Chelsea missed their chance to move top of the Premier League as they suffered a 2-1 lead away to Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The Blues had dominated the first half and took the lead early in the second when Olivier Giroud flicked home a cross at the near post. However Wolves soon rallied and equalised in outstanding fashion through Daniel Podence on 66 minutes.
Chelsea looked the more likely to win as they set up camp on the Wolves box late in the game but were undone by a classic Wolves counter led by the explosive Pedro Neto, who burst past Kurt Zouma before smashing home to inflict a second straight league defeat on Frank Lampard's side for the first time in 2020.
Read on for the key talking points from the game.
Chelsea miss Ziyech's vision
For all their gaudy attacking riches Chelsea have not yet managed to quite establish an interchangeable system in which one part fits in as smoothly as another. At least not everywhere. Because whilst Tammy Abraham and Giroud can both spearhead an attack and Christian Pulisic and Timo Werner can dart infield from the left there is no-one quite as inventive as Hakim Ziyech.
With him drifting in from the right, his scalpel of a left boot slicing defences up with short passes, lofted crosses and curling shots, Chelsea looked like they had half a dozen avenues to beat teams at any moment. Without Ziyech their attack is rather more prosaic.
Had Wolves pushed forward in numbers there may have been space for Werner and Pulisic to dart into. Instead the massed defensive ranks could sit deep, inviting Mason Mount and Kai Havertz to spread the ball wide for crosses towards Giroud and his fellow forwards. This was by no means a risk-free strategy, as Giroud would prove on one crucial occasion, but ultimately Willy Bolly, Conor Coady and Romain Saiss were far happier dealing with aerial duels than balls in behind.
It is perhaps curious that a team with two "free eights" ahead of N'Golo Kante could not conjure more but neither Mount nor Havertz are natural midfield playmakers. The former is exceptional at pressing and shuttling the ball but his killer passes come infrequently. Havertz, meanwhile, is still adapting to the pace of the Premier League.
That Ziyech did not need the same time as his fellow summer signing does not mean that Havertz has done anything wrong, rather that the Moroccan has done so much right that it is already hard to imagine a Chelsea team being at their best without him.
Podence breathes life into Wolves' sluggish attack
It would take a moment of real quality to get that high value shot away for Wolves, that came from the excellent Podence. It should not have come as a surprise to Chelsea even if there was little either Ben Chilwell or Reece James could do as he wriggled his way around both of them before smashing a shot in at Mendy's near post.
Podence may not have won headlines quite like Diogo Jota, the man he effectively replaced when he joined from Olympiacos midway through last season, but it would be fair to say that their current wing wonder is putting in displays comparable with the best of his Portuguese predecessor.
Quick feet, brilliant finish, what a goal from Daniel Podence 💥 (via @NBCSportsSoccer) pic.twitter.com/2qNHBuGTky— Champions League on CBS Sports (@UCLonCBSSports) December 15, 2020
Aside from quality Podence seemed to have a ferocity that was missing from Wolves play tonight and has been for much of their recent slump in form. His energy and desire was typified when he got into a shoving match with Chilwell as he tried to get the ball back for a quick throw when the hosts were on top in the second half.
That set the tone for a more aggressive, fearless attack from Wolves in the closing period. They might have had a penalty when Neto tumbled in the box but a VAR check prompted Stuart Attwell to review his original decision and note there was no contact made by Reece James (the sort of quietly crucial intervention from technology that rarely gets noted as widely as its semi-frequent mistakes).
Perhaps if Neto had not gone down so easily he would not have had to wait until stoppage time to win the game for Wolves, a drop of the shoulder taking him past Kurt Zouma before he rifled in a low shot to win the game for the hosts.
Giroud's veteran nous
After nearly eight years in England, Premier League defenders know when Olivier Giroud is at his most dangerous. The joy of the Frenchman in his twilight years is that he has such experience in the game of chance at the near post that he knows how to get ahead of defenders even when they are primed for that run ahead of them.
For his goal he left his run until the last possible moment - even as the ball leaves Chilwell's foot Giroud is several inches behind Willy Boly. Rather than look to establish himself in the right spot to flick the ball across goal the France international trusts his timing and his team-mate's delivery.
ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?! pic.twitter.com/gNHa6HjncI— Champions League on CBS Sports (@UCLonCBSSports) December 15, 2020
Chilwell's ball was just behind Boly but the Frenchman might have been able to get there first had Giroud not managed to wrap his boot around the ball, almost from nowhere, and fizz a ferocious volley towards goal. It is often said when a goalkeeper is beaten at a near post that he should always do better with such effforts and certainly Rui Patricio will have been disappointed that the ball squirmed under his body and just across the goal line.
But when the ball is struck so sweetly in such unlikely circumstances a measure of understanding towards the goalkeeper is required. It is not like Patricio is the first to find out that the 35-year-old becomes one of the world's most fearsome forwards in that small channel in front of the near post. You suspect that Giroud could still be scoring goals like this into his 50s.
Christian Pulisic: In his first Premier League start in nearly two months Pulisic had to settle for flashes rather than bending the game to his will. The instances when he was at his best were impressive indeed, particularly a darting run from the right channel where he beat half the Wolves defence. RATING: 6
Owen Otasowie: Quite the Premier League debut from the American international, who provided the assist for Podence's equaliser and offered solidity and composure alongside Ruben Neves. RATING: 7
Timo Werner: Is it good that Werner keeps getting into positions to waste chances or problematic that he needs quite so many opportunities to find the net? In the long term the former is probably true but on nights like tonight he needed more cutting edge to work opportunities for himself and finish them. RATING: 4
Premier League outlook
Chelsea could have gone top of the league temporarily with victory but ended the game in fifth position having played at least one more game than those around them. Wolves jumped from 13th to ninth and with 20 points are only two off the Blues.