Match ends, Chelsea 1, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1.
Chelsea 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers: Hazard rescues point for Chelsea
Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri is "confident" his side can secure a top-four finish after Eden Hazard scored a stoppage-time equaliser to rescue a point against Wolves at Stamford Bridge.
Hazard curled into the bottom corner in the second minute of added-time to deny Wanderers a memorable victory and ensure Chelsea remain unbeaten in the Premier League since their 6-0 thrashing at Manchester City last month.
The draw keeps Chelsea in sixth, two points behind fifth-placed Manchester United and three points adrift of Arsenal in fourth, albeit with a game in hand on all the sides above them.
"When you have to play only 10 matches, every match you're not able to win is a missed opportunity," Sarri said. "In the last six matches, we won four matches and drew the other two. So there is a little consistency in this moment.
"We have one match in hand, so we have to be confident."
Raul Jimenez finished off a swift counter-attacking move to put Wanderers ahead with their only shot on target nine minutes into the second half.
That looked to be enough, particularly when substitute Willian saw his curling effort well saved by Rui Patricio late on, but Hazard struck to salvage a draw with his 16th goal of the season.
Despite only managing two attempts on goal all game, Wolves may feel aggrieved at only securing a point having defended diligently, restricting Chelsea to half-chances and efforts from distance.
Chelsea only had one shot on target during the first half, an effort from Gonzalo Higuain from a tight angle that was comfortably pushed behind by Patricio.
Sarri's side improved after going behind, with Pedro having a shot tipped over before Higuain failed to convert when the ball flashed across the box following a corner.
It was hard to see Chelsea scoring as the game entered added time but Hazard showed neat skill to turn away from Ruben Neves and finally beat Patricio from 18 yards.
Hazard secures unlikely point
Chelsea were looking to maintain momentum after back-to-back wins in the Premier League had eased some of the pressure that had been growing on Sarri after his side's thrashing at Etihad Stadium last month.
Another loss here may well have put his position under scrutiny once more, but Hazard's late intervention makes it three league games without defeat and seven points from nine since that defeat to the champions, though they have exited the FA Cup and lost the Carabao Cup final on penalties during that timeframe.
After making a number of changes for Thursday's Europa League last-16 first leg win over Dynamo Kiev, Sarri restored many of his key players to the starting line-up, including Hazard and N'Golo Kante.
However, they were subdued for much of the game, particularly during the first half where they managed just one shot on target.
Chelsea enjoyed 75% possession but precious little of it was in dangerous areas, with Wolves content to sit back and look to hit on the counter.
Half-hearted penalty claims were turned down when Hazard's corner hit Jimenez on the arm as he attempted to clear.
Romain Saiss then had to be alert to clear the ball away from Hazard after Willy Boly's headed clearance inadvertently landed in his path.
Jimenez's goal after the break jolted Chelsea into action, with Pedro and Higuain going close, but it took a dramatic intervention from top-scorer Hazard to finally breach the Wolves backline.
|Race for the Premier League top four|
|17 March Everton (A)|
|31 March Cardiff (A)||30 March Watford (H)||31 March Liverpool (A)|
|1 April Newcastle (H)||2 April Wolves (A)|
|7 April Everton (A)||8 April West Ham (H)||7 April Brighton (H)|
|15 April Watford (A)||14 April Liverpool (A)||13 April West Ham (H)||13 April Huddersfield (H)|
|20 April Crystal Palace (H)||22 April Burnley (H)||21 April Everton (A)||20 April Manchester City (A)|
|24 April Man City (H)|
|29 April Leicester (A)||28 April Man Utd (A)||28 April Chelsea (H)||27 April West Ham (H)|
|4 May Brighton (H)||4 May Watford (H)||4 May Huddersfield (A)||4 May Bournemouth (A)|
|12 May Burnley (A)||12 May Leicester (A)||12 May Cardiff (H)||12 May Everton (H)|
|Wolves (A) Date TBC||Brighton (H) Date TBC||Crystal Palace (H) Date TBC|
Wolves continue to impress
They may have only managed one shot on target, but this was far from a smash-and-grab by Wolves.
The Black Country club have won more points against the 'big six' sides than any other club outside that group and have also taken points away at Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham this season.
That success has been achieved by being well organised in defence but also having a clear gameplan to counter-attack with speed.
That plan worked to perfection when, having restricted Chelsea to half-chances, Wolves struck with their first shot at goal 11 minutes into the second half with a move that started in their own penalty area.
Boly's clearance found Joao Moutinho, who immediately found the onrushing Jimenez. The Mexican striker strode forward and exchanged passes with Jota, before forcing the ball beyond Kepa Arrizabalaga via a deflection off Cesar Azpilicueta.
Wolves were forced deeper as Chelsea pushed for an equaliser but held firm, with captain Conor Coady marshalling the back three.
Leander Dendoncker also proved to be an efficient screen in front of the defence, with no Wolves player making more tackles or interceptions than the Belgian.
The fact Wolves, promoted from the Championship last season, are disappointed to only take a point is testament to the progress they have made this campaign.
But they can take plenty of encouragement from this performance as they prepare for their FA Cup quarter-final against Manchester United next weekend.
Man of the match - Leander Dendoncker (Wolves)
'We missed a very great opportunity today' - what they said
Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri told Match of the Day: "We were a bit unlucky because we conceded the goal in their first situation inside our box after 55 minutes. We need to move the ball faster and play one or two touches not five or six like today so we have to do better when we face a team that doesn't want to play.
"It is very difficult to play against 10 opponents in the last 25 metres. They [Wolves] were not organised, they defended very low, they didn't need any organisation in that case.
"We tried to change with [Ruben] Loftus-Cheek because he is a good presence in the opposing box and [Callum] Hudson-Odoi because to have someone able in the one-on-one situation is very important.
"In the last 20 minutes we played a new system, 4-2-3-1. For Jorginho it is very difficult to play when the other players don't have movement without the ball. When I decided to play 4-2-3-1 Jorginho was not suitable.
"In the last minutes we were losing so we have to accept the result. We missed a very great opportunity today but we have nine opportunities."
Wolves boss Nuno Espírito Santo, speaking to Sky Sports: "We performed well. It was the individual quality of one Chelsea player which allowed them to score.
"My players are sad because they know they had it. They've done a fantastic job. We were very organised and played with a great shape."
Wolves captain Conor Coady, speaking to Sky Sports: "When you give Eden Hazard a chance on the edge of the box he is always going to score.
"It was so disappointing to concede so late. It's a sucker punch at the end.
"There's no real fear from us coming to places like this. We know we can sit deep and attack on the counter. Our goal was outstanding but we're gutted."
Wolves still unbeaten in London - the stats
- After a five game winning run against promoted sides at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea have now failed to win two of their last four such home matches in the Premier League (P4 W2 D2 L0).
- Wolves are now unbeaten in six league games in London this season (W3 D3), their longest such run in the capital in the top-flight since November 1974 (11 games).
- Of the clubs not in the 'big six', Wolves have picked up at least two more points against that group than any other Premier League team this season (P9 W2 D4 L3 - 10 points).
- Eden Hazard's equaliser was his 50th Premier League goal at Stamford Bridge for Chelsea, becoming the third player to do so for the club in the competition after Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba.
- Only Cesc Fabregas (6) has assisted more Premier League goals for Chelsea's Eden Hazard than Willian (5).
- No player has scored more Premier League goals within a single season for Wolves than current striker Raul Jiménez (12 - also Steven Fletcher in 2011-12).
- Wolves duo Diogo Jota (one goal, two assists) and Raul Jiménez (two goals, one assist) have directly combined for each of their sides last three Premier League goals.
Chelsea take a 3-0 lead into their Europa League last-16 tie away at Dynamo Kiev on Thursday (17:55 GMT). Wolves take on Manchester United live on BBC One in an FA Cup quarter-final at Molineux next Saturday (19:55 GMT).
- 2RüdigerBooked at 78mins
- 30David Luiz
- 5JorginhoSubstituted forWillianat 72'minutes
- 17KovacicSubstituted forLoftus-Cheekat 56'minutes
- 11PedroSubstituted forHudson-Odoiat 61'minutes
- 10E Hazard
- 11Rui Patrício
- 27SaïssBooked at 66mins
- 15BolyBooked at 75mins
- 2DohertyBooked at 37mins
- 28João Moutinho
- 19Castro Otto
- 9JiménezSubstituted forTraoréat 89'minutes
- 18JotaBooked at 80minsSubstituted forGibbs-Whiteat 82'minutes
- 10Hélder Costa
- Michael Oliver
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Chelsea 1, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1.
Attempt missed. Adama Traoré (Wolverhampton Wanderers) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by João Moutinho following a set piece situation.
Foul by N'Golo Kanté (Chelsea).
Adama Traoré (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Offside, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Rúben Neves tries a through ball, but Morgan Gibbs-White is caught offside.
Attempt missed. Antonio Rüdiger (Chelsea) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.
Goal! Chelsea 1, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1. Eden Hazard (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Willian following a corner.
Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Leander Dendoncker.
Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Matt Doherty.
Attempt blocked. Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Gonzalo Higuaín.
Attempt blocked. César Azpilicueta (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Willian.
Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Adama Traoré replaces Raúl Jiménez.
Attempt blocked. Emerson (Chelsea) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Willian with a cross.
Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Rui Patrício.
Attempt saved. Willian (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Emerson.
Offside, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Matt Doherty tries a through ball, but Raúl Jiménez is caught offside.
Foul by Callum Hudson-Odoi (Chelsea).
Willy Boly (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Morgan Gibbs-White replaces Diogo Jota.
Diogo Jota (Wolverhampton Wanderers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
David Luiz (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Diogo Jota (Wolverhampton Wanderers).
Antonio Rüdiger (Chelsea) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Antonio Rüdiger (Chelsea).
Diogo Jota (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Raúl Jiménez.
Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Rúben Neves.
Attempt blocked. Willian (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Willy Boly (Wolverhampton Wanderers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Willy Boly (Wolverhampton Wanderers).
Eden Hazard (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by João Moutinho (Wolverhampton Wanderers).
Substitution, Chelsea. Willian replaces Jorginho.
Emerson (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Leander Dendoncker (Wolverhampton Wanderers).
Attempt saved. Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
Attempt blocked. Antonio Rüdiger (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Attempt missed. Gonzalo Higuaín (Chelsea) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Callum Hudson-Odoi with a cross.