At the time of writing, Chelsea are due to travel to Wolves on Sunday. However, the evolving situation with Covid-19 means that it could be postponed at any time. The visitors will be wanting this match to go ahead, as they need to get their title challenge back on track. Wolves have had a solid start to the season, currently in 7th position. It could have been tough for them to move on from the Nuno Espirito Santo era, but Bruno Lage has been excellent. He will want to get a statement victory over one of the title contenders.
Wolves have had a mixed week. Although they lost to Manchester City, they were well organised and restricted the current Premier League champions to few chances. It was a very impressive performance considering they were down to ten men for a long period. It was a foolish piece of play from Raul Jimenez to get two yellow cards in quick succession, but he is a hugely important player for the team. Lage will be delighted to have him back for this weekend. Considering Chelsea’s defensive vulnerability in recent weeks, this is a great time to play them.
Chelsea are now four points off the top of the table. It isn’t beyond retrieve for the European champions, but they really can’t afford many more dropped points. This weekend will offer a tough game for the Blues, but they desperately need three points. It is hoped they will have players back from injury to strengthen their midfield. Thomas Tuchel is in the midst of his most difficult period at Stamford Bridge. The next few matches are vital.
Only Norwich City (8) have scored fewer goals than Wolves (13) in the Premier League this season.
Despite Chelsea’s recent defensive problems, they have only conceded 12 times this season. They have the second best defence in the league this season.
Last weekend was one to forget, but his red card wasn’t too damaging to Wolves. They only lost by one goal to Manchester City, due to a questionable penalty decision. During the week, they beat a Covid-hit Brighton and they have moved up to 7th in the league table. The main worry for Wolves is their lack of goals. Jimenez is their primary goal threat and he is still getting back to his best following his head injury. It may be that a rest during the week was beneficial for the Mexican international. He will think that he has a point to prove this weekend to make up for the red card last weekend. This season, he has contributed three goals and two assists. There will be hope that he can significantly improve on these numbers in the second half of the season.
This season has been excellent for Mason Mount and he is now emerging as the talisman of this Chelsea attack. The England international has contributed seven goals and four assists in the league this season. This has already matched his number of goal contributions from last season. He is currently averaging a goal involvement every 80.6 minutes. This is a significant improvement to his average of a goal involvement every 262.9 minutes. There is a feeling that Mount is taking his game to a whole new level and he is now one of the best players in the Premier League. Wolves have a stubborn defence, but Mount has the quality to win this game for Chelsea.
Raul Jimenez will be back from his suspension. Hwang Hee-Chan is a doubt after being taken off with an injury at Brighton. Rayan Ait-Nouri is expected to be missing for a few weeks. Fabio Silva and Yerson Mosquera are Covid absences. Jonny and Pedro Neto are both long term absentees.
Jorginho and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are both major doubts for the weekend, but it is hoped that Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante will be fit to start. Kai Havertz, Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner and Callum Hudson-Odoi are all Covid related absentees.
This is one of the toughest fixtures on the calendar for teams chasing the title. It is a match they will be expecting to win, but Wolves are a very tough team to beat, as was witnessed at Manchester City last weekend. Chelsea are in poor form, but they should have the quality to get three points. Tuchel will know the importance of this match and a better performance from Chelsea should be expected. It is unlikely to be a vintage performance and it will be tough, but an away win is a likely result.
Wolves 0-1 Chelsea