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Chelsea beaten by Wolves as Pochettino’s woes continues

Mario Lemina celebrates after opening the scoring against Chelsea

Mario Lemina celebrates after opening the scoring against Chelsea

The Premier League’s first Christmas Eve fixture in 28 years is one that an increasingly worried Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino will want to quickly forget as goals from Mario Lemina and Matt Doherty added to his mounting problems.

A fourth successive league away defeat – Chelsea’s worst run on their travels since losing five in 2000 – has left the beleaguered manager with a mountain of issues to face over the second half of the campaign.

One of them is certainly at the back, as Lemina’s goal capped a strong spell for Wolves, either side of the break, and was the result of appalling defending from Pochettino’s side.

Pablo Sarabia’s right-wing corner flew into a penalty area packed with blue shirts but none challenged Lemina as he headed in a neat finish.

The slack defending was in evidence again, in the second minute of added time, when Hugo Bueno’s cross was met by Benoit Badiashile’s half-hearted clearance which substitute Matt Doherty turned in from 12 yards.

Matt Doherty celebrates Scoring against Chelsea

At the other end of the field, Chelsea’s fortunes in the new year may well rest with new signing Christopher Nkunku who scored a consolation four minutes later, heading in a Raheem Sterling cross from five yards.

Nkunku celebrate after scoring as a substitutes for Chelsea

Sterling was, by some distance, the most threatening attacking force on the pitch over the first 45 minutes but missed what was, also by some distance, the best chance of the half.

He created it himself just after the half-hour, pouncing on Joao Gomes as he struggled to control Jose Sa’s pass and quickly bore down on the Wolves keeper.

But, with two unmarked team-mates to his right, Sterling took on Sa and his shot was well blocked by the Portuguese keeper.

Raheem Sterling misses sitter for Chelsea as he fails to score, or indeed pass. in their Premier League match against Wolves

 

With one more match before the winter window, Pochettino will want to end 2023 on a high. Chelsea definitely need reinforcement and Georgian winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia looks like the right fit but a January deal looks very difficult to imagine.

Mauricio Pochettino though has to steady the ship and get Chelsea competing sooner rather than later. 

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