Chelsea will be aiming to get back to winning ways when they travel to the Molineux Stadium to take on Wolves in the Premier League on Tuesday.
The busy festive period of the Premier League season is upon us as Matchweek 13 kicks off on Tuesday, just two days after the previous round of fixtures were wrapped up. And title hopefuls Chelsea will be in action on the evening, as they lock horns with Wolves at the Molineux.
Wolves have lost their previous two matches in the Premier League, having been hammered 4-0 by Liverpool before Aston Villa defeated them 1-0 this past weekend. This has seen Nuno Espirito Santo’s men slip down to the 13th place in the standings and the manager will be hoping to get his team back to winning ways ahead of a busy run of games.
Chelsea are without a win their last two games in all competitions, having been held to a 1-1 draw by Krasnodar in the Champions League before falling to a 1-0 defeat to Everton in the league on Saturday. Frank Lampard’s men are fifth in the table currently, three points off of leaders Tottenham, and a win on Tuesday could see them take pole position in the standings, even if it might be temporary.
The corresponding fixture last season saw Chelsea hammer Wolves 5-2, with Tammy Abraham leading the way with a hat-trick, while Fikayo Tomori and Mason Mount were also on target. Ahead of their latest meeting on Tuesday evening, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both the teams.
Team News & Tactics
The hosts will once again be without the injured duo of Jonny Castro and Raul Jimenez, both of whom are long-term absentees. In addition, Nuno will also have to make do without key midfielder Joao Moutinho, who is suspended after being sent off against Aston Villa at the weekend.
Having seen the switch to 4-2-3-1 open up gaps at the back, Nuno could decide to revert to the tried and tested three-man backline on Tuesday night with Willy Boly partnering captain Conor Coady and Romain Saiss in defence. The trio will be shielding seasoned Portuguese stopper, Rui Patricio, in goal for Wolves.
Nelson Semedo, who gave away a penalty against Aston Villa, leading to the defeat, will be aiming to bounce back strongly and a shift to the wing-back slot could be ideal for the ex-Barcelona man. Marcal should feature out on the left side, with Ruben Neves replacing the suspended Joao Moutinho as Leander Dendoncker’s partner in midfield.
Adama Traore and Pedro Neto are certainties on the right and left flanks respectively while Daniel Podence could feature as the centre-forward, with teenage striker Fabio Silva dropping to the bench, despite impressing against Villa at the weekend.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Patricio; Boly, Coady, Saiss; Semedo, Dendoncker, Neves, Marcal; Traore, Podence, Neto
Hakim Ziyech and Callum Hudson-Odoi missed the last two matches for Chelsea with hamstring problems and are unavailable for the trip to the Midlands. Christian Pulisic missed the weekend game against Everton but is available for selection, Lampard has confirmed. There are unlikely to be many changes made to the team that started at Goodison Park.
Edouard Mendy, who made his first high-profile mistake in Chelsea colours at the weekend, will be out to redeem himself in goal. Reece James is a certain starter at right-back while Ben Chilwell should slot in on the left where he will have his task cut out against the dangerous Traore. Kurt Zouma and Thiago Silva should start at the heart of the Blues’ defence.
Mason Mount, who has been one of Chelsea’s most consistent performers so far this term, ought to be one of the first names on the teamsheet for Lampard. The England international should have N’Golo Kante and Kai Havertz for company in midfield, with the latter moving into a central role after struggling on the right flank against Everton.
With Pulisic returning, he could be forced into the starting XI on the right flank in the absence of Hudson-Odoi and Ziyech, while Timo Werner should continue on the left. Tammy Abraham could replace Olivier Giroud at the top of the attack for the Blues against Wolves.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Mendy; James, Zouma, Silva, Chilwell; Havertz, Kante, Mount; Pulisic, Abraham, Werner
- Chelsea Clean Sheet – NO @ 1.61
- Pedro Neto to score anytime @ 4.50
- Chelsea have only failed to score in one of their last 17 top-flight meetings with Wolves, doing so in a 0-1 loss at Molineux in January 2011.
- Only against Liverpool (10) have Wolves lost more Premier League games than they have versus Chelsea (9), while they have conceded more goals against the Blues than they have against any other side in the competition (32).
- Chelsea have lost just one of their last 20 Premier League games played on a Tuesday (W12 D7), with that defeat coming at Liverpool in May 2014.
- Wolves have lost their last two Premier League games and are looking to avoid three consecutive defeats in the competition for the first time since November 2018.
- Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham has scored six goals in his four league appearances against Wolves, netting a hat-trick in this exact fixture last season.
Player to Watch
It has been far from an ideal start to life in London for Werner. The German striker made a relatively low key start but seemed to have burst into life in October, only to see his form dip drastically in the past few weeks. Indeed, Werner has failed to score in his last seven appearances for Chelsea in all competitions, having netted seven in seven games prior to this run.
The 24-year-old put in an underwhelming performance at the weekend against Everton and will need to bounce back quickly ahead of an important run of fixtures for the Blues. And, a strong performance against a tough side like Wolves on Tuesday evening would certainly fill Werner with confidence.
Wolves 0-1 Chelsea
Wolves have been shy in front of goal this term, having netted just 11 times so far – only four teams in the league have scored fewer. And they will be up against a Chelsea side that has been quite solid at the back, barring the slight mishap against Everton, with the Blues having let in just 12 goals – more than only Tottenham (10) and Manchester City (11).
The absence of Raul Jimenez has hurt the Midlands’ outfit and while the likes of Daniel Podence and Pedro Neto have shown glimpses of quality, they might find it difficult to break through the Chelsea defence. At the same time, Chelsea, too, might struggle to find a way through the Wolves’ backline, more so if Nuno decides to switch to a three-man backline.
This has the makings of a close encounter but Chelsea’s overall form this season and their record away from home should give them the edge. The Hard Tackle, thus, predicts a 1-0 win for Frank Lampard’s side on Tuesday night.