Tottenham vs Chelsea 1-0 Match Report and Player Ratings article: Carabao Cup – 8th January

Goals  Tottenham- Kane (26′)

             Chelsea- None

The game started at a fast tempo with both teams showing positive signs early on. Son had a penalty shout early on after a long ball over the top of Chelsea’s defence caused havoc, and led to a tangle between Christensen and Son with the referee and VAR ruling that it wasn’t a foul to Chelsea’s relief. For Chelsea early on Barkley had a long-range shot which hit the side netting.

The first real controversial moment of the game came in the 23rd minute when Kane was played by a long ball over the top of Chelsea’s defence. The English striker took the ball around Kepa and was wiped out. The original decision turned out to be offside but after a tw0 minute VAR check, Kane was ruled onside and therefore a penalty was given. Azpilicueta was the guilty party who played Tottenham onside. Kane slotted their resulting penalty in the net to give Tottenham a 1-0 lead.

Tottenham would be happy that VAR was in action for this game, as the original call was offside.

Chelsea took long to show a response, however, before half-time they rattled the woodwork twice. The first time was through Kante who got onto the end of an Alonso cross and his flick hit the outside post of Gazzaniga’s goal. The second was in injury time when Hudson-Odoi’s deflected cross left Gazzaniga scrambling, but the Argentina International pushed it onto the bar, as Tottenham went in at half-time 1-0 up.

This game called out for a Giroud. Hazard needed a target man to play off as he looked very isolated in the centre-forward position in the false nine.

The game was so uneventful in the second half. Kante had a long-range shot midway through the second half that was parried away by Gazzaniga. And the best chance of second half came from a Chelsea corner which was flicked on by Barkley and landed to an unmarked Christensen from close range who went with his wrong foot and consequently missed his chance from close range.

Tottenham were defensively resilient and sharp on the attack. Chelsea were defensively strong on the whole but had zero cutting edge going forward. So it is all to play for in the second leg, but if Chelsea want to win this game then they need to sign a striker before the return leg to even have a chance.

Match Statistics (Credit- BBC Sport)

                                    Tottenham                                  Chelsea

Possession (%)                 42                                                  58

Shots                                     6                                                     17

Shots on Target                4                                                      5

Corners                               2                                                      7

Fouls                                   10                                                     6

Manager and Player Ratings)

Tottenham (4-2-3-1)

Gazzaniga- 7 (Made some great saves to keep score at 1-0)

Trippier- 7 (Defensively solid)

Sánchez- 7 (Defensively solid)

Alderweireld- 7 (Defensively solid)

Rose- 7 (Defensively solid)

Winks- 7 (Played well in the midfield)

Sissoko- 6 (Tactically fouled Hazard so many times, but average on the whole)

Eriksen- 5 (Didn’t have a big impact on the game)

Alli- 5 (Average)

Son- 7 (Dangerous on the counter-attack)

Kane- 8 (Most dangerous player on the pitch. Nearly scored a wonderful overhead kick and

Subs:

Lamela- 5 (Average)

Skip- 5 (Brought on in the last minute)

Llorente- 5 (Brought on in the last minute)

Manager Rating: Mauricio Pochettino- 7- Set up his team to be defensively resilient which they were. But will they regret the fact that they didn’t try to score and kill off the game? Maybe Pochettino set up too defensively.

Chelsea (4-3-3)

Kepa- 6 (Brought down Kane for a penalty, but made one good save in the second half from long range Kane shot. Distribution was good)

Alonso- 6 (Delivered good cross for Kante in the first half. Goal saving tackle in the second half. Defensively suspect again.)

Christensen- 6 (Missed a good chance. Good defensively)

Rüdiger- 6 (Good defensively)

Azpilicueta- 4 (At fault for playing Kane onside for penalty. Poor at crossing the ball)

Jorginho- 4 (Didn’t  do anything of worth noting. Plays too safe)

Kante- 9 (Best player on the pitch. Good work-rate. Hit the post. Good defensively and had a few long shots which he got on target)

Barkley- 4 (Shots were poor)

Hudson-Odoi- 6 (Very bright in the first half. Died off in the second half)

Willian- 5 (Average)

Hazard- 6 (Worked hard but isolated. Needed a target man to start from the start)

Subs:

Pedro- 5 (Didn’t affect the game in any way)

Kovacic-5 (Average)

Giroud- 5 (Had little time to impact the game)

Manager Rating: Maurizio Sarri- 6- Picked his best team. Dominated the game. Giroud should have come on a lot earlier, but understandable as he has just returned from injury. Can’t deal with the fact that Chelsea doesn’t have a good enough striker.

What’s next for both teams

Tottenham host Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday at 4:30pm (UK time). Whilst Chelsea host Newcastle on Saturday in the 5:30pm (UK time) kick off. Both these two sides face off at Stamford Bridge in the second leg on Thursday the 24th of January.

Check out Chivers and Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris’s Post-match analysis podcast on Sportstalkline.com later this week.

By Danyal Khan

Chelsea vs Nottingham Forest 2-0 Match Report and Player Ratings article

An Alvaro Morata double in the second half, helped Chelsea pick up a comfortable 2-0 win in the 3rd round of the FA Cup at home to Nottingham Forest, in Cesc Fabregas’s farewell game.

The main story coming into this game was that this game will most likely be Cesc Fabregas’s farewell game in a Chelsea shirt, ahead of his proposed move to Monaco, where he will reunite with Thierry Henry.

The Spanish Maestro, therefore, wanted a perfect send-off, and to achieve this he would have wanted to play the perfect game and maybe score or assist in his last appearance for the Club.

He had chances to achieve the perfect send-off in the 30th minute then had a chance from the penalty spot after Loftus-Cheek was fouled by a Forest defender. However his tame and stuttery effort was well saved by Luke Steele in the Forest goal to the Spaniards frustration.

Chelsea went into half-time 0-0, which was a bit of a worry as an upset could have potentially been on the cards if Chelsea didn’t step it up in the first half. However they did step it up, and in the 49th minute, a Callum Hudson-Odoi low cross into the Forest box was turned in well by Morata to give Chelsea a 1-0  lead in this tie.

The Blues then pushed on in the second half and got the second goal in the 59th minute, when Callum Hudson-Odoi’s was headed home by Morata who out jumped Yacob to give Chelsea a 2-0 lead.

Forest then came to the party after going 2-0 down and had chances to grab a consolation goal through Murphy and Osborn which were not taken to Chelsea’s relief, as that would have set up a nervy ending for the Blues.

Fabregas was then subbed in the 85th minute for Kante to a standing ovation from the Stamford Bridge faithful, as Chelsea saw out a 2-0 win against Forest.

Player and Manager Ratings

Chelsea (4-3-3)

Caballero- 6 (Didn’t have much to do)

Zappacosta- 7 (Delivered a lovely cross in the first half onto the head of Morata)

Christensen- 6 (Calm and composed performance from the Danish International)

Luiz- 7 (Good defensive performance, but also played some lovely balls out from the back to set up a few Chelsea attacks)

Ampadu-7 (Very solid performance in the midfield from the young Welshman. Made a few loose passes, but that’s expected of a young player)

Fabregas- 6 (Unfortunate to have his penalty saved by Steele)

Barkley- 5 (Average)

Loftus-Cheek- 7 (Subbed early due to back injury, but played very well in the first half- winning Chelsea the penalty)

Morata- 7 (Scored 2 goals, however, missed at least 3 sitters. The Spaniard could have scored 5 goals today)

Hudson-Odoi- 9 (MOTM- Excellent performance.  2 assists in this game for him. Showed today that Chelsea shouldn’t sell him to Bayern as he has a massive future at the club. He should really get some more game time now after that wonderful performance which may convince him to sign a new contract)

Subs;

Hazard- 6 (Didn’t do too much when he came on)

Azpilicueta- 7 (Stabilised the Chelsea backline when they were 2-0 up)

Kante- 5 (Came on very late, so had little time to impact the match)

Manager Rating- Maurizio Sarri- 7- Picked the right team in my opinion, considering all the injuries. Brought on Hazard too early in my opinion. He should have given Moses the chance to replace Loftus-Cheek. Hazard really needed rest as Chelsea need him to be 100% fit for their upcoming Carabao Cup Semi-Final first leg against Tottenham on Tuesday.

Nottingham Forest (4-2-3-1)

Steele- 8 (Made some excellent saves to keep Forest in the game. Made the save from the penalty and also made a wonderful save to deny Morata from close range in the first half. Also made a superb save from Hudson-Odoi in the second half)

Darikwa- 6 (Solid in the first half, but exploited in the second half)

Yacob- 4 (Poor for Morata’s second goal)

Fox- 5 (Average)

Janko- 6 (Solid in the first half, but exploited in the second half)

Colback- 7 (Solid in the midfield)

Guedioura- 7 (Was the only forest midfielder trying long shots in the first and second half)

Osborn- 6 (Had a good chance in the second half)

Carvalho- 5 (Quiet game)

Cash-5 (Quite game)

Murphy-6 (Had very little service. However had a chance from a corner in the second half which nearly ended up in the back of the Chelsea net)

Subs;

Lolley- 5 (Didn’t make a massive impact to the game)

Manager Rating- Aitor Karanka- 7- Picked a solid team. Still confused why Grabban wasn’t in the squad. He should be proud of his players for making it a competitive game against a top 6 Premier League side, especially in the first half.

Match Statistics (Credit- BBC Sport)

                                   Chelsea                         Nottingham Forest

Possession (%)             62                                        38

Shots                              23                                         12

Shots on Target            9                                             2

Corners                          10                                           5

Fouls                               4                                            11

Manager and Player Comments (Credit- BBC Sport)

Chelsea Assistant Manager: Carlo Cudicini

Carlo Cudicini, assistant to Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri, on Alvaro Morata: “It was very important for him to score two goals, which can only be good for his confidence.

“We are all pleased with his performance, but we were even when he didn’t score in previous games.

“Hopefully it will be good for his morale and hopefully he will be more free in his mind.

‘He’s a great striker, he has great qualities and now his confidence is back I’m sure he will keep on scoring goals for us.”

Cudicini on Hudson-Odoi: “He did very well; it was a very good performance – two assists and he worked very hard defensively.

“His commitment was great and you want him to have performances like that so he can put some doubts in Maurizio’s mind and be in contention for a place.”

Chelsea Player: Ross Barkley

Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley on Cesc Fabregas: “As a young lad, seeing Cesc play for Arsenal and then for Barcelona and Chelsea, you can see how intelligent he is. Playing with him has been a pleasure.

“He has played for Spain at a time when they were winning everything and he is going to go down as one of the best midfielders ever.”

Nottingham Forest Manager: Aitor Karanka

Nottingham Forest manager Aitor Karanka: “They were too good but the main thing for me was, when we were losing 2-0, we played like we normally would and we tried to press them high.

“It was difficult because it was the fifth game in two weeks and most of the players have played all of those games, so you can imagine how tired they are, and not just physically.

“I tried to change something tactically in the second half and we started to play, but the goal made it even more difficult.

“It is a day to take the good things, to know that we have a committed team on the pitch.”

Next games for both teams

Chelsea next play in the Carabao Cup next Tuesday in the 1st leg of their Semi-Final against Tottenham. Then they play on the weekend in the later kick off on Saturday against Newcastle at home in the Premier League.  Nottingham Forest play next Saturday in the Championship away to a Reading side who are in poor form in the Championship. However, the Royals gave a good account of themselves against Manchester United today in the FA Cup even though they lost 2-0. So this won’t be an easy game for Karanka’s side.

Check out Chivers and Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris’s post-match analysis podcast from this game, which will be on Sportstalkline.com soon.

By Danyal Khan

Watford vs Chelsea 1-2 Match Report and Player Ratings article

Goals; Watford- Pereyra (48′)

               Chelsea- Hazard (47′), (58′ Pen)

Two goals from Eden Hazard helped the forward reach a landmark for Chelsea, as the Blues overcame the Hornets by two goals to one, earning an important win on boxing day.

The Belgians two goals helped him earn his 100th and 101st goal for Chelsea. He now joins the likes of Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba to the landmark of scoring 100 plus goals for Chelsea.

Sarri’s side bounced back after their disappointing defeat against Leicester at the weekend, and with this win- they now reclaim fourth spot from Arsenal.

Both teams started the game brightly, with both teams having chances to make it 1-0 early on in the 8th minute. Firstly, Kepa’s mistake led to a massive chance for Watford, but Delofeu’s back flick failed to find Deeney who would have had a tap-in, but Chelsea smothered it clear to Kepa’s relief.

Then down the other end, Kovacic slipped Willian through, and the Brazilian rounded Foster then rolled his shot towards the Watford goal but unluckily hit the outside of Foster’s post. That chance came in the expense of Kabasele who clattered into the post and then was subbed for Mariappa minutes after.

Pedro came off injured towards the end of the first half and was replaced by Callum Hudson-Odoi, who made his first Premier League appearance this season in Sarri’s side.

Going into 4 minutes of injury time at the end of the first half, the game went up a notch, with Chelsea pouncing on a Capoue mistake, leading to Hazard being played through by Kovacic, and the Belgian rounded Foster and placed his finish into the empty net, to earn him his 100

two minutes 17 second later though, from a corner, Watford hit back. With Pereyra finishing off a well-worked Hornets set piece superbly to draw the side from Hertfordshire level going into halftime. That goal right on the stroke of half-time would have been a big psychological blow to Sarri’s side, going into the second half.

Chelsea started the second half better, and through balls from David Luiz and Hazard nearly found Kante in on goal twice, but a mixture of last-gasp defending and a bad touch from Kante prevented Chelsea from having two real good chances to make it 1-2 really early on in the second half.

However, Chelsea’s better start in the second half  paid dividends in the 55th minute, when a lovely ball from Jorginho put Hazard through 1-on-1, and the Belgian was clattered by Foster and that resulted in a Chelsea penalty, which Hazard calmly rolled home for his 101st goal for Chelsea.

Chelsea did have chances to kill off the game. however the likes of Willian, Kante and Jorginho failed to add to the Blues slender 1-2 lead.

Watford nearly made Chelsea pay for not finishing the game off late on, when Troy Deeney muscled his way in front of David Luiz, and the English target man’s effort from a cross from the left hand side was poked just over Kepa’s bar to David Luiz’s relief.

The game ended in a frantic manner but Chelsea held on for an important win to get themselves back in the top 4.

Hazard reached a landmark for Chelsea

Hazard has now reached a landmark of scoring over 100 goals now for Chelsea after his two goals today.

And he made some interesting comments after the game to Sky Sports; “101 goals with this amazing club is something I will never forget. Now me, the fans and this club want more. I will try to be a legend like Terry, Drogba and Lampard.” Does this suggest that he will sign a new contract and commit his long term future to the club, by stating that he wants to be a Chelsea Legend?

Mixed fortunes for Hudson-Odoi

The young English talent came off the bench to replace the injured Pedro in the first half, to gain his 1st appearance under Sarri in the Premier League this season.

However, he was subbed off in the 85th minute to the sound of boos amongst the Chelsea fan base who showed displeasure towards Sarri for that decision, and initially it looked like it was for tactical reasons. And if that was the case, then that would be seen as a ludicrous decision by Sarri. But many people on social media think that he had an injury, so it still needs to be cleared up by Sarri what happened.

The Blues end Watford’s mini unbeaten run in the league

Watford were 3 unbeaten in the League coming into this game, and this was seen as a chance to get a win against Chelsea at home, but the Blues ended that good run for the Hornets, and also that win for the Blues wiped out the bad memories of last seasons 4-1 hammering to the side from Hertfordshire.

Player and Manager Ratings

Watford (4-4-2)

Foster- 5 (wiped out Hazard for Chelsea’s winning goal from the spot)

Kiko- 5 (average)

Cathcart- 5 (Opened up by Chelsea on quite a few occasions)

Kabasele- 6 (Unfortunate to go off injured after the Willian chance. Hope he recovers soon. but showed determination to get back and prevent what he thought would be a Chelsea goal)

Holebas- 7 (Dealt with Hudson-Odoi well)

Sema- 5 (Failed to convert his chances)

Doucouré- 6 (Solid on the whole

Capoue- 3 (Made a massive mistake for Chelsea’s opening goal)

Pereyra- 7 (Brilliant goal from the set piece)

Deulofeu- 7 (Good on the whole, but David Luiz dealt with him well)

Deeney- 8 (Won every aerial battle against Chelsea’s defence. Caused Rüdiger multiple problems)

Subs;

Mariappa- 6 (Did a good job when he came on for Kabasele)

Quina- 6 (Didn’t have enough time to make a noticeable impact)

Success- 6 (Didn’t have enough time to make a noticeable impact)

 

Manager Rating- Watford Manager: Javi Gracia- 7- Team selection spot on. Selecting the same team that had got Watford on a good run. But unfortunately for him, the quality shone through from the opposition.

 

Chelsea (4-3-3)

Kepa- 5 (Dodgy today. Nearly made a fatal error to gift Watford the first goal of the game, but Deulofeu didn’t punish him)

Alonso- 4 (Caught out defensively too much on the left side)

Luiz- 7 (Solid. Better of the centre backs today for the Blues)

Rüdiger- 5 (Sloppy on quite a few occasion. Lost the aerial battles to Deeney)

Azpilicueta- 6 (delivered some lovely crosses in attack, but was caught out defensively)

Kovacic- 8 (One of his best games for Chelsea. Got an assist for Hazards first goal)

Jorginho-  6 (Bit too slow in possession, but played a lovely ball to Hazard who earned a penalty from that lovely attack)

Kanté- 6 (Played well on the whole. Missed a few chance though)

Willian- 7 (One of his better games, but he still didn’t score)

Pedro- 4 (Unfortunate to get injured, but didn’t do much when he was on the pitch)

Hazard- 9 (MOTM- Was brilliant for Chelsea today. Showing that he can play the false 9 in Sarri’s attacking system)

Subs;

Hudson-Odoi- 7 (Good cameo. surprised when he was taken off)

Barkley- 5 (His cameo from the bench showed why Loftus-Cheek is better in the midfield)

Emerson- 6 (Helped Alonso out on the left side when he came on to defend)

 

Manager Rating- Chelsea Manager: Maurizio Sarri- 8- Initially i thought that he was stubborn for picking the same team that lost against Leicester. But his persistence paid off in the end and his side responded after their disappointing defeat against Leicester.

Match Statistics (Credit- BBC Sports)

Watford                                        Chelsea

Possession (%)                35                                                  65

Shots                                      10                                                  10

Shots on Target                2                                                    4

Corners                               3                                                    5

Fouls                                    15                                                  5

Manager Comments after the game(Credit- BBC and Sky Sports)

Watford manager Javi Gracia told Sky Sports: “I think we competed very well. I think we started the second half well by pressing high, but in that moment if you make a mistake they can score a second goal. Maybe after we scored our goal, in that moment we were playing better but we conceded the second.

“We know they are a very good team and maybe if there was another decision when we were playing and Gerard Deulofeu goes into the box, maybe it could have been different. I think it was a penalty.”

On the Watford goal: “We try to practice different corner kicks and I am happy for the goal but today it was not enough. We will try to improve and be better.

On Christian Kabasele: “At this moment I do not know anything because he is not with us, he is in the hospital.”

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri told BBC Sport: “Maybe Saturday in the first half we played with more quality than today. We had more attention and our determination continued for 90 minutes. We could have won with another result because in the last 20-25 minutes we missed opportunities. At the end of the match, we did very well, especially mentally.

“Eden Hazard can play in every position. He played very well with two goals and could have had two or three assists. He can play with team-mates very well.

“We don’t know how much Pedro is injured, we will evaluate tomorrow. That is the same problem with Callum Hudson-Odoi. He had a little injury a few days ago, yesterday it was good and he managed 50-55 minutes. We thought it was better to substitute him.

“We have to try to stay close to the top four. The target this season could only be to stay close and to enter into the Champions League. Liverpool are playing really well especially with the continuity to win the Premier League.”

Position in the PL table

Chelsea jump back into fourth decision after thier victory tonight. They have 40 points, and are only four points off third placed Manchester City, after the Sky Blues lost 2-1 away at Leicester earlier today. The Blues have also taken advantage of Arsenal dropping points against Brighton today. The Blues are two points ahead of fifth placed Arsenal, and eight points ahead of sixth placed Manchester United. Whereas for the Hornets, they drop to ninth position after Leicester and Everton both won earlier today. Watford have 27 points- level with Everton but below them on goal difference. And only one point off the foxes in seventh position.

Next games for both teams

Watford are next in action on Saturday at home to Newcastle at 3pm, looking to get back on the right track after their tight loss today against Chelsea. Chelsea face a tough match away to Crystal Palace on Sunday at 12pm as they look to build some momentum after their tight 1-2 win against Watford tonight.

Check out Chivers and Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris’s Post match analysis podcast later this week on Sportstalkline.com

Also Check out my podcast with Hannah on ABDHFootball later this week, where we will review all the boxing day action in the Premier League.

By Danyal Khan

 

Chelsea vs Leicester 0-1 Match Report and Player Ratings article

Goals; Chelsea- none

           Leicester- Vardy (51′)

A Jamie Vardy goal was enough for Leicester to shock Chelsea at the Bridge and end the Blues unbeaten home run.

The early signs were worrying for the foxes in this game, as the match settled into an attack versus defence game in the first half. But for Leicester, they kept Chelsea to not having any shots on target for the first 30 minutes of the game.

However saying that, the Blues should have been 1-0 up in the 17th minute, when Pedro flicked on a Willian corner, and an onrushing David Luiz just had to make contact with his head to nod the ball into the net, but the Brazilian completely missed the ball, and therefore the ball drifted wide of Schmeichel’s far post. The foxes escaped on that occasion. Willian also squandered a good chance for Chelsea early on.

And the foxes were lucky to escape in the 32nd minute when Hazard spun Maguire from a free kick, and his effort smashed Schmeichel’s bar. The bar denied the Belgian his 100th goal for Chelsea on that occasion.

Amazingly, with how lucky the foxes were not to be 1-0 down at half-time,  they could have taken the lead just before half-time when Ndidi’s shot from 30 yards produced an outstanding save by Kepa to keep the scores at 0-0 going into half-time.

Chelsea huffed and puffed in the first half but just couldn’t find a way to get a goal in the first half.

The second half was a completely different story, with Leicester starting the brighter, and their efforts paid off in the 51st minute when Pedro gave the ball away, and Maddison slotted in Vardy who finished well past Kepa to give the foxes a valuable 0-1 lead at the Bridge.

Chelsea didn’t really come into life until the 90th minute when Rüdiger header from a corner somehow flashed wide of Schmeichel’s target. And Chelsea’s best chance came in the dying moments of the game when Kanté slotted in Alonso who was played through 1-on-1 by the Frenchman, and his shot cannoned off the inside of the post and rolled away to Leicester’s relief, and to Chelsea’s frustration.

This famous win for Leicester ends Chelsea’s unbeaten home record, and most importantly for the foxes, relieves the pressure on Claude Puel.

 

Player and Manager Ratings

Chelsea (4-3-3)

Kepa- 7 (Made some great saves to keep the score at only 0-1)

Azpilicueta- 6 (prevented a second Leicester goal  with a great block, but was awful in the attacking phase of the game. Couldn’t cross a ball)

Luiz- 4 (Sliced open for Leicester’s first goal)

Rüdiger- 4(Sliced open for Leicester’s first goal)

Alonso- 4 (Missed a massive chance at the end to level for Chelsea)

Jorginho- 4 (Kept misplacing passes)

Kovacic- 3 (Offered nothing to the game today)

Kanté- 5 (Looked lost in Sarri’s system today)

Pedro- 2 (Diabolical today)

Willian- 3 (Awful like Pedro. Should have put Chelsea in the lead within the first five minutes)

Hazard- 8 (Created most of Chelsea’s chances)

Subs;

Loftus-Cheek- 6 (Played much better than Kovacic when he came on)

Giroud- 4 (Offered nothing to the game when he came on)

Fabregas (Awful when he came on today)

Manager Rating: Maurizio Sarri- 5– Should have started Loftus-Cheek, and should have made the changes of withdrawing Willian and Kovacic at half-time.

 

Leicester (4-3-3)

Schmeichel- 8 (Made some excellent saves to deny Hazard)

Chilwell- 8 (Played very well in the attacking and defensive phase today)

Maguire- 8 (Solid in defence)

Morgan- 8 (Solid in defence)

Pereira- 7 (Really good performance from the wingback today. Caused alot of havoc bombing forward today)

Choudhury- 9 (Excellent for such a young player. Controlled the midfield and has had two good performances in a week against Chelsea today and Manchester City in the Carabao Cup)

Mendy- 7 (Brilliant in the midfield today)

Ndidi- 8 (Nearly scored a worldie in the first half, but was denied by Kepa)

Maddison- 8 (Got a brilliant assist for Vardy’s goal)

Albrighton- 6 (Had a few chances, but probably was Leicester’s poorest attacker)

Vardy- 8 (Very well taken goal today. Showing Chelsea how to finish chances when 1-on-1)

Subs;

Gray- 5 (Didn’t make an impact when he came on)

Iheanacho- 7 (Had a decent cameo when he came on)

Manager Rating: Claude Puel- 9- Massive result to relieve the pressure on him.

Match Statistics (Credit- BBC Sport)

                                      Chelsea                                  Leicester 

Possession (%)                72                                              28

Shots                                  17                                               8

Shots on Target                 5                                                3

Corners                                9                                               5

Fouls                                    10                                              9

Position in the Premier League table

Chelsea fails to leapfrog Tottenham in the table, and this defeat means that the Blues only remain in the top 4 on goal difference, ahead of Arsenal who beat Burnley today. Both the Gunners and the Blues now have 37 points going into Christmas.

Leicester moves up to 9th in the table with this famous win at Stamford Bridge, with 25 points. This Leicester win would have made their former owner Vichai very proud.

 

Next games for both teams

Both teams are next in action on boxing day, with Leicester hosting Manchester City at home at 3pm (UK time). Manchester City will be looking to bounce back after their shock defeat to Crystal Palace today!

Chelsea play Watford away from home in the London derby at 7:30p. (UK time)

Check out Chivers and Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris’s post-match analysis podcast for this match on Sportstalkline.com later this week.

Also remember to check out my Isco opinion piece, and my piece on who I think Sarri needs to sell in the next two transfer windows.

By Danyal Khan

Brighton vs Chelsea 1-2 Match Report and Player Ratings

Goals: BHA- March (66′)

             CHE- Pedro (17′), Hazard (32′)

Two goals in the first half from Pedro and Hazard were just enough, as Chelsea saw off a late Brighton resurgence to pick up 3 vital points on the South Coast in the Premier League, as they beat Brighton 2-1 at the Amex Stadium.

Surprisingly, the game started at a good tempo, with Brighton being the first team to threaten Chelsea’s defence in the 13th minute when Solly March had his effort inside the Chelsea box blocked.

However as the first half progressed, Chelsea took control of the game and grabbed the first goal of the game in the 17th minute, when Hazard’s shot was blocked from outside the box. The ball then came back to Hazard who dribbled past a couple of defenders and passed the ball across the box for Pedro to tap in for his 6th goal in the Premier League this season. Hazard has added to his assist tally with Chelsea’s first goal.  He now at this point had 8 assists so far for Chelsea this season.

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Although replays did show that Alonso was offside in the build-up to the first goal, even though he wasn’t directly involved. So the Blues were perhaps fortunate to be 1-0 up in this game.

Chelsea were nearly the makers of their own downfall in the 29th minute when Kovacic gave the ball away in his own half under no pressure to March, who took on a shot from long range, and his attempt was well held by Kepa. However, on another day, that could have been 1-1!

But Brighton were the makers of their own doing for Chelsea’s second goal, when Balogun loosely gave the ball away to Willian, who slotted through Hazard 1 on 1, who calmly finished past Matt Ryan to grab his 8th goal of the Premier League season, and ended his 2 month drought without any goals for Chelsea after his brilliant start this season for Maurizio Sarri’s side.

So at halftime, Chelsea looked fairly comfortable. The question was, could they add to their lead in the second half, or would Brighton find the belief like Wolves did, and overturn a deficit at halftime against Maurizio Sarri’s side? If Brighton were to get back in this game, it looked like they would have to expose Alonso in the second half, as he looked the weakest link in the Chelsea defence in the first half.

The Second half started the way the first half ended, with Chelsea in control. And they should have gone 0-3 up in the early stages of the second half, as Azpilicueta delivered a lovely ball across the box and it just evaded Hazard and landed to Willian at the far post who teed up Pedro who’s effort was fired over the bar from close range.

They had another chance to kill the game off fully in the 63rd minute when Alonso’s long-range shot smashed the post. So unlucky, but were Chelsea going to rue these chances?

Well Brighton grew into the second half at the midpoint, and from a corner in the 65th minute, had a chance to pull one back, when Balogun peeled off his man from a corner at the back post and headed back across the box, however, no one was there to apply a finishing touch as Chelsea scrambled it clear. That was definitely a warning sign there for Chelsea that this game wasn’t over yet.

Brighton pulled one back in the 66th minute when Bernardo’s header at the far post was hooked in well past Kepa to get Brighton right back into the game at 1-2. That was Brighton’s first ever goal against Chelsea in the Premier League!

In the midst of that goal, Sarri wanted to bring on Ruben Loftus-Cheek, however, the fourth official pointed out a problem with his socks and therefore delayed the substitution to Maurizio Sarri’s frustration.

There was a moment of controversy in the 87th minute when Bissouma slipped in March who looked to be in on goal, however, Alonso pulled down March and only received a yellow card. To the letter of the law, that should have been a red card and Alonso was fortunate to stay on there!

Brighton’s last chance of the game came in the 92nd minute when Dunk headed wide to Chelsea’s relief as they collected 3 vital points on the South Coast.

So Sarri would have been impressed with Chelsea’s first-half performance and their start to the second half, however, they dropped off as the second half went on. For Brighton and Chris Hughton, they only came alive midway through the second half- so it was a little bit too late for Brighton, in the end, to gain a point, as they left their resurgence too late.

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Match Statistics (Credit- BBC Sport)

                                    Brighton                           Chelsea

Possession (%)          42                                      58

Shots                               6                                         10

Shots on Target          2                                          3

Corners                         4                                          1

Fouls                              14                                         6

 

Manager and Player Comments (Brighton and Chelsea official Twitter accounts)

Brighton Manager: Christ Hughton

On his team’s overall performance;

“We have to take the positives from how we finished the game. We were up against a very good side — whether it was at home or away, they’ve spent big money and brought in exceptional players.

“They’re a team that will be pushing at the top end of the division, so we have to understand that and respect that.

“But I thought we were in the game for large periods, and that’s what you want. I can’t fault the effort our players put in, particularly in the second half.

“We said ‘if you can get that first goal back, anything can happen’. If one of those scrambles in the last few minutes goes in, then it’s a different outcome.”

On Chelsea’s Performance;

“We were up against a very talented team that had two chances in the first half and scored two goals. It showed how clinical they can be.

“We started the game well, but you can’t give them the leg up of going behind, because they’ll capitalise on that.

“You’re then looking for a response and I think we gave that in the second half. We’ve left today disappointed with the result, but overall we’re not disappointed with the performance.”

On the Alonso yellow card situation;

“Having seen it again, I think some referees would have given it, but I can see the doubt in it.

“But there’s no doubt that Alonso should have been on a yellow card anyway. He pulled back Anthony Knockaert, which is always a yellow card.

“With that being a yellow card, the second incident should have been a sending off. Those are my thoughts at the moment.”

Chelsea Manager: Maurizio Sarri

Maurizio Sarri says we could have won better as we played very well for 60 minutes but conceded when we were in full control. Therefore we had to face long balls into the box in the last five minutes.

Sarri reports Eden Hazard is okay. He has a knock but it is not a big problem and will need just one or two days of rest

Sarri says he tried to make the substitution bringing on Loftus-Cheek two minutes before it happened. In that time we conceded the goal which disappoints him.

Chelsea Player: Eden Hazard

Chelsea forward Eden Hazard on whether it was important to score his first goal for the club in nine games: “No. I like to score, but it’s not important for me. The most important thing is to win games. I just enjoy my football and that’s why I’’m on the pitch.”

On Brighton pulling a goal back: “We knew before the game that we need to score the third goal. When it’s 3-0 it’s harder for teams to get back. But we didn’t and conceded – you feel the pressure. But we managed the game well.”

On keeping pace with the leaders: “We want to be top of the league at the end of the season. We know Man City and Liverpool are good teams – we don’t want the gap to be big.”

On the responsibility of leading the line: “I always play with the same ability and quality. As a winger and striker, I just try to enjoy my football.”

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Player and Manager Ratings

Brighton (4-3-3)

Ryan- 6 (Didn’t have to make too many saves. Had to pick the ball out of the back of his net twice)

Montoya- 6 (Good in the attacking sense, delivering dangerous ball’s into the Chelsea box, but was suspect defensively)

Balogun- 4 (Poor on the whole. Gave away the ball for Chelsea’s second goal)

Dunk- 5 (Solid for most parts. Nearly equalised in the last minute)

Bernardo- 7 (Same as Montoya, however, the only difference was that he got the assist fro Brighton’s goal)

Groß- 6 (Didn’t make a huge impact on the game)

Stephens- 6 (Took out Hazard on multiple occasions)

Pröpper- 6 (Solid on the whole)

Knockaert- 5 (Didn’t really make a huge impact on the game, and therefore was subbed off for Locadia)

March- 8 (Got the goal to get Brighton back into the game. Also had a chance in the first half which Kepa saved well)

Murray- 4 (Starved of service for the whole game)

Subs;

Andone- 7 (Made a good impact to the game and caused the Chelsea defenders a few problems before the end of the game)

Bissouma- 6 (Made a few good passes when he came on)

Locadia- 5 (Didn’t have a lot of chances to impact the game)

Manager Ratings; Chris Hughton- 6- The only mistake he made for this game was not starting Andone, as he caused more problems to Chelsea’s defence in a shorter time period than what Murray did.

Chelsea (4-3-3)

Kepa- 6 (Good save in the first half from March, however, could have done better for March’s goal in the second half)

Alonso- 5 (Hit the post, but was so suspect defensively in the whole match. Should have been sent off at the end as well)

Rüdiger- 6 (Solid for most of the game. Looked a little shaky at the end of the match when Brighton pushed for the equaliser)

Luiz- 6 (Same as Rüdiger)

Azpilicueta- 7 (Much better than Alonso in the defensive phase)

Jorginho- 5 (Didn’t really do a lot today)

Kanté- 7 (Looked very positive in the attacking phase today and also put in a good shift defensively)

Kovacic- 4 (Poorest out of the midfield 3. Nearly cost Chelsea in the first half after giving the ball away sloppily, leading to March having a chance)

Pedro- 8 (Excellent link-up play with Hazard and Willian especially in the first half. Good goal)

Willian- 7 (Played alright, but didn’t impact the game as much as Pedro and Hazard did)

Hazard- 9 (Excellent in the first half with grabbing 1 goal and 1 assist. However he was hacked out of the game in the second half)

Subs;

Loftus-Cheek- 7 (Very positive when he came on. Driving forward and causing problems to the Brighton defence)

Barkley-5 (Not too good when he came on)

Giroud- 5 (Had more defending to do when he came on compared to attacking)

Manager Ratings; Maurizio Sarri-8- Set up his team well continuing with the false 9 which worked. Only criticism is that he should have brought Giroud on a little earlier.

Position in the Premier League table

Chelsea remain in 4th place with 37 points, and they were helped when Southampton shocked Arsenal 3-2 in the other 1:30pm match.  This means that Chelsea are now 3 points in front of 5th placed Arsenal who have 34 points. Chelsea are also only 2 points off 3rd placed Spurs as they scraped a late 1-0 victory over Burnley yesterday. For Brighton, they drop 2 places to 13th place with 21 points.

Next games for both teams

Chelsea are next in Carabao Cup action midweek when they face Bournemouth in the quarterfinals of the League Cup at Stamford Bridge at 7:45pm (UK time). Both teams are next in Premier League action next weekend, with Brighton facing an out of form Bournemouth away from home at the Vitality Stadium, next Saturday at 3:00pm (UK time). Chelsea also play next Saturday at 3:00pm (UK time) at home to Claude Puel’s Leicester City.

Check out Chivers and Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris’s Post Match analysis podcast for this match on Sportstalkline.com later this week

Also, Check out the ABDH Football podcast on Monday as myself and Hannah will be reviewing all the action from this weekend’s Premier League games as we get closer to Christmas!

By Danyal Khan

 

 

Vidi vs Chelsea 2-2 Match Report and Player Ratings article

Goals; Vidi- Ampadu O.G (32′), Nego (55′)

             Chelsea- Willian (30′), Giroud (75′)

Olivier Giroud’s wonder free kick goal was enough for Chelsea to maintain their unbeaten run in the Europa League, as they drew 2-2 away in Budapest against Vidi.

Chelsea weren’t too dominant at the start of the game, after both teams had chances to open the scoring with Vidi having chances through Nikolov and Nego to give Vidi a valuable 1-0 lead. Morata had the best early chance for Chelsea with a header from a corner which evaded Barkley and rolled into Kovacsik’s hands.

But, after a slow but positive start for both teams, Chelsea took the lead in the 30th minute when Willian’s driving run lead to a free-kick in a dangerous position. And from the resulting free-kick, Willian placed his shot on target which evaded Kovacsik in the Vidi goal to give the away side a 0-1 lead in Hungary.

However it didn’t take long for the hosts to respond, as from a corner in the 32nd minute, Juhasz flicked header was inadvertently turned into his own net by Ethan Ampadu to bring the hosts level at 1-1.

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Vidi looked the much better side as half-time approached and should have went 2-1 up when Nego’s shot after a lovely free-flowing Vidi move was well saved by Caballero.

Before half-time, Morata picked up a knee injury after an awkward landing  from his flicked chance at goal which rolled into the keepers arms, from a Callum-Hudson Odoi’s cross. Giroud replaced the Striker before half-time. Chelsea now only have 1 fit striker going into the busy Christmas period, highlighting the fact that they will need to strengthen in that area in the upcoming January transfer window…

Surprisingly the hosts started the second half better and had an early chance through Stopira which he headed over from a corner. Chelsea then went straight down the other end and Willian had 2 attempts well blocked by Vidi defenders. That End-to-End tempo carried on until the end of the game.

The hosts took a surprise lead in the 55th minute, when Milanov’s cross was met by Nego, who volleyed superbly past the helpless Caballero to give the Hungarian side a 2-1 advanatge in the final game in Group L.

After that goal, it was all Chelsea as they looked to push on an equaliser to stop their unbeaten record in the Europa League ending tonight in Hungary.

Giroud had 2 chances to get that equaliser for Chelsea, but his mistimed attempt and  bullet volley both missed the target. Pedro then had a scuffed effort in the 71st minute which rolled just wide of the Vidi goal. It looked like it wouldn’t be Chelsea’s day and that Vidi would record a famous win over the London club in Hungary.

Although in the 75th minute, Giroud’s attempt from a free kick curled and looped over the Vidi defender on his own goal line and in to the top corner to salvage Chelsea a point in Budapest.

Both teams then looked to win the game in the last few minutes, but neither team could find a winner and therefore the game ended in a 2-2 draw which would probably had satisfied both teams, as Vidi got a precious point against a big club, and Chelsea maintained their unbeaten record in Group L. However their 100% winning record in Group L ended tonight in Hungary.

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Mixed Fortunes for Chelsea youngsters tonight

Callum Hudson Odoi delivered a very promising performance tonight for the Blues in attack. However, at the opposite end of the pitch, Ampadu didn’t have a great performance tonight after he scored an own goal to level the game up for Vidi.

Chelsea now short on Striking Options

Chelsea only have two established strikers at the club – excluding those out on loan – and they could be down to one depending on the severity of Morata’s injury

Eden Hazard – who was rested for this game – started up front in Sunday’s 2-0 win over Manchester City and might be needed to reprise that same role again.

Chelsea Fringe Players fail to impress

Players like Emerson Palmieri, Ross Barkley, Davide Zappacosta, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Fabregas did little to stake a place in the first-choice line-up. Will Sarri use any of these players for the weekend? The only players that could be used by Sarri on the weekend are the likes of Loftus-Cheek and Barkley, but Sarri is more than likely to play a midfield 3 of Jorginho, Kante and Kovacic away at the Amex Stadium on the weekend.

Match Statistics

                                 Vidi                         Chelsea

Possession (%)       24                                76

Shots                          6                                  18

Shots on target          3                                   5

Corners                        3                                   11

Fouls                             15                                  14

 

Manager Comments (Source- Chelsea’s Official Twitter)

Chelsea Manager- Maurizio Sarri;

 Maurizio Sarri said at his post-match press conference that he was very happy with his players’ character having gone behind, adding there were however plenty of mistakes from a tactical point of view.

Sarri said that  he doesn’t think the injury Alvaro Morata picked up is too serious, but we will find out more tomorrow. The Italian admitted that  he was very pleased with the performances of Ethan Ampadu and Callum Hudson-Odoi tonight, pointing out the number of changes we made to the team as a whole made it harder for them.

Player/Manager Ratings

Vidi FC (4-3-2-1)

Kovacsik- 5 (Didn’t make any noticeable saves in the game)

Fiola- 8 (Excellent defending against the likes of Willian and Hudson-Odoi)

Juhász- 7 (Solid defending and got the assists for Ampadu’s own goal with his flicked header)

Vinicius- 6 (For the most parts was solid)

Stopira- 7 (Made good runs going forward)

Nego- 9 (MOTM) (Excellent goal and excellent performance)

Hadzic- 5 (Average)

Nikolov- 6 (Solid)

Milanov- 7 (Got the assist for Nego’s wonder goal)

Huszti- 6 (Contributed to Vidi’s positive attacking performance)

Scepovic- 6 (d=Delivered the cross which eventually lead to Ampadu’s own goal)

Subs;

Kovács- 5 (Didn’t impact the game)

Hodzic- 5 (Didn’t impact the game)

Patkci- 5 (Didn’t impact the game)

 

Manager Rating: Marko Nikolic- 7- picked his best side which ended up getting a famous 2-2 draw against Chelsea.

Chelsea (4-3-3)

Caballero- 7 (Made a superb save by Nego in the first half)

Emerson- 6 (Good in the attacking sense. But a little suspect defensively)

Ampadu- 5 (Scored an own goal, but other than that, he was average)

Christensen- 5 (Average)

Zappacosta- 6 (Good in the attacking sense like Emerson but was suspect defensively)

Barkley- 6 (Won the free kick which Giroud scored from)

Fabregas- 5 (Slow in the midfield)

Loftus-Cheek- 7 (best out of the midfield 3)

Hudson-Odoi- 7 (Promising glimpses from the youngster)

Morata- 3 (Unfortunate to pick up an injury. But before the injury had such a negative body language and lazy attitude)

Willian- 8 (Excellent free-kick and looked Chelsea’s most dangerous player today)

Subs;

Giroud- 8 (Scored a wonder free kick but could have had a hatrick)

Pedro- 7 (Wasn’t as good as Willian)

Manager Rating: Maurizio Sarri- 6- Picked a good enough team to win the game. Also gave chances to a few Chelsea youngsters which was a positive.

Position in Europa League table

Chelsea finished this years group stages of the Europa League at the top of Group L, with a points total of 16 points with a goal difference of +9. Vidi failed to qualify for the knockout rounds as BATE claimed second spot after their impressive 1-3 win away in Greece against PAOK today. Vidi had to better the BATE result which was highly unlikely before the kick off due to the fact that they were playing Chelsea. Vidi therefore finished in 3rd place with a reasonable points total of 7 points. They had a goal difference of -2.

Next games for both teams

Both teams are next in League action at the weekend, with Chelsea taking on Brighton away in the Premier League on Sunday at 1:30pm (UK time). Vidi host Ferencvaros in the Hungarian League this Sunday at 7:15 (UK time). Vidi wont be in Europa League action now as they were knocked out. Chelsea on the other hand, will have to wait to see who they will face in the Round of 32. But potential teams that the Blues could face are the likes of Shaktar, Galatasaray, Brugges or Victoria Plzen.

By Danyal Khan

Check out the ABDHFootball podcast this Friday where we will discuss all the Champions League and Europa League action.

Wolves vs Chelsea 2-1 Match Report and Player Ratings article

Goals: Wolves- Jimenez (58′) D.Jota (62′)

              Chelsea- Conor Coady own goal (17′)

Jiménez and Jota quickfire goals in the second half, was enough for Wolves to upset Chelsea in the Premier League.

Unsurprisingly, Chelsea came out of the blocks faster  and an early wayward attempt from Hazard demonstrated the Blues intent to put alot of pressure on the Wolverhampton backline from minute 1 to minute 90. The game was open from the start, with both teams looking to attack each other.

However, Chelsea took the lead in the 17th minute when a Ruben Loftus-Cheek shot from the edge of the box was inadvertently headed into his own net by an unlucky Conor Coady. That goal summed up Wolves’s poor form recently, as that was entirely bad luck for the Molineux side. The replays showed that the ball was on target, and it looked like Patricio was going to save it comfortably before Coady intervened accidentally to Chelsea’s favour. However it did go down officially as a Coady own goal rather than a Loftus-Cheek goal.

Chelsea had a few chances to extend their lead to 0-2 before the break, and their best chances to add to their lead fell to Willian. His first chance in the 22nd minute from a free kick on the left hand side of the box, was tipped over the bar superbly by the Portuguese keeper. However for his second chance a few minutes before half-time, a late Ryan Bennet challenge halted Willian from finishing off an inevitable 1-on-1. Wolves would have had their keeper and Bennet to thank if they were to gain any points from tonight’s game.

Wolves did create Chelsea a few problems in the first half, and one of their best chances fell to Jiménez in the 26th minute when his header was guided just over Kepa’s bar. However their best chance of the half came in the 36th minute, and a vital Cesc Fabregas intervention denied a certain goal for the bright Wolves youngster- Morgan Gibbs-White who was about to latch on to a pullback in the box before the Spaniard slide in superbly to deny Wolves an equaliser.

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So as we went into half-time, it was still all to play for as Chelsea had a slender 1-0 lead at a place where top 6 sides like Manchester City had dropped points earlier on in the season. So could Sarri’s men hold on and extend their lead to pick up an impressive win to solidify their top 4 spot going into the weekend, or will Nuno’s men up the intensity on the blues in the second half and turn this game around to gain 1 point or maybe 3?

The second half started the way the first half did, with Chelsea on top, but they had a chance to extend their 1 goal lead to 2 seconds after half-time when Loftus-Cheek’s ball was flashed across the box after beautiful link up play with Hazard, and Morata looked like he would tap in, however Boly did enough to put Morata off and send him in the net rather than the ball! Would that be the turning point of the game?

It was! As in the 58th minute, Morgan Gibbs-White piece of individual brilliance ended up with Jiménez who’s shot went straight through Kepa, who was probably at fault for that goal completely, which was unfortunate for the young Spaniard. Morgan Gibbs-White had a big part to play in Wolves levelling at 1-1!

Would Chelsea’s brittle and unreliable defence crumble? It did! and it was in controversial fashion. As Willian was dispossessed in midfield with the Brazilian complaining for a foul on him twice before the ball was nicked from him, however the referee waved away his complaints, and from that attack, a ball across the box from the Wolves wide player found Jota in acres of space inside the Chelsea box to tap in past Kepa to complete the comeback and make it 2-1 to Wolves? But the question remained, could Wolves hold out for a famous win which could reignite their season after a poor run?

The answer was yes, and Chelsea made it easy for them. You would have expected Chelsea to throw the kitchen sink at Wolves, but desptie Sarri bringing on Pedro, Giroud and Kovacic, they only created 1 good chance before the game was over and that was wasted by Fabregas in the 87th minute, when Marcos Alonso’s cutback fell to Fabregas inside the box, and he lifted his effort over Patricio’s bar.

This famous win for Wolves could reignite their season now. But for Chelsea, that is now 2 consecutive away defeats this season in the league! Title race over for them now, and all focus will be getting top 4 as the race for the top 4 is so tight.

Player and Manager Ratings

Wolves (3-4-3)

Patricio- 8 (Made an outstanding save from Willian’s free kick to keep the margin at only 0-1 in the first half)

Bennet- 8 (Made a vital challenge to deny Willian a 1-on-1 goal!)

Coady- 6 (Other than an own goal, was pretty solid tonight)

Boly- 8 (Made a vital challenge to deny Morata a tap in right after half-time)

Doherty- 7 (Caused Chelsea multiple problems down Chelsea’s left hand side)

Moutinho- 6 (Played some lovely passes, but on the whole was average)

Saiss- 5 (Average. Was close to being sent off)

Vinagre- 7 (Caused Chelsea problems down the right-hand side)

Gibbs-White- 9 (Outstanding in the second half! Brilliant assist for Jiménez equaliser)

Jiménez- 7 (Was pretty anonymous for most of the night, but when he was neaded, he provided the goods and equalised for Wolves)

Subs;

H.Costa-  7 (Did everything he needed to do when he came on)

Dendocker- 6 (Wasn’t on long enough- but did solidify Wolves’s midfield and helped them hold out for a win)

Manager Rating- Nuno Espirito Santo- 9- Got his tactics spot on! And his subs made an impact!

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Chelsea (4-3-3)

Kepa- 6 (Made a massive mistake for Wolves’s equaliser)

Azpilicueta- 6 (Solid but was caught out of Wolves’s second goal)

Christensen- 5 (Poor in the second half)

Rüdiger- 5 (Poor in the second half)

Alonso- 2 (Worst player on the pitch. Needs to be dropped for Emerson at the weekend as he looks tired)

Kanté- 5 (Average. Gave the ball away on many occasions)

Fàbregas- 6 (Average, good for most part, but missed the vital chance to help Chelsea gain at least a point in the second half)

Loftus-Cheek- 8 (Excellent. Got the assist for the goal, but looked very sharp and could be Sarri’s answer to Chelsea’s midfield problems)

Willian- 4 (Lethargic for most part. At fault for the second goal completely!)

Hazard- 6 (Average for his standards)

Morata- 5 (Average. Didn’t have too many chances)

Subs;

Pedro- 6 (Looked better than Willian)

Giroud- 5 (Didn’t have enough time to impact the game)

Kovacic- 5 (Added nothing to the midfield when he came on)

Manager Rating- Maurizio Sarri- 5- Did rotate his side, but it was clear that he needs reinforcements in January- especially a new Striker, a new Right Winger and a new centre back as Christensen has proved tonight and in his other appearances this season that he is not good enough for this Chelsea team.

Match Statistics

                               Wolves                    Chelsea

Possession (%)         30                            70

Shots                            6                              17

Shots on Target          2                               3

Corners                         1                               5

Fouls                              18                            10

Position in PL table

Chelsea slip to 4th in the table on goal difference after Tottenham’s 3-1 win over Southampton lifts them to 3rd place- 2 points ahead of the Blues. However, Arsenal’s point at Old Trafford tonight means they are level on  points with Chelsea, but are 5th on goal difference, but the Gunners would expect Chelsea to slip up against Manchester City meaning that if they beat Huddersfield on Saturday then they could leapfrog Chelsea into 4th! So Chelsea’s top 4 position is in danger after this damaging defeat at the Molineux tonight against a resurgent Wolves side! For Wolves they are in 12th place with 19 points, but the main point for them tonight was to end the rot… And they did that with a famous win against a lethargic Chelsea side in the second half.

Next games for both teams

Both teams are back in action this weekend, However Chelsea play on Saturday 8th December where they take on the Champions, Manchester City at Stamford Bridge at 5:30pm (UK time), whereas Wolves travel to Newcastle on Sunday to take on the Northern club at 4:00pm (UK time).

Check out Chivers and Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris’s post match analysis podcast after the game tonight which will be posted later this week on Sportstalkline.com

By Danyal Khan