James CookeWolves vs Chelsea, Saturday 14th September, 15:00, Molineux. Nuno Santo’s Wolves wouldn’t have expected to be in the bottom four after four games of the new season, and the visit of Chelsea is a chance to get back on track.
Nuno Santo’s Wolves wouldn’t have expected to be in the bottom four after four games of the new season, and the visit of Chelsea is a chance to get back on track.
After a brilliant return to the Premier League last season, the new campaign has been distinctly disappointing for Wolves. Whether it’s a result of their Europa League involvement or not, results need to pick up – quickly. It doesn’t take much for a few bad games to become a genuine slump, a disappointing start to become a relegation battle.
Wolves thus far have recorded three draws and a defeat – the defeat coming last time out in a five-goal thriller at Everton. That leaves the Midlands club in 17th as the domestic programme resumes following the international break, but the visit of one of the Premier League’s big boys will have the home support finding their voice, and the players potentially spurred on as a result.
Indeed, last season Wolves were supremely dangerous at home, beating not only Chelsea but Manchester United and Arsenal. And this year they have beaten Torino in the Europa League in front of their own fans too. Nuno’s counter-attacking style would in theory work best on the road, yet Wolves manage to make it work at home too.
Chelsea then must be wary of falling into the trap of so many teams when playing the Black and Gold – having harmless possession, and giving up control of the football in dangerous areas. Frank Lampard will need a mature performance from the likes of Mason Mount and Ross Barkley, to make sure the Blues don’t play directly into Wolves’ hands.
Chelsea have stuttered themselves under Lampard, getting off to the worst possible start with a hammering at Manchester United, before being held by Leicester City at Stamford Bridge and blowing a two-goal lead at home to newly-promoted Sheffield United. A composed performance – for the full 90 minutes – would go a long way to quashing any doubts over Lampard’s appointment.
It’s hard to know what to expect from these two teams in terms of performances and results. Goals seem the only thing to be guaranteed, and it shouldn’t be a shock if they share four of them in a 2-2 draw.
Chelsea’s four league games this season have had a total of 15 goals. Wolves’ four have had nine – that’s 24 goals combined. It seems unlikely that defences suddenly win out when the teams meet this weekend, so look for goals. 888sport price over 3.5 goals at 11/5.
Chelsea and Wolves have each had two score draws this season – three for the former if you count the UEFA Super Cup against Liverpool, which ended 2-2 before the Reds won on penalties. 888Sport price another draw and both teams to score at 33/10.
Head to Head
The last three games between the teams have seen a draw, a Wolves win and a Chelsea win, the latter back in a 2017 FA Cup encounter.
Chelsea also recorded a 6-0 League Cup thrashing of Wolves back in 2012, before the Nuno revolution.
Tammy Abraham has hit four goals for Chelsea this season, behind only Raheem Sterling, Teemu Pukki and Sergio Aguero in the league ranking.
Wolves’ Raul Jimenez has hit the woodwork twice this season – no other player has done so more than once.
Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga has conceded nine goals so far – only Tim Krul of Norwich has conceded more – 10.
Mancini won 36 international caps for Italy between 1984 and 1994, scoring four goals. His Finland counterpart, Kanerva, was capped 59 times for his country.
Aspiring football journalist who realised he could put his vast knowledge towards gambling and making some money. With years spent on Football Manager, his boyhood obsession has carried over into his adult life and he's proven his mum that all that time spent playing a game wasn't to be wasted. A European football expert, James writes about anything on the continent and has began expanding his knowledge to other leagues in South America, Asia and the USA.