Chelsea back to winning ways against Wolves
Chelsea eased the pressure on manager Andre Villas-Boas on
Saturday by sweeping to a 3-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers
at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League.
Captain John Terry settled the home team’s nerves by heading
home Juan Mata’s corner in the sixth minute, Daniel Sturridge
slipped his marker to tap home Mata’s cross just before the half
hour and the Spaniard added the hosts’ third in the last minute of
the first half.
Beaten 2-1 last weekend by Liverpool, Chelsea had slipped in the
domestic standings and then lost 2-1 to Bayer Leverkusen in the
Champions League in midweek, costing Villas-Boas’ side an early
place in the last 16.
The result could have been a rout had it not been for a series
of excellent stops from Wolves goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey, the
highlight of which was a double-save from Sturridge and Mata
halfway through the second half.
The performance was hardly vintage Chelsea, who will come up
against much tougher opponents in the coming weeks, but the result
will help Villas-Boas, even though his team remained fifth after
Manchester United’s draw with Newcastle.
Chelsea went into the match having lost two of its last three
After a cagey opening five minutes, Chelsea took hold of the
game thanks to Terry’s opener.
Ramires stole the ball off aNenad Milijas and fired goalwards
only to see Hennessey tip the Brazilian’s effort wide with a
brilliant save. But from the resulting corner Terry lost his marker
to head Mata’s cross home from eight yards to give the Blues the
The Blues were cautious in possession and appeared to lack the
confidence to turn the screw on their opponents, but they suddenly
sprung to life to double their lead in the 29th minute. Mata sent
over a low cross that Sturridge tapped home from close range after
muscling past his marker.
Hennessey spilled Sturridge’s powerful shot over the bar just
before the break and Mata made it 3-0 on the stroke of half-time
when he was given room to beat Hennessey from 12 yards.
Hennessey pulled off an excellent save to stop Ramires’ powerful
volley after the break as Chelsea looked to start the second half
in the same way it had ended the first.
Wolves looked a much more confident outfit in the second half,
however, and almost pulled one back when Sylvan Ebanks-Blake
threaded Stephen Ward through, but the Irishman’s shot trickled a
couple of yards wide.
Didier Drogba, who had been quiet for most of the match,
hammered a powerful drive just wide while Hennessey was scrambling
across his goal-line.
Frank Lampard, dropped for Oriol Romeu, received a huge welcome
when he came on in the 69th minute in the place of Raul Meireles.
Hennessey then pulled off an excellent double save from point-blank
range to deny Sturridge and then Mata.
The home crowd demanded Fernando Torres’ introduction, and
Villas-Boas finally unleashed the former Liverpool man in the place
The Spaniard darted in to the Wolves box, keen to make an
impact, but his fierce shot was deflected wide.
Torres once again stormed the Wolves penalty area but failed in
his audacious attempt to lob Hennessey from 18 yards as the clock
ticked towards 90 minutes.