Chelsea sealed qualification for next season's Champions League in style, by beating Wolves 2-0 at Stamford Bridge. The away side made the brighter start, testing Willy Caballero on a handful of occasions. Nevertheless, the Blues stood up to the challenge, and managed to score against the run of play, with Mason Mount netting a spectacular free kick from a central position.
It was 2-0 moments later, Mount this time turning provider -- laying the ball through for Olivier Giroud to round the keeper superbly. The second goal seemed to deflate Wolves, who had an opportunity to finish fifth entering the day. However, Chelsea held on for a vital win, one that assures them of a top-four finish in Frank Lampard's first season at the club.
The formation seemed to suit the game plan well, which primarily involved springing the counter trap on Wolves. Pulisic and Mount were set up to thrive on the break, while the energy of Mateo Kovacic centrally helped Chelsea to win the ball back at vital times. Additionally, the fact that the Londoners recovered well from a slightly nervy start, showed good metal resolve and commitment.
The home side got off to a sluggish start, one which almost put them a goal down. On another day they would have been punished, but thankfully for Chelsea's sake, Wolves were often wasteful in the final third. The ease at which the travelling side dominated possession early on, despite being away from home, would normally worry Frank Lampard; but on a day as momentous as this, you suspect he'll let the players off.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- combined beautifully for the second goal. Furthermore, the selection of Caballero rather than Kepa Arrizabalaga also paid off, as the Argentine stopper dealt well with most tasks. Chelsea's control thereafter was also much better, with the back three functioning just as effectively as the attacking trio.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Willy Caballero, 7 -- Had a slightly nervy moment early on, flapping at a cross-come-shot that almost looped into the net. After that, he was much improved.
DF Cesar Azpilicueta, 7 -- Playing as a central defender in a back three, the captain looked defensively assured as always. The inclusion of Reece James just ahead of him simplified the Spaniard's role - to good effect.
DF Antonio Rudiger, 7 -- Surprisingly, the German defender was one of the best players on the ball throughout, pumping a handful of great long balls forward which found their intended target. In spite of some overzealous fouls, it was a fine outing.
DF Kurt Zouma, 8 -- Was the sides best defender this afternoon, contributing with a number of key interceptions and headers up against the dangerous Raul Jimenez. On this evidence, he appears to be more comfortable in a back three rather than a centre-back pair.
MF Reece James, 6 -- Looked dangerous in spells, adding some much-needed width and crosses. However, all too often his involvement was limited as defending became the priority.
MF Marcos Alonso, 6 -- Made a few clumsy first-half tackles and appeared to struggle when facing his own goal. His biggest contribution was allowing Mount to take the all-important first-half free kick.
MF Mateo Kovacic, 8 -- Brought great energy to the side's midfield, helping out well with defensive tasks as Chelsea struggled early on.
MF Jorginho, 7 -- As the more defensive-minded central midfielder, he fulfilled his duties perfectly well, turning the ball over on a number of occasions. Simple, but very effective.
FW Mason Mount, 9 -- A match-winning performance from the England international, who both scored and assisted in the first half. His free kick, which came at a time when Wolves were very much on top, was a moment of pure magic. A clutch performance, just when his side needed it most.
FW Christian Pulisic, 7 -- A strangely quiet game from the former Dortmund man, but it was his dribble forward that ultimately led to Giroud's first-half goal. He may not have been the key man, but his work rate was still very impressive.
FW Olivier Giroud, 8 -- Quite simply the comeback of the season. Without the Frenchman's goalscoring contributions since the restart, Chelsea may not have got over the line in their top-four pursuit.
FW Callum Hudson-Odoi N/A -- Came on too late to have a meaningful impact.
FW Tammy Abraham N/R -- Replaced Olivier Giroud, but wasn't quite able to have the same effect on the game.
MF Ross Barkley N/R -- Came on with mere seconds to play.
FW Pedro N/R -- Was brought on for what will surely be his last appearance for the club.
MF Ruben Loftus-Cheek N/R -- Didn't see the ball after coming on in the 90th minute.