Stamford Bridge turned on Mauricio Pochettino and his Chelsea side as they were deservedly humbled 4-2 by Wolves on another miserable afternoon for the Blues.
The hosts were booed off at the end of both halves while fans chanted the name of former owner Roman Abramovich as they shipped four goals for the second time in five days, though this display was even worse than their dismal defeat at Liverpool on Wednesday.
Chelsea briefly led through Cole Palmer’s smart finish from Moises Caicedo’s excellent threaded pass but things instantly fell apart once Matheus Cunha levelled up with a significantly deflected equaliser.
There was a stroke of fortune to that goal and the more costly Axel Disasi touch which would hand Wolves the lead, but the visitors made their own luck by remaining compact and patient while their hosts grew increasingly frustrated.
There was a concerning lack of improvement from Chelsea after the break and they instead found themselves two goals behind from the best move of the game, when Pedro Neto sped past Thiago Silva and squared for Cunha to add a third.
Things went from bad to worse for the beleaguered Blues, who saw Raheem Sterling booed after he was substituted midway through the second half, when Malo Gusto’s rash challenge on Cunha earned Wolves a stonewall penalty, which the Brazilian dispatched coolly to seal his hat-trick – and elicit another chorus of jeers from the home stands.
There was something to cheer for the Chelsea fans still remaining at Stamford Bridge when Silva headed home a corner four minutes from time, but there was little to paper over the cracks of another despondent showing and a first home defeat to Wolves since 1979.
Chelsea: Petrovic (5), Gusto (4), Disasi (5), Silva (5), Chilwell (3), Caicedo (3), Fernandez (4), Palmer (6), Gallagher (5), Sterling (4), Nkunku (4).
Subs: Jackson (4), Mudryk (3), Chukwuemeka (4), Gilchrist, Badiashile (n/a).
Wolves: Sa (7), Kilman (8), Dawson (7), Toti (8), Semedo (7), Lemina (8), Gomes (9), Ait-Nouri (8), Sarabia (7), Neto (8), Cunha (10).
Subs: Doyle (7), Bellegarde (5), Bueno, Doherty (n/a).
Player of the match: Matheus Cunha.
Chelsea patience wears thin as Wolves run riot
Chelsea’s recent home form has been their one shining light in what has otherwise been a season to forget, with four consecutive league wins in West London the only thing stopping them plunging further into the mid-table mire.
The confidence blow of Wednesday’s 4-1 defeat at Liverpool clearly still affected Pochettino’s young side in the opening minutes, with Wolves twice gifted chances to strike. But they soon settled, and took a deserved lead inside 20 minutes when Caicedo threaded Palmer through and the Blues’ top scorer slotted home from 12 yards.
At that point, Stamford Bridge felt like it was becoming the fortress of old. How quickly it crumbled. Within three minutes Neto shrugged off Caicedo in the centre-circle and fed Cunha, who ran at the retreating Disasi and fired in an immediate equaliser courtesy of a big deflection off Silva.
Chelsea continued to push but found Wolves a tough nut to crack, and as they struggled to raise their intensity to find a way through, were caught out again when Neto found space behind Ben Chilwell and crossed for Gomes.
Again it took a Chelsea boot – this time Disasi – to take it past Dorde Petrovic, but again it was a problem of the hosts’ own making.
After they were roundly jeered to the dressing room at the interval, all expectations anticipated a reaction after the break, but Wolves could have added a third within 30 seconds of the restart and dominated the second half from start to finish.
Cunha’s second did not flatter the visitors, and instead exposed further holes in the Chelsea defence as Chilwell was again caught out upfield by Neto, leaving the winger to breeze past Silva and tee up Cunha, who topped off a smart late run into the box with a smart finish.
The Chelsea fans had seen enough and began to sing the name of former owner Abramovic as well as joining Wolves’ chants at their own expense, before Sterling was loudly booed when he was substituted for Mykhailo Mudryk 18 minutes from time.
That still left plenty of time for Chelsea’s afternoon to get worse. After Gusto’s rash challenge on Cunha, who steadied himself to bury the resulting penalty for his hat-trick, the away end’s celebrations were drowned out by more frustrations from the home fans still inside Stamford Bridge.
By the time of Silva’s late consolation from a corner, there were few remaining to cheer a rare moment of joy for the hosts with most already attempting to process another Chelsea defeat, which sees Wolves jump above them and into the top half of the Premier League table.
Pochettino: We are all not good enough – me included
Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino:
“I think we are all not good enough, that’s the reality. Myself also, as the first person responsible. Of course, what we showed today was that we are not good enough. I agree, 100 per cent.
“We didn’t manage the situation properly, and I don’t want to come here and say I am the best and the players are the worst – but the players have to take responsibility as I do.
“We are not matching the history of the club. We need to accept it and be critical, but we cannot give up. We have to keep working, try hard to change, take decisions to try to find things in a different way if it’s not working in this way and find different solutions.”
O’Neil delighted by Wolves reaction from Man Utd heartbreak
Wolves manager Gary O’Neil:
“The lads deserve an awful lot of credit to be able to put in that kind of performance physically, to be able to emotionally recover from that setback on Thursday.
“To fight back to 3-3 against Man Utd and then concede a fourth, then go down 1-0 here, it would’ve been very easy to accept a Chelsea win everyone was expecting, but everyone managed to dig in and fight back, and stick together.
“I’m unbelievably proud of the players and the staff. In the summer we signed three players, and lost a lot of players. In January we weren’t able to strengthen, so everyone at the football club understands we need to maximise everything.”
Chelsea visit Aston Villa in the FA Cup fourth-round replay on Wednesday night before a trip to Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Monday Night Football, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 8pm.
Wolves host Brentford at Molineux in the Premier League on Saturday; kick-off 3pm.
Get Sky Sports on WhatsApp!
You can now start receiving messages and alerts for the latest breaking sports news, analysis, in-depth features and videos from our dedicated WhatsApp channel!
Find out more here…