Chelsea moved into fourth place in the Premier League with a 2-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Wolves’s caretaker manager Steve Davis gave their first start to Adama Traore for the season, and Diego Costa for the first time since Atletico Mineiro fielded him in December. Such was Wolves’ problem with injuries that they were not able to name a full complement of substitutes.
Chelsea boss Graham Potter left Raheem Sterling and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the bench and after a frustrating first half, it was Kai Havertz who nodded home in injury time.
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In the second half, it took less than 10 minutes for Christian Pulisic to score from an acute angle to finish a neat move, doubling the lead and keeping Wolves at bay, and Armando Broja added a late third.
Wolves fail to get out of the bottom three, and will host Nottingham Forest next weekend. Chelsea play AC Milan on Tuesday.
TALKING POINT – CHELSEA ARE BETTER ALREADY
It would not take a huge improvement given Chelsea’s squad had once again turned against their manager with an alarming drop-off following initial success, but Graham Potter is being rewarded, at the very least, for simply not being Thomas Tuchel.
The players had a frustrating first half until the breakthrough but their heads did not drop, and they scored three without having to call upon either Raheem Sterling or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
It is early days yet, but a resurgent Chelsea have the squad to start pushing Arsenal and Manchester City if they can find some consistency.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – CONOR GALLAGHER (CHELSEA)
It was not clear if he would even be a Chelsea player a few weeks ago, with Graham Potter keen on signing the player on a permanent basis when he was Brighton manager. However he stayed at Stamford Bridge and Potter eventually got his man, in an unexpected way. With a few games gone under the new manager, Potter seems to have sparked both Gallagher and Mason Mount back into life.
Chelsea: Kepa 7, Azpilicueta 7, Chalobah 7, Koulibaly 7, Cucurella 6, Jorginho 7, Loftus-Cheek 7, Gallagher 8, Mount 7, Havertz 7, Pulisic 7. Subs: James 7, Chukwuemeka 6, Kovacic 6, Ziyech 7, Broja 7.
Wolves: Sa 7, Semedo 6, Toti 6, Kilman 6, Jonny 6, Nunes 6, Moutinho 6, Adama Traore 6, Podence 6, Guedes 7, Costa 6. Subs: Ait-Nouri 6, Hwang 6, Hodge 6, Campbell 6.
2’ – GALLAGHER GOES CLOSE – The youngster is fed the ball in the right-hand side of the box and leaning back, he fires just wide.
20’ – MOUNT SHOT – Mount dances inside from the left with a clever touch but strikes a low shot at goal from the edge of the box, while wearing a beard.
23’ – SAVE! – Kepa leaps to his left to beat away a curling free kick effort from Moutinho.
45+2’ – GOAL! CHELSEA 1-0 WOLVES. HAVERTZ SCORES – Wolves struggle to clear their lines. Mount has room to angle in a cross to the back post, and Havertz loops in a finish for the goal.
54’ – GOAL! CHELSEA 2-0 WOLVES, PULISIC SCORES – Chelsea attack down the left, Pulisic plays a one-two with Mount into the box and he lifts the ball over Sa from a tight angle.
90’- GOAL! CHELSEA 3-0 WOLVES. BROJA SCORES – Broja the substitute pops up with his first Chelsea goal after he curls into the far corner.