Pedro Neto strikes late to hand Wolves dramatic 2-1 win over Chelsea

Daniel Podence cancelled out Olivier Giroud’s opener before Neto hit Chelsea on the break at the death to complete Wolves’ comeback.

Victory would have taken Chelsea top but they slipped to a second-straight defeat following Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Everton.

Wolves also had a penalty overturned after referee Stuart Attwell initially awarded a late spot-kick for Reece James’ foul on Neto, while Kurt Zouma hit the crossbar for the visitors in the first half.

Fabio Silva again got the nod to deputise for the recovering Raul Jimenez for the hosts and had a goal ruled out for offside.

But it was Neto and Podence who continue to fill the void left by Jimenez – out with a fractured skull – and they have scored 53 per cent of Wolves’ 13 goals this term as they sit two points further back in 10th.

In contrast, nine of Chelsea’s starting line-up had notched in the top flight – although Timo Werner failed to get a telling connection on Christian Pulisic’s cross after 15 minutes.

The visitors dictated the early play but their best chance came from a set-piece when Giroud should have opened the scoring after 20 minutes instead of heading Ben Chilwell’s corner over.

Wolves had been pinned back but they briefly threatened when Silva’s flick allowed Neto to strike from the edge of the box but Edouard Mendy turned the ball behind.

The hosts had grown into the game and were keeping Chelsea from feeding the dangerous Giroud, while Kai Havertz’s impact had been minimal.

Rui Patricio did not have a save to make but he was almost beaten a minute before the break when Zouma’s towering header thumped the crossbar.

The rebound hit Giroud a yard out and dropped wide as Wolves survived but they were breached just four minutes after the restart.

Giroud did not dwell on his miss and was in position to get ahead of Willy Boly and fire in a sharp volley from Chilwell’s cross.

It caught Patricio by surprise and squirmed over the line before the goalkeeper clawed it back, with goal-line technology awarding the opener.

Wolves responded well though and Silva had the ball in the net only to be denied by a correct offside call and fine defending from Thiago Silva denied Boly.

Chelsea had failed to build on the opener and were punished after 66 minutes when Wolves levelled.

Podence always looked the most likely to inspire the hosts and the forward struck when he sold Chilwell and James dummies before his shot clipped James and flew past Mendy at his near post.

It set up a frantic finish and Wolves thought they had a penalty with 10 minutes left after Neto went down under James’ challenge.

There was minimal contact and referee Attwell reversed his own decision after checking the pitchside monitor.

But Wolves continued to pile forward and found a winner in stoppage-time when they broke quickly and Neto teased Zouma before drilling low into the corner.

Premier League Preview: Everton v Chelsea

Lampard’s team arrive at Goodison on the back of a nine-game unbeaten Premier League run and a strong result on Merseyside will keep the pressure up on Spurs and Liverpool.

Hakim Ziyech is the only new injury doubt for Lampard ahead of the weekend after the Moroccan was forced off against Leeds last time out.

Christian Pulisic looks the most likely to fill in for him on the wing with Olivier Giroud and Kai Havertz set to hold on to their starting spots.

The injury situation is more complex for Toffees boss Carlo Ancelotti as he looks to pick up their first home points since October.

Injuries to full back pair Lucas Digne and Seamus Coleman gives the Italian a headache in defence but the absence of playmaker James Rodriguez will be an even bigger concern for Ancelotti.

Ben Godfrey is expected to cover for Coleman again with promising youngster Niels Nkounkou stepping in for Digne.

Rodriguez’s is irreplaceable in this Everton team but Ancelotti is set to call on Gylfi Sigurdsson to bridge the creativity gap.

Kick off will be a late on tomorrow night on the Blue half of Merseyside with an 8pm start at Goodison Park.

West Ham eyeing Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud

Giroud has had a brilliant week for the Blues, scoring 4 times in the Champions League win over Sevilla before helping Chelsea briefly go top of the Premier League with a 3-1 win against Leeds United.

However, things haven’t always been plain sailing at Stamford Bridge for the ex-Arsenal striker, which is where West Ham come in.

The 34-year-old has been unhappy with the lack of game time afforded to him by Chelsea boss Frank Lampard, who has preferred to use Tammy Abraham and Timo Werner upfront so far this season rather than the big Frenchman.

In fact, reports have even claimed that Chelsea won’t stand in the way of a Stamford Bridge departure for Giroud in the hunt for regular first team football.

France manager Didier Deschamps, a former Chelsea player himself, has suggested that if Giroud wants to be included in the national team squad for next summer’s European Championships, he needs to ‘change his situation’.

West Ham are well aware of this and may offer the striker an escape route in the form of a switch from West to East London.

A player of Giroud’s quality is still capable of scoring goals in the Premier League and the Hammers are said to be keen to swoop if he becomes available.

There are no concrete leads on this yet and it is purely rumour – but certainly a move to West Ham gives Giroud the option to stay in London, stay in the Premier League, and stay in the frame for France selection.

Chelsea cruise to 3-1 Premier League win over Leeds United

An impressive performance from Frank Lampard’s side keeps them firmly in the title race thanks to goals from Olivier Giroud, Kurt Zouma and Christian Pulisic.

Despite the final result, it was the visitors that started the brightest, as former Blues forward Patrick Bamford bagged his eight goal of the season.

Kalvin Phillips’ pass caught the Chelsea backline out of position and Bamford kept his cool to tuck past Edouard Mendy.

Chelsea did look to quickly react to that setback as Timo Werner’s deflected onto the bar and Illan Meslier denied Mason Mount.

But the with the traffic all heading in one direction, Giroud hauled the Blues level on the half hour mark.

Reece James delivered a perfect ball into the box and the Frenchman got across his man to finish at the front post.

Both sides showed plenty of drive after the restart with vital missed chances at either end as Raphinha tested Mendy and Werner brought a brilliant stop from Meslier.

But the Blues didn’t have to wait much longer for a second as Zouma escapes his marker to power home Mount’s corner.

That goal seemed to edge the final stages for Chelsea as Meslier was called into action again to deny Giroud and Werner.

And Lampard’s side finally snatched that all important third goal in added time as Captain America Pulisic slid home from Werner’s pull back.

Full Time at Stamford Bridge it’s Chelsea 3 Leeds United 1

Chelsea and Tottenham battle out 0-0 Premier League draw at Stamford Bridge

Lampard stretched his unbeaten Premier League run over Jose Mourinho to three games in one of the more forgettable London derbies.

Neither side created much in a busy opening half an hour, with Timo Werner offside goal the closest to a breakthrough.

Spurs seemed happy to leave the Blues in possession in the first 45 minutes with Serge Aurier and Harry Kane testing Edouard Mendy from distance.

Chelsea continued to edge it in a scrappy start to the second period as Tammy Abraham skidded a header wide of Hugo Lloris’ post.

Lampard threw on Olivier Giroud to try and force a winner in the closing stages and the French striker almost punished Joe Rodon’s error in added time but Lloris reacted smartly to save a point for Mourinho.

Full Time at Stamford Bridge it’s Chelsea 0 Tottenham 0

Premier League: Chelsea vs Tottenham Hotspur

Both sides have made excellent starts to the season, putting busy European schedules aside to mount early title challenges.

Spurs are the leaders of the pack at the minute, and come into the game having rested many of their big names in a routine 4-0 win over Ludogorets on Thursday night.

With that in mind, Spurs should have a fully-fit Harry Kane to call upon, as he continues his excellent start to the season looking for his 17th goal involvement in just his tenth game. The England striker has seven goals and nine assists so far, most of which have been laid on for Son Heung-Min, who also enjoyed a night off on Thursday.

Despite their packed schedule, Spurs actually won’t have too many injuries to contend with when they visit the Bridge, with Toby Alderweireld and Erik Lamela the only definite absentees. Japhet Tanganga made a return from injury in the win over Ludogorets and could return to the squad to contend with Joe Rodon and Davinson Sanchez to partner Eric Dier at centre-back.

Giovanni Lo Celso is also a doubt with a knock, but after scoring 35 seconds after coming on as a sub in the win over Manchester City last weekend, could still make the squad from the bench.

Chelsea had to work a little harder than Spurs on Tuesday night, needing a late winner from Olivier Giroud to edge past Rennes and qualify for the Champions League last 16 with a 2-1 win.

Manager Frank Lampard also has practically a full squad to choose from for the visit of Spurs, with Christian Pulisic available after recovering from a hamstring injury which has seen him miss most of the start of the season.

Thiago Silva played 90 minutes against Rennes and should continue alongside Kurt Zouma, after missing last weekend’s win over Newcastle through fatigues from international duty.

Sunday will mark Roman Abramovich’s 1000th game in charge of Chelsea and also the last game the Blues will have to play in front of an empty stadium, with 2,000 fans ready to be allowed into Stamford Bridge when Leeds United are the visitors on December 5th.

And they could come back as their team tops the league, as a win over Spurs could send Chelsea top of the pile if Liverpool fail to beat Brighton on Saturday.

Chelsea take on Spurs at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, November 29th. Kick-off is at 4.30pm.

James and Giroud enjoy International milestones

Reece James and Olivier Giroud might be on the same wavelength at Stamford Bridge, but their respective international careers are poles apart.

It’s been an exciting week for Reece James and his family, with the 20-year-old earning his first England call up.

Ironically, James’ call up was down to the misbehaviour of some of his clubmates, whose withdrawal from the England camp due to a breach of coronavirus protocol left gaps in Gareth Southgate’s squad.

A surprise birthday party for Blues teammate Tammy Abraham was deemed to have been against Covid-19 guidelines, with Chelsea defender Ben Chilwell also attending and having to self-isolate along with Abraham and Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho.

Step up Reece James, who earned his first England cap off the bench in Thursday’s 3-0 win over Wales at Wembley to mark the start of a fledgling international career.

Fellow Chelsea man Olivier Giroud meanwhile earned his 100th cap for France on Wednesday night in a 7-1 crushing of Ukraine in Paris.

Not only did the striker reach the century of senior international appearances, but he also marked it with a brace.

The 34-year-old may well be steps ahead of Reece James in terms of experience, but his swivelling left-footed strike fizzed past the goalkeeper and rippled the Ukraine net for his first goal, a strike more resemblant of someone 15-years his junior.

The evergreen hitman’s double takes him to 42 goals for Les Blues, just 9 behind Thierry Henry in the all-time French goalscoring charts.

And with Giroud still looking fresh as a daisy, you’d back him to beat that tally – just as you’d back Reece James to continue his pathway to a long and successful career, much like the Frenchman.

Crystal Palace nearing Batshuayi loan move

The Belgian striker is out of favour at Stamford Bridge, having fallen behind Tammy Abraham, Olivier Giroud and new signing Timo Werner.

And with the delayed Euro 2020 next summer, Batshuayi is keen to get first-team football to ensure he makes it into Roberto Martinez’s Belgium squad when the time comes.

The 26-year-old has signed a one-year contract extension at Stamford Bridge, and will join Palace for the second loan spell in two years, having spent six months at Selhurst Park in the second half of the 2018-19 season.

During that time, the former Marseille striker scored five goals in 11 Premier League appearances and will be hoping to have a similar impact when he completes this move.

Palace are in need of strikers having struggled to find the net last season, and are set to lose Alexander Sorloth thanks to a clause in his contract that seems to have backfired on the Eagles.

The Norwegian striker scored 32 goals for Trabzonspor last season after joining on a two-year loan, and the move can be made permanent for a fee of £5.5m.

The Turkish side are expected to trigger that clause as they have qualified for the Champions League next season after finishing second in the league, but could also turn a quick profit on the forward, with RB Leipzig interested.

Chelsea 2-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers: Mount stars as Blues earn Champions League spot

Mount’s inch-perfect dead-ball strike put Chelsea ahead in first-half stoppage time, before the 21-year-old teed up Giroud for a fine finish less than three minutes later.

Those two goals sealed Chelsea a fourth-placed finish in Frank Lampard’s maiden campaign at the Stamford Bridge helm.

The 33-year-old Giroud became the oldest man to score in five consecutive Premier League starts, swiping that record from Leicester’s Jamie Vardy.

Wolves’ defeat meant the Molineux men failed to finish sixth, with Tottenham sneaking ahead of them instead with their draw at Crystal Palace.

England midfielder Mount proved his huge value to Lampard’s Chelsea yet again, toasting his 51st appearance of the season with a man-of-the-match turn.

Mount has become Chelsea’s first academy graduate to make more than 50 appearances in all competitions in his debut senior campaign at the club.

The versatile creative talent left his most important league contribution to last, however, as the west Londoners finally rubber-stamped Champions League qualification.

Back in November, Mount posted a social media video of his younger self scoring a free-kick in Chelsea academy training, and talking through his dead-ball style.

“I try to base my free-kick on Ronaldo, hit the ball by the valve, and it moves; that’s all you do, top corner,” said the fresh-faced Mount in that throwback clip.

That’s all Mount did with his free-kick against Wolves on Sunday. But even though the richly-talented midfielder has been making dead-eye dead ball finishes look easy all his life, his virtuoso performance here carries major repercussions for the Blues.

Timo Werner was on hand to watch his new team-mates seal that Champions League berth for next term, and the Germany striker will now be even more excited about what is in store after his £54million RB Leipzig switch.

Champions League qualification will doubtless boost Chelsea’s pursuit of Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz, and the further recruits that the Blues will certainly chase this summer.

Lampard’s bold move to drop Kepa Arrizabalaga for veteran Willy Caballero not only paid off as the Blues pulled off a clean sheet – but could also offer another sign of Chelsea’s intent to seek a new goalkeeper this summer.

Caballero performed adeptly as the Blues hit back from their 5-3 midweek humbling at Liverpool to shut out Wolves.

But at the age of 38 he is obviously not Chelsea’s long-term option, and Lampard is not hiding his dissatisfaction with Kepa’s form.

For the day itself Caballero fitted the bill however, and could now well retain his place for the FA Cup final against Arsenal.

At the death of a gritty first-half devoid of gilt-edged chances for either side, the Blues took control.

First Mount stepped up and whipped home a fine free-kick, then he played in Giroud for the Frenchman’s astute finish.

Not only did Giroud clip the ball away from Rui Patricio, the in-form hitman then hustled around Wolves skipper Conor Coady to angle home on the slide.