The first match following Chelsea’s sacking of Frank Lampard will be played on Wednesday night. Wolves are the visitors and they will be confident that they can pick up another three points against the Blues. They won the reverse fixture last month, in a match that would have increased the pressure on the previous manager. At the time of writing, they haven’t appointed a successor at Stamford Bridge. It is expected that Thomas Tuchel will take the job and he could be in place for this fixture.
If Tuchel is appointed for this match, he won’t have had time to work on the training ground. It will take a few weeks for the German to introduce his style of play at the club. A managerial change always provides a fresh start for all players and there will be some in the Chelsea squad that will have an extra spring in their step. Kai Havertz and Timo Werner are two players that could benefit from the change, as they struggled to impose themselves within Lampard’s set-up. The hierarchy must believe that they can have still have a positive season, therefore there will be pressure on the new manager to start strongly.
Wolves are another team in a poor run of form, despite their earlier victory against Chelsea. Since that victory, they have failed to win in six league matches and there has been some criticism of Nuno Espirito Santo. It has to be said that Wolves did make big changes in the summer, with Matt Doherty and Diogo Jota leaving the club. The injury to Raul Jimenez has compounded their problems and they have struggled to find a way to be successful without him. The recent signing of Willian Jose is designed to fix their attacking issues. He could make his Premier League debut this week.
Despite Chelsea’s struggles under Lampard, they have lost only twice at home across all competitions this season.
Wolves have conceded the first goal in each of their last nine Premier League matches.
There will now be pressure on Timo Werner to step up and prove why Chelsea were keen to sign him during the summer. He struggled to fit into the team under Lampard, as he was used in different roles and taken out of the side on a few occasions. The German international has yet to fully settle in England and be given the opportunity to have a run of matches in one position. His time in Germany showed how good he is in the final third. Last season, he scored 28 times in the Bundesliga, highlighting the quality he does possess. However, it has been difficult for him in the Premier League to date, with just four goals and four assists to his name. He is averaging a goal contribution every 175 minutes. It is by no means bad, but more was expected from the 24-year-old. A missed penalty in the FA Cup will have dented his confidence further, but the managerial change may bring him a fresh start. If they can get Werner firing, he could quickly propel them up the league table.
The young attacker will be pivotal for Wolves during the rest of the season. He is slowly emerging as the key player in their forward line in the absence of Jimenez. It will be hoped that he can benefit from the signing of Willian Jose, as he will have a target man to play off. Although it is unlikely that the new striker will be able to completely replace Jimenez, he will provide a target that the team have been lacking. This season, the young Portuguese attacker has contributed four goals and three assists. His biggest contribution was in the previous meeting of these two clubs, as he scored the winning goal. Since this fixture, he has contributed just a single assist in the league. He will be looking to improve his recent form and Chelsea are vulnerable to a quick counter attack. Neto could cause them real problems.
N’golo Kante is expected to be missing for the rest of the month with a thigh injury. There could be wides ale changes to the team on Wednesday, due to the managerial change. However, Tammy Abraham will be hoping to retain his place after his hat-trick in the FA Cup.
Daniel Podence will be missing until the early stages of February, therefore he will be unavailable on Wednesday. Fernando Marcal, Raul Jimenez and Jonny Castro remain on the long term absentees.
It is difficult to predict this fixture, due to the managerial change. If Frank Lampard would have remained in charge, it would have been harder to predict a home victory. However, there is likely to be a reaction from the players and that makes them favourites to take three points. Wolves will be hoping that they can improve in the coming weeks, but their task on Wednesday has been made more difficult. Chelsea should take the three points.
Chelsea 2-0 Wolves