Match report as Chelsea secured Champions League football at Stamford Bridge and Wolves slipped to seventh
Sunday 26 July 2020 21:41, UK
Chelsea secured the result they needed in beating Wolves 2-0 at Stamford Bridge to finish fourth in the Premier League and qualify for next season's Champions League.
Two goals in first-half stoppage time by Mason Mount and Olivier Giroud took the game away from Wolves, who will have to wait to find out whether their seventh-place finish will be enough for Europa League football next season.
That will depend on Chelsea beating Arsenal in the FA Cup final on Saturday and Frank Lampard's side will certainly go to Wembley with confidence after this win.
The Chelsea boss made the bold decision to axe Kepa Arrizabalaga for Willy Caballero and it paid off with the veteran goalkeeper keeping a clean sheet.
Chelsea: Caballero (7); Azpilicueta (7), Zouma (7), Rudiger (7), James (7), Jorginho (7), Kovacic (8), Alonso (7), Pulisic (7), Giroud (8), Mount (8).
Subs: Hudson-Odoi (6), Abraham (6), Pedro (n/a), Loftus-Cheek (n/a), Barkley (n/a).
Wolves: Patricio (6), Saiss (6), Coady (5), Boly (6), Doherty (6), Neves (6), Dendoncker (6), Jonny (5), Neto (5), Jimenez (5), Jota (5).
Subs: Traore (6), Moutinho (6), Podence (6), Vinagre (5), Jordao (n/a)
Man of the match: Mason Mount
In truth, Caballero did not have much to do. Although the tempo of the game was good early on, it appeared to be something of a stalemate with both teams playing 3-4-3 and chances at a premium.
The breakthrough came just before half-time when Pedro Neto was unfortunately adjudged to have fouled Marcos Alonso on the edge of the Wolves penalty box.
Mount stepped up and curled the ball expertly beyond Rui Patricio to give Chelsea the lead and within minutes the home side doubled their advantage.
Christian Pulisic, so impressive against Liverpool earlier in the week, fed Mount and he put Giroud through on goal. There was plenty for the Frenchman still to do but he rounded Patricio and got to the loose ball before Conor Coady to hook home.
Frank Lampard made two changes to the Chelsea team that were beaten by Liverpool. Willian’s injury allowed the in-form Christian Pulisic to come into the team but the fascinating swap came in goal where Kepa Arrizabalaga was dropped for Willy Caballero.
Nuno Espirito Santo made three changes to the team that beat Crystal Palace last time out. The Wolves manager dropped Joao Moutinho, Daniel Podence and Adama Traore to the bench with Romain Saiss, Pedro Neto and Diogo Jota coming into the starting line-up.
Nuno Espirito Santo attempted to find a way back into the game by introducing Adama Traore for the second half before making a triple substitution soon after, but Chelsea maintained their control.
Again, opportunities were minimal with Pulisic striking one shot over the bar and Mount dragging an effort wide, but the job had been done by that point with Wolves posing little threat.
Caballero was forced into one save by Diogo Jota but the visitors' only hope was for Crystal Palace to pull off a shock win over Tottenham and allow them to stay sixth.
That was not forthcoming and while Manchester United's win over Leicester denied Chelsea third spot, Lampard would have taken this result - and indeed this first season in charge.
"I am delighted with the performance going up against a Wolves team that have a lot of quality and are really difficult to play against," Lampard told Sky Sports.
"I just thought the discipline of the team was brilliant. We know that clean sheets have been a problem for us but [I was pleased with] the way that they have defended right until the end. Mason's strike was pure quality and Olivier Giroud did what he has been doing for us through this period. I am really proud of the team today. They have worked hard for that this year."
There is no rest for Chelsea as they aim to add silverware to the season by beating Arsenal in the FA Cup at Wembley on Saturday. The following weekend sees them travel to Munich to take on Bayern Munich in the second leg of their Champions League tie. Progress seems unlikely given that they lost 3-0 in the first leg at Stamford Bridge.
Wolves will have a keen eye on that FA Cup final against Arsenal, of course, but they still have Europa League commitments to attend to this season regardless of what happens at Wembley. Olympiakos visit Molineux on Thursday August 6 for the second leg of their round-of-16 tie after drawing 1-1 in the first leg in Athens.