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Chelsea 2-2 Wolves: Conor Coady scores dramatic 97th-minute equaliser as Blues surrender two-goal lead

Report and free match highlights as Wolves fight back from two goals down to secure dramatic point at Stamford Bridge; Conor Coady scores 97th-minute equaliser after Trincao had reduced deficit; two Romelu Lukaku goals in 138 seconds had given Chelsea control

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Chelsea's draw against Wolves in the Premier League

Wolves came from two goals down to snatch a dramatic point at Chelsea as Conor Coady's 97th-minute header secured a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge in front of prospective new owner Todd Boehly.

Romelu Lukaku scored two goals in three minutes (pen 56, 58) as Chelsea looked to have marked their new era with a morale-boosting win, but the contest unravelled for the hosts after inspired substitutions from Wolves goalkeeper coach Tony Roberts, standing in for the absent head coach Bruno Lage.

Boehly watched on with delight at that point, an hour into this lively encounter, but Wolves showed their battling qualities as Francisco Trincao reduced the deficit with a well-taken finish (79) before captain Coady met Chiquinho's cross with virtually the last kick of the game to ensure the points were shared.

The result means that Chelsea remain third on 67 points, four points ahead of Arsenal who have a game in hand, and six points ahead of Tottenham in fifth. Wolves ended a run of three straight defeats by consolidating their position in eighth, two points off West Ham and a Europa Conference League berth.

New Chelsea owner Todd Boehly watches on
Image: New Chelsea owner Todd Boehly watches on

Player ratings

Chelsea: Mendy (6), Azpilicueta (6), Thiago Silva (6), Rudiger (5), Alonso (5), James (5), Kovacic (6), Loftus-Cheek (7), Pulisic (7), Werner (7), Lukaku (8).

Subs: Saul (5), Havertz (n/a), Sarr (n/a).

Wolves: Sa (7), Ait-Nouri (6), Boly (6), Saiss (6), Coady (7), Jonny (6), Dendoncker (6), Neves (5), Moutinho (6), Neto (7), Jimenez (6).

Subs: Trincao (8), Chiquinho (8), Hwang (7).

Man of the match: Romelu Lukaku.

How Wolves' changes inspired comeback

Chiquinho and Wolves other subs made a big difference
Image: Chiquinho and Wolves other subs made a big difference

Roberts said: "The dressing room is positive. To come here and to hold the European champions, the FA Cup finalists, and to go two goals behind, it's unbelievable. The boys are disappointed we've not won it. We've been to Man Utd and Tottenham and won but we feel we should have had all three here but for a mad five minutes.

"We've been through a bad patch but we spoke during the week about the strength and the spirit of the group. To go until the 97th minute shows how strong they are. We want to collect as many points as we can to qualify for Europe.

"Bruno was watching at the training ground and he was making the decisions. He thought about bringing on pace, power and athleticism. Chiquinho just runs at people and causes problems and we know about the quality of Trincao's finishing. The subs were massive for us in getting the point."

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Conor Coady celebrates after scoring a last-gasp equaliser at Stamford Bridge
Image: Conor Coady celebrates after scoring a last-gasp equaliser

Chelsea have now won just two of their last seven Premier League matches. Before next Saturday's FA Cup final against Liverpool at Wembley, they must hope they can build some momentum against Leeds at Elland Road on Wednesday.

Here, this draw will have felt like a defeat but a 2-0 win certainly would've embarrassed them.

Writing in his programme notes, Thomas Tuchel admitted his side's recent dip meant they were now in a fight for third place. The German was frank, telling his players to "be more exhausted after games" having seen a drop-off in physical input during recent defeats to Arsenal and Everton.

Team news

Thomas Tuchel recalled Mateo Kovacic to the midfield in place of the absent Jorginho while both Mason Moun and Kai Havertz dropped to the bench. In came Romelu Lukaku and Chrsitian Pulisic to the three-pronged attack.

Wolves head coach Bruno Lage was missing after testing positive for COVID-19, but he made three changes to the side that lost 3-0 at home to Brighton as Pedro Neto, Raul Jimenez and Jonny Otto came in for Nelson Semedo, Hwang Hee-Chan and Fabio Silva.

Lukaku would be integral to this, spearheading the side in only his second Premier League start since the middle of February. It was his strike partner Timo Werner who had the game's first opportunity on nine minutes as he drew a smart save from Jose Sa low to his right having been found by Mateo Kovacic.

Lukaku would end the half with three chances of his own, however, first seeing a deflected shot loop up into the gloves of Sa while he also rolled Romain Saiss of the stroke of the break to shoot tamely at the Wolves goalkeeper.

But it was in between those two chances that Chelsea thought they had found the breakthrough - and Lukaku really ought to have made no mistake. On 38 minutes, Thiago Silva flicked on Marcos Alonso's corner and after Antonio Rudiger air shot from point blank range, the ball ricocheted back to Lukaku.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek tucks home from close range
Image: Ruben Loftus-Cheek tucks home from close range
Referee Peter Bankes awaits the VAR decision
Image: Referee Peter Bankes awaits the VAR decision

Unable to readjust his feet quick enough, his touch on to Loftus-Cheek was gleefully swept home by the reinvigorated midfielder - but his celebrations were cut short after VAR Jarred Gillett informed referee Peter Bankes of the close offside call.

In truth, the lead would've flattered the hosts. Wolves had the clearer openings with Saiss heading over Pedro Neto's free-kick on 24 minutes before both Leander Dendoncker and Rayan Ait-Nouri both blazed over on the stroke of half-time.

Dendoncker in particular should have done better as he lifted his shot off target after Edouard Mendy had initially saved Neto's attempt following a menacing run from halfway that bamboozled Silva.

Romelu Lukaku celebrates his second goal against Wolves
Image: Romelu Lukaku celebrates his second goal against Wolves

The game turned on another contentious VAR decision to award Chelsea a penalty on 56 minutes. Saiss tangled with Lukaku inside the box, and after Bankes deemed it to be a coming together, he was advised to check his monitor by Gillett before the spot-kick was awarded.

Roberts confirmed that a Zoom meeting involving Lage had been conducted this morning from the team hotel, and the goalkeeper coach was dismissive of the decision to hand Chelsea the initiative.

"If we're getting penalties for that these days, I couldn't believe it," he added. "I didn't think it was a pen but that's my opinion. He's a big one [Lukaku]."

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Wolves coach Tony Roberts claims a "mad" five minutes of sloppy defending cost his side three points against Chelsea

Lukaku sent Sa the wrong way, and barely two minutes later, he doubled his tally for the afternoon to become Chelsea's leading scorer this season on 14 goals, collecting Christian Pulisic's pass after a mix-up between Coady and Ruben Neves to spear a first-time shot low into the corner.

You sensed that would be it, but Wolves roared back in style - galvanised by Roberts' three substitutions. Hee-Chan Hwang had already passed up a glorious chance when his shot from close range was smothered by Mendy but Trincao would make no mistake with 11 minutes remaining.

Trincao gave Wolves hope with 10 minutes left
Image: Trincao gave Wolves hope with 10 minutes left

Fellow substitute Chiquinho laid the ball in his path but the 22-year-old still had plenty to do as Rudiger collided into Kovacic to invite the shot which flashed beyond the static Mendy.

Wolves sensed blood, Trincao dragging another chance wide albeit courtesy of a deflection off Silva. But Tuchel would lament his side's latest defensive shortcomings deep into stoppage time as Chiquinho's cross was met by Coady's bullet header to send the visiting supporters home beaming with delight.

Tuchel: We played like we were 2-0 down

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Speaking after the 2-2 draw with Wolves at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League, Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel admits his side is on a very bad run of form and claims they concede too many goals

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel: "Of course [it feels like a defeat]. We started both halves very well and controlled the match with a very offensive approach to this game today with a 5-3-2 formation. We knew about the risk to avoid counter-attacks and we needed to show discipline.

"We did for most parts of the first half but in situations, we took too much risk and lost discipline in the formation. That cost us some dangerous moments at the end of the first half when we were lucky not to concede.

"I reminded the team to execute the match plan with more precision and we did this to go 2-0 up but then we took more risks. We invited the counter-attacks and big chances. When you do this, you lose confidence and you invite the opponents to smell that something is possible when it is absolutely unnecessary.

Lukaku's goals were ultimately the difference
Image: Lukaku's goals were ultimately not enough

"It is not about dropping too low but about the ball structure and losing it in key positions. The opponents had nothing to lose and we had huge chances to score the third goal.

"The passes were missing and the dribbling was wrong. In some points, we played like we were 2-0 down and not 2-0 up. We tried to respond to it by changing the structure. I don't know if that was the right decision from me but it was a lack of discipline and execution of the match plan.

"I don't think the ownership is a reason for a lack of focus. I don't think there is a lack of focus. We showed focus during the situation when it began. I wouldn't consider this as an advantage now for the match against Leeds.

Chelsea took some time to find their groove
Image: Chelsea took some time to find their groove

"It doesn't change much for us as the sanctions haven't been lifted and the season goes on. It seems like the situation has been resolved but it's not. We've got our own things to address, which we haven't done as a team so far.

"I heard the news today in the morning when I was in the middle of preparing for the match. There has been no difference to what I do which is the best preparation for the match, no matter what's happening on the outside.

"I have my routine and I have enough to do. It doesn't affect me, but the news is positive and we need it to be resolved."

Analysis: Welcome to the Premier League, Mr Boehly

Todd Boehly was left dejected at the final whistle
Image: Todd Boehly was left dejected at the final whistle

Sky Sports' Ben Grounds at Stamford Bridge:

This game between two teams out of form and with very little in the Premier League left to play for wasn't designed to be so thrilling.

Sure, Chelsea are yet to mathematically wrap up a Champions League spot for next season - and their recent alarming form is cause for concern heading into next weekend's FA Cup final - but Boehly saw first hand the ride that awaits him as the club's new owner.

Sat next to chairman Bruce Buck, the American billionaire went through the full range of emotions to knock out the sleep from the night before. Boehly's consortium had signed an agreement to purchase Chelsea only in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Chelsea surrendered a two-goal lead against Wolves
Image: Chelsea surrendered a two-goal lead against Wolves

But he has walked into mounting problems for Chelsea, who had appeared to be cruising to third place. Taking just a single point from trips to Manchester United and Everton has left them less certain of Champions League qualification - and those fears weren't eased by this self-implosion at home to Wolves.

Just two victories in seven Premier League games is hardly ideal preparations for Liverpool in less than seven days' time. Lukaku at least offered green shoots of a recovery for the future but all that was overshadowed by the Blues relinquishing their winning position.

The 28-year-old fell foul of Chelsea at the turn of the year after a damaging interview with Sky Italia in which he had revealed dissatisfaction in west London. Perhaps the presence of the club's impending new owner offered the Belgian just the lift he had been looking for - but Tuchel's refusal to focus on his individual display suggests the damage has already been done.

Chelsea let lead slip - Opta stats

Wolves sparked into life but fell short
Image: Wolves sparked into life late on
  • Chelsea remain unbeaten against Wolves at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League (P8 W5 D3), only playing more home matches in the competition without ever losing against Middlesbrough (15), Fulham (15) and Stoke (10).
  • Chelsea failed to win a Premier League game in which they were 2+ goals ahead for the first time since October 2020 vs Southampton (3-3), having won 24 consecutive such matches prior to today.
  • Chelsea have scored 70 goals in the Premier League this season - the first time they have hit this tally since their most recent title-winning campaign in 2016-17 (85 goals that term).
  • Wolves haven't conceded a first-half goal in any of their last 17 away Premier League games - the longest such run in the competition's history.

Man of the match - Romelu Lukaku

Lukaku celebrates his second with Antonio Rudiger
Image: Lukaku celebrates his second with Antonio Rudiger

On Lukaku, Tuchel said: "It was a good performance but for sure this is not the time to praise individual players. We lost two crucial points so this is not the time to praise individuals. We lost - or drew - as a team."

Lukaku scored his first Premier League goals for Chelsea since netting in back-to-back games against Aston Villa and Brighton in December, ending a run of 10 appearances without finding the back of the net in the competition.

What's next?

Live Premier League

Chelsea's next challenge is a trip to Leeds United on Wednesday night, which is live on Sky Sports Premier League; kick-off 7.30pm. The Blues then have the FA Cup final with Liverpool three days later before ending the season with two straight home league games against Leicester City and Watford.

Wolves now turn their attention to hosting title-chasing Manchester City on Wednesday night, which is live on Sky Sports Premier League; kick-off 8.15pm. Bruno Lage's side host Norwich on May 15 before going to Liverpool on the final day of the season seven days later.

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