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CHELSEA v Wolves: Preview

Date: Sunday 26th July 2020

Venue: Stamford Bridge

Kick-off: 16:00 BST

Finally, after a season that feels like it’s gone on forever, we’ve reached our last Premier League game of the campaign.

It’s been a strange campaign and not just for the obvious reasons. When Covid-19 halted the football proceedings, some of us were calling for the season to be voided with standings as they were in March. Part of the reason will have been because we were below Leicester, United were creeping up behind us, and we suspected we’d struggle to hang onto 4th spot if the season played out. Mystic Meg has nothing on us, clearly.

In a season with Frank Lampard newly installed in his first management role within the Premier League, a transfer ban and our best player having departed for Real Madrid, we could have predicted it wouldn’t all be plain sailing. As it turns out, sitting in 4th spot in the league, with an FA Cup final ahead of us, as well as still being in the Champions League (albeit not for much longer), it’s probably fair to say we’ve done better than expected but got the choppy waters we predicted. Like your average British summer, we’ve blown hot and cold, so it’s either all smiles and sunshine or it’s dreary, grey and just bloody miserable – and also like the great British summer, you have no clue which one it’s going to be from one day to another. And don’t even get me started on our defence!

Our final game sees us take on a Wolves side who are much more organised than us defensively and they’ll throw what they have to at us in attack today as well. Whilst we need at least a draw to take 4th spot, Wolves can guarantee sixth place and qualification for the Europa League if they win. Wolves have done well and won’t want the outcome of their good season to be decided by results elsewhere.

Chelsea meanwhile, could afford to lose this game, as long as United beat Leicester but it’s not a strategy I want to see them hang their hopes on because I wouldn’t trust United to get that result. We need to aim for the win but take a draw if its close to the wire and we want to avoid late mistakes.

It’s in our hands as long as we have a better grip than we did in the first half against Liverpool. Who’s wearing the gloves though?

MANAGER’S VIEWS

Going into today’s game, Chelsea manager, Frank Lampard, says We’ll approach the game to win the game, I don’t think there’s any other way to approach the game of football. So we;ll do that, prepare right, respect our opponent. They are obviously a very good opponent, we’ve seen that all season in the league. So no, we prepare to try to win the game, we’re aware of the situation, but we try and win.”

Wolves manager, Nuno Espirito Santo, meanwhile, says “It’s a big game and a big challenge for us, against a very good team. Chelsea is a fantastic team and Frank [Lampard] is doing a fantastic job. The talent and the quality they have is very good. We have to be focused on the game and look at Chelsea as a big opponent, but at the same time, let’s play, let’s compete.”

SQUAD NEWS

For Chelsea, Fikayo Tomori and Billy Gilmour (knee) remain out but N’Golo Kante (hamstring) could play some part after missing the last five games and Christian Pulisic could start.

For Wolves, Nuno Espirito Santo has no injury concerns.

TEAMS

CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Caballero; Azpilicueta, Zouma; Rudiger; Alonso, Jorginho, Mount; Kovacic, Pulisic, Giroud, Willian

WOLVES (Possible line-up): Patricio; Boly, Coady, Saiss; Doherty, Neves, Moutinho, Jonny; Podence, Jimenez, Jota

LAST SEASON

Chelsea 1-1 Wolves (10th March 2019)

CURRENT FORM (PL)

CHELSEA: LWWLWL

WOLVES: WLLWDW

OTHER STUFF

  • Chelsea are unbeaten in five Premier League home games against Wolves.
  • Wolves are without a win in eight away meetings in all competitions.
  • A win for Wolves would guarantee them a sixth-place finish, their best in the top flight since 1979-80.
  • Chelsea have not lost their final match of a Premier League season at home since 2002.
  • Chelsea have lost 12 Premier League fixtures in a season for only the second time since 2003.
  • Wolves have gained an unrivalled 21 points from a losing position this season
  • Chelsea’s eight defeats at Stamford Bridge in all competitions this season is their most in a single campaign since 1985-86.
  • Chelsea have conceded 54 goals in the Premier League this season.
  • Wolves have 59 points and will finish the season with their highest tally in the top division since 1979-80

PREDICTION

BBC Sport: Chelsea 2-1 Wolves

Sky Sports: Chelsea 2-2 Wolves

Sportsmole: Chelsea 2-1 Wolves

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