Frank Lampard got off to a losing start on his return as interim Chelsea manager on Saturday with the Blues beaten 1-0 at Wolverhampton Wanderers and still toothless in the Premier League.
Matheus Nunes scored a 31st minute screamer at Molineux, the Portugal midfielder hitting the ball on the volley from the edge of the box on the right and past Kepa Arrizabalaga into the far corner.
The victory took some of the relegation heat off Wolves manager Julen Lopetegui with his side, who had captain Ruben Neves serving a two-match suspension, moving up to 12th and four points clear of the drop zone. Chelsea stayed 11th, eight points ahead.
Chelsea great Lampard’s appointment was announced on Thursday after Graham Potter paid the price for a string of poor results which left the team in mid-table and with a Champions league quarter-final away leg at Real Madrid looming next Wednesday.
The club’s record goalscorer, himself dismissed as manager in January 2021, drew a warm reception from the travelling fans as he arrived for his first match in charge.
Lampard also got a clear picture of the task he faces over the eight remaining games, with a tame Chelsea failing to find the net for its third game in a row.
Chelsea, still without the injured Mason Mount, had only one shot on target in the first half and, while looking livelier after the break, was unable to make its passing and possession count.
It had no shots on target in the second half and has played more games (30) than goals scored (29). It has only four wins from its last 21 games.
The goal was Nunes’ first in the league since the club’s record signing joined from Sporting in August last year.
“I thought the performance in the first half was 70% or so,” said Lampard, who started with Raheem Sterling and Conor Gallagher and brought on the little-used Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as a second half substitute.
“It was enough for it to be an even game and there was a rocket from them out of nowhere. In the second half there was more energy, more chances and we got more people in the box,” he told the BBC.
“There has been a lot of change and that’s not an excuse but things need to improve and I think that performance summed it up. I have to get an understanding of it,” he added.
“You have to get used to winning and make it a habit. Credit to Wolves today, they were physical and stuck in for a win.”
Bournemouth 1-0 Leicester City
Leicester City’s relegation plight worsened as it suffered a 1-0 home defeat by fellow struggler Bournemouth, its seventh defeat in eight Premier League games.
England midfielder James Maddison’s terrible back pass which allowed Philip Billing to score in the 40th minute gifted Bournemouth three crucial points in its bid to stay up.
Leicester players were booed off at the end of a dismal display which left them second-from-bottom with 25 points.
Bournemouth moved up to 15th place with 30 points.
Newcastle 2-1 Brentford
Newcastle United moved back up to third with a hard-fought 2-1 victory at Brentford after Ivan Toney missed a penalty for the London side for the first time in his career.
Brentford won a penalty when Sven Botman clumsily brought down Kevin Schade, but Newcastle goalkeeper Nick Pope guessed correctly to deny Toney who missed from the spot for the first time since 2018 having converted his previous 24 attempts.
But Brentford was given another lifeline when Alexander Isak fouled Rico Henry and the referee awarded another penalty after watching the replay. This time, Toney made no mistake and beat Pope to score his 18th league goal of the season.
The tide turned in the second half, however, as Newcastle came out firing and equalised nine minutes after the restart when Joelinton’s attempted cross went in off goalkeeper David Raya’s foot.
An unmarked Isak then made amends with an emphatic finish after he was set up by his strike partner and second half substitute Callum Wilson, with the Swedish striker guiding his effort past Raya to make it 2-1.
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