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Wolves v CHELSEA: Preview

Date: Sunday 24th December 2023

Venue: Molineux Stadium

Kick-off: 13:00 GMT

Today’s game sees us travel to Molineux to face Wolves in only the second Premier League game to be played on Christmas Eve after Dirty Leeds beat Manchester United 3-1 at Elland Road in 1995. Both clubs last played on 24 December in 1966: Wolves beat Derby County 5-3 while Chelsea lost 2-1 to Liverpool. Wolves’ last Christmas Eve fixture at Molineux was a 2-0 win over Aston Villa in 1960. Chelsea, on the other hand, are without a win in all three of their Christmas Eve away league fixtures, drawing one and losing two.

Wolves are 14th in the table and we’re only 3 points better off, so a win for them would see them level on points with us, but we wouldn’t move from our lofty 10th position. Wolves lost 3-0 to West Ham last time out, whilst Chelsea dug in against Newcastle for a win in the EFL quarter-final game midweek. Awesome penalties by the way.

At home, Wolves are a different prospect though, going unbeaten in each of their last six Premier League home games and they’re on a 15-game scoring streak in front of their own fans.  Six of Hwang’s eight goals so far have come at Molineux and only Mohamed Salah, with eight, has scored more Premier League goals at home this season, so our defence could be in for a bit of hard graft this afternoon.

Chelsea, meanwhile, have lost their last 3 away and we’re without a win at Molineux since 2019. We were buoyed by the appearance of Nkunku in the second half against Newcastle but after his long lay-off, it’ll be a while before he is truly able to influence games and given our recent poor record in this fixture and our apparent lack of spirit historically on the eve of Christmas, it’s unlikely he’ll be our saviour today.


Going into today’s game, Wolves manager, Gary O’Neil, says “(Chelsea have) got really good quality. They look like a side who are starting to understand what the manager wants from them. (They’re) good with the ball, got good attacking talent so even if they’re not at their free-flowing best they’ve got players who can produce good moments, one-v-ones. So, it’ll need to be a complete performance from us, which we’ve managed to produce a couple of times at home already against big sides but it will need to be again. I know the lads are looking forward to it, as am I – it’s Christmas Eve as well, I know there were mixed feelings from supporters around there being a football match on Christmas Eve but I’m sure when we’re in the stadium if we can start the performance in the right way I’m sure the atmosphere will be fantastic as it has been. (We’re) looking forward to it, we’ll try and make it as tough an afternoon as possible for Chelsea.

Christmas is always just a thing that happens while I do my job, it doesn’t make too much difference to me whether it’s Christmas Eve, Boxing Day. There’s going to be a lot of work that needs to be done over those days, so it doesn’t really make any difference to me. I understand the fans maybe not wanting to travel on Christmas Eve but as I said, I’m sure once we’re in there if we can put in a performance like we have done in home games recently I’m sure the atmosphere will be fantastic again. Hopefully a positive result so everyone can enjoy their Christmas Day.”

Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino, meanwhile, says “It is our responsibility to perform well. The fans react well when they can see the team shows great energy. It was a shame we didn’t score before (against Newcastle) but it is a massive lesson for us. We are young but we try always to push and never give up. That was the best lesson we can take from the game. We need to show we are clever and have experience to use in the future. Every game is different. It’s part of the process to grow and to improve like a team. Was really important, step by step, we are building something good. Still far away. We are up and down but we are doing things that are positive.

Wolves game will be tough. We saw many games where it is tough to play there. It will be a challenge. Our objective is to win the game then think three days after Palace then after Luton. Massive for us to help our position.”


For Wolves, Joe Hodge (shoulder) remains out and Jonny has an extended spell on the naughty step after a serious training-ground incident. However, Jose Sa (shoulder) is fit again, and Pedro Neto (hamstring) could also return and Nelson Semedo has recovered from illness.

For Chelsea, Wesley Fofana (knee), Ben Chilwell (Hamstring), Trevoh Chalobah (thigh), Carney Chukwuemeka (knee), Robert Sanchez (knee), and Marc Cucurella (ankle), all remain out. Reece James (thigh) has finally had surgery and we wish him well in his recovery. Romeo Lavia (ankle), Noni Madueke and Lesley Ugochukwu (both unspecified), have returned to training but would have bit-parts at best, whilst Enzo Fernandez (hernia) is yet another addition to our ever-growing absentee list.


WOLVES (Possible line-up): Sa; Kilman, Toti, Dawson; Semedo, Lemina, Gomes, Bellegarde, Ait-Nouri; Cunha, Hwang

CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Petrovic; Gusto, Silva, Badiashile, Colwill; Caicedo, Gallagher; Sterling, Palmer, Mudryk; Jackson


Wolves 1-0 Chelsea (8th April 2023)





  • Wolves won this fixture last season.
  • Chelsea are winless in three previous visits to Molineux.
  • Wolves are unbeaten in six at Molineux in the Premier League.
  • Wolves have scored in each of their last 15 Premier League home games.
  • Wolves have won six successive top-flight home games versus London opposition.
  • Chelsea have lost three successive Premier League games away from home.
  • Chelsea are vying to win back-to-back Premier League matches for only the third time in 2023.
  • Chelsea are without a win in all three of their Christmas Eve away league fixtures, drawing one and losing two.


Sportsmole: Wolves 1-2 Chelsea



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