsea's defence disappoints in draw with Wolves
LONDON -- Eden Hazard's late goal could not prevent Chelsea failing to capitalise on the stumbles of their Premier League top-four rivals as Raul Jimenez's second-half strike ensured Wolves claimed a deserved and impressive 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea never stopped trying to find a way through the Wolves defence and a moment of quality from Hazard ultimately made the difference, while Maurizio Sarri also showed willingness to go to a more attacking formation in search of an equaliser in the final stages.
This was a big opportunity missed for Chelsea, who could have ended Sunday back in fourth place with a win and a draw between Arsenal and Manchester United. They were too easily stifled by Wolves for much of the game, and far too easily carved open by Diogo Jota and Jimenez.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- The ease with which Chelsea conceded raises questions about the defensive viability of Sarri's system, but he did at least change things from the bench. Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi were both trusted in the second half, and there was even a formation change when Willian replaced Jorginho.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Kepa Arrizabalaga, 5 -- Had almost nothing to do for much of the afternoon, but seemed to make himself smaller rather than bigger for Jimenez's goal.
DF Cesar Azpilicueta, 6 -- Showed willingness to overlap on the right but his crossing was erratic, and he was unable to recover his position in time to stop Jimenez giving Wolves the lead against the run of play.
DF Antonio Rudiger, 6 -- His recovery speed was crucial whenever Wolves attempted to spring Jota or substitute Morgan Gibbs-White in transition, but he could have done better while backpedalling for the move that led to the goal.
DF David Luiz, 5 -- Many of his more ambitious passes came to nothing against the massed Wolves defence and he was probably more culpable than anyone else for the mysterious parting of the Chelsea back line that allowed Jimenez to put Wolves in front.
DF Emerson Palmieri, 6 -- Looks fast and fluid on the ball, but had precious little space to run into with Wolves sitting so deep and could not provide any crossing quality from the left flank.
MF N'Golo Kante, 7 -- Can always be relied upon to be Chelsea's best midfield performer and he played a key role in maintaining their stranglehold on possession here, though it didn't translate into a cascade of chances.
MF Jorginho, 6 -- Did what he does well until the Wolves goal, changing the direction of Chelsea's possession and even playing through Gonzalo Higuain for Chelsea's only shot of the opening 45 minutes. Gave the ball away badly a couple of times though, and was sacrificed for Willian with Chelsea chasing an equaliser.
MF Mateo Kovacic, 5 -- Neat and tidy early on but the crowd quickly became frustrated with his inability to find forward passing options, and it was no surprise when Loftus-Cheek replaced him before the hour mark.
FW Pedro Rodriguez, 6 -- Could not carry a consistent goal threat from the right flank and only tested Rui Patricio once, forcing the Wolves goalkeeper to tip over one long shot in the second half. Replaced by Hudson-Odoi.
FW Gonzalo Higuain, 5 -- His link-up play was jarringly poor for much of the first half and he was swamped by Wolves defenders whenever he received the ball. Managed to force two decent saves out of Patricio, but he clearly lacks the sharpness he had only a few weeks ago.
FW Eden Hazard, 7 -- Stifled for long spells, he never stopped trying to turn the tide for his team and ultimately produced the moment of magic that saved Chelsea from defeat, working himself a yard and firing into the bottom corner from just outside the penalty area.
MF Ruben Loftus-Cheek, 7 -- Immediately more effective than Kovacic when he came on, feeding Higuain and Pedro to test Patricio. Could not find the equaliser himself, but his presence gave the Wolves defence a different problem.
FW Callum Hudson-Odoi, 6 -- His arrival was greeted with a customary roar but this was one of his more forgettable cameos, with a couple of over-hit crosses his most notable contributions.
FW Willian, 7 -- Clipped the top of the wall with a free kick and forced a good save from Patricio shortly before Hazard struck.