Report and free match highlights as goals from Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic and Armando Broja’s first for Chelsea help the London side cruise to a victory which moves them fourth in the Premier League; Diego Costa returned to Stamford Bridge but was unable to inspire third-bottom Wolves
Chelsea cruised to a 3-0 win over managerless Wolves in Graham Potter’s first home Premier League game in charge to move fourth in the table and extend a poor start to the season from the visitors.
Diego Costa’s return to Stamford Bridge was a big talking point but the two-time Chelsea Premier League-winner was unable to trouble his former side, with Wolves, led by academy coaches Steve Davis and James Collins, on the back foot for much of the contest.
After passing up a series of chances, Chelsea eventually made their first-half dominance count when Kai Havertz (45+2) looped a header in off the far post and a relieved Christian Pulisic (54) – who could have had a hat-trick in that opening period – put the result beyond doubt after a smart exchange with Mason Mount, scoring his first goal of the season.
Costa, making his first Premier League start since May 2017, received a standing ovation from the home fans when he was subbed off on 57 minutes but even with the iconic forward in their ranks, Wolves had looked toothless in attack.
Wolves’ Diego Costa is given a standing ovation by Chelsea supporters
They have scored just three times in their nine league matches this season – as many goals as Chelsea ended up with in this match, when Armando Broja (90) stepped off the bench, beat the offside trap and fired in a late third – and his first for the club – to continue Potter’s unbeaten start in style.
As for the visitors, they have one win from nine games and look in need of inspiration.
How Chelsea cruised to victory
Chelsea had outplayed Italian title holders AC Milan here in the Champions League on Wednesday night and they were full of confidence in the early stages, with Conor Gallagher leading the charge down the right side, after darting back into his own box to make a block.
Gallagher, Havertz and Mount were all off target and Jorginho saw a shot saved by Jose Sa as Chelsea camped in the visitors’ half but it was Pulisic who was most wasteful. The American saw three good moments come and go inside half an hour and slammed the turf after planting an unconvincing header over the bar. He could not have done much more with a bending shot soon after though, which had Sa at full stretch.
- Chelsea made seven changes from their midweek win in the Champions League over AC Milan, with Conor Gallagher and Christian Pulisic among the starters, Reece James and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the bench, and Thiago Silva and injured Wesley Fofana out of the squad.
- Diego Costa started against his former club as one of three changes for Wolves, with In come, Toti and Adama Traore also coming in. Rayan Ait-Nouri dropped to the bench while suspended Ruben Neves and injured Pedro Neto missed out.
Wolves – who only tested Kepa with a routine stop from Joao Moutinho’s free-kick and saw a Matheus Nunes header go over just before the break – thought they had survived until half-time but on the stroke of the interval, Chelsea finally got their reward.
Kai Havertz celebrates after putting Chelsea ahead against Wolves
Mount found some space out wide on the right – much to the frustration of Costa – and crossed for Havertz to pull away from Nelson Semedo and lob a header over Sa and in off the far post.
The visitors – with 20-year-old midfielder Joe Hodge thrown on for his senior debut – began the second half with energy and intent but any hope of a comeback was stalled when Pulisic converted from a swift one-two with Mount.
Wolves coaches Davis and Collins used the opportunity to give 19-year-old Chem Campbell some more Premier League minutes as the game meandered to its conclusion but after Daniel Podence passed up the chance to play in Adama Traore, Broja’s late, angled finish demonstrated the cutting edge Wolves will have to find to get themselves out of trouble.
Potter: Rotation key to success
Chelsea boss Graham Potter: “It wasn’t easy. They never are in the Premier League, especially when we played on Wednesday. To recover and prepare isn’t straight forward but we have a committed group that are fighting for each other. We were disappointed not to score earlier than we did. Wolves started the second half well but maybe the second goal was the breathing space we needed and then for Armando to finish it off its great for us.
“We can’t succeed with just 11 players. And we can’t go with 11 until they fall down then play the next ones, that won’t be good for the group dynamic. The group is pushing for each other and it’s important everyone knows we can’t just deal with 11. It’s important we have a strong group, a strong collective. It’s difficult to achieve anything without that.”
Wolves’ Davis: We have to stay positive
Wolves interim boss Steve Davis: “We knew it was going to be a tough game with the injuries and suspensions we had. We rode our luck in the first half with some of the goalmouth scrambles but if we’d gone in 0-0 who knows. When were on top we had to get some opportunities on goal and take some chances. There were not enough people in the box taking risks.
“The mood was difficult, as you’d expect [at the start of the week]. We’ve had a great week’s training, the mood’s been good, we lifted it. We kept going, we worked hard and got the minutes into the lads we wanted. I’ve been positive in the dressing room after – and that’s key, we have to remain positive.”
England watch: Mount and Gallagher impress
After recent impressive performances from Leicester’s James Maddison, Mason Mount demonstrated his attacking attributes in a fine performance, crossing for Kai Havertz’s opener and then pulling off a brilliant reverse pass for Christian Pulisic to add the second.
His midfield colleague Conor Gallagher seized his own starting role, driving Chelsea’s play down the right side of the pitch in a performance which will have caught Gareth Southgate’s eye, after the England boss left him out of his last squad.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek has barely featured in recent times for the national side but was solid in central midfield, although Ben Chilwell was left on the bench and unable to get a runout like fellow sub Reece James.
Chelsea are back in Champions League action on Tuesday night as they travel to AC Milan, before visiting Aston Villa live on Sky Sports Premier League next Sunday.