Tammy Abraham bagged a stunning hat-trick as Chelsea put in their strongest performance of the season so far against Wolverhampton Wanderers, dominating the home side from start to finish and running out 5-2 winners at Molineux.
Chelsea took the lead through a stunning strike from young defender Fikayo Tomori, curling the ball into the top-right corner 25 yards from goal. Abraham doubled the lead on 34 minutes, rolling his defender and cooly slotting home.
Abraham put the game beyond the home side on the stroke of half-time, heading in a lovely Marcos Alonso cross. The 21-year-old completed his hat-trick early in the second half, twisting his defender inside-out before lashing past Patricio once again.
Roman Saiss pulled a goal back for Wolves with 20 minutes to go and an own goal from Abraham added a late second, but it proved to be too little too late for the home side.
Mason Mount put the finishing touches on the victory with a last-minute strike for the away side.
Key Talking Point
Wolves surprised everybody last season with the most impressive debut top-flight campaign the Premier League has ever seen. The Midlands club claimed a place in this year’s Europa League and reached the semi-final of the FA Cup, whilst putting in some excellent performances against the top teams along the way.
Many expected Nuno Espirito Santo’s side to pick up from where they left off this season, but with the extra demands of European competition, Wolves seem to be struggling to recapture last year’s form and intensity.
With less time to prepare for each game, and constant travelling for the first few months of the campaign, Wolves fans may want to avoid the league table for a wee while.
Starting XI: Patricio (4); Traore (4), Vallejo (4), Coady (4), Dendocker (4), Jonny (4); Moutinho (4), Neves (5), Saiss (5); Jota (5), Jimenez (4)
Substitutes: Cutrone (6), Doherty (5), Gibbs-White (5)
STAR MAN – It’s almost impossible to pick a star performer from a Wolves side which looked completely outclassed and clueless against Lampard’s Chelsea, but here goes.
Patrick Cutrone gave a good account of himself when he entered the pitch in the second half. The Italian striker added a real physical edge to Wolves’ forward line and gave the Chelsea defence a lot more to think about.
That’s it really.
Key Talking Point
A lot has been made of Chelsea’s fluid and attacking style under Frank Lampard, which has left them overloaded and outnumbered when defending. Their open and fragile performances forced the Chelsea boss into a tactical switch, adopting a 3-5-2 formation on Saturday afternoon.
It’s safe to say, the system change suited his players down to the ground. Wolves struggled to break down the Blues’ organised defence, and the London side swarmed forward to devastating effect. Goals, goals, goals.
The Lampard era is underway at Stamford Bridge.
Starting XI: Arrizabalaga (7); Azpilicueta (7), Tomori (8), Rudiger (8), Christensen (7), Alonso (8); Jorginho (8), Kovacic (7), Mount (8); Willian (8), Abraham (9)
Substitutes: Zouma (7), Barkley (6), Batshuayi (6)
STAR MAN – You have to be chuffed for this guy. Abraham looked slightly lost during his opening displays for the Blues, and cut a devastated figure when he missed the decisive penalty in the UEFA Super Cup final against Liverpool.
Since then, the youngster has gone from strength to strength, and his hat-trick was nothing less than he deserved against Wolves on Saturday.
Abraham caused endless problems for the Wolves backline, using his pace and strength to bully the cowering defenders. Each finish was as impressive as the last, and the former Aston Villa loanee demonstrated why Lampard has kept faith in the Blues starlet.
We won’t mention the own goal.
Wolves follow up this disappointing display against Chelsea with a midweek Europa League match at home to Portuguese side Braga, and then the Midlands club travel to Crystal Palace in their next Premier League fixture.
Chelsea will be keen to continue their progress under Lampard when they entertain Spanish side Valencia in the Champions League, and then host European champions Liverpool in what will be the new Blues boss’ toughest test to date.