It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas in the Premier League; a time of year when the games come thick and fast and we've got a couple of corkers for you tonight on Sports Mole
. Here, our focus is on Molineux where wobbling Wolverhampton Wanderers
take on Champions League-chasing Chelsea. Let's get to the team news...
WOLVES: Patricio; Boly, Coady, Bennett; Vinagre, Moutinho, Saiss, Doherty; Gibbs-White, Jota, Jimenez
Subs: Ruddy, Hause, Dendoncker, Costa, Cavaleiro, Traore, Bonatini
Kepa; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Christensen, Alonso; Fabregas, Kante, Loftus-Cheek; Willian
, Hazard, MorataSubs:
Caballero, Zappacosta, Luiz, Jorginho, Kovacic, Pedro
Kepa; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Christensen, Alonso; Fabregas, Kante, Loftus-Cheek; Willian, Hazard, MorataSubs:
Caballero, Zappacosta, Luiz, Jorginho, Kovacic, Pedro
makes five changes to his starting lineup to freshen things up from Sunday's 2-0 win over Fulham, including handing a first Premier League start of the season for Ruben Loftus-Cheek
as a reward for his goal as a substitute against the Cottagers. Eden Hazard
's fitness also gets a vote of confidence with a second start in three days which is even more significant considering that Manchester City await at the weekend.
Marcos Alonso is okay to start despite a back problem but Chelsea's ever-present Premier League defence is still split up for the first time this season as Andres Christensen comes in to give David Luiz a rest. There is no day off for Cesar Azpilicueta who captains the side on the week that he signed a new contract at Stamford Bridge.
Elsewhere from the win over Fulham, Alvaro Morata and Willian replace Olivier Giroud and Pedro in the forward three, and Cesc Fabregas gets his opportunity in the deep-lying role that firmly belongs to the benched Jorginho, as Sarri has made clear amidst suggestions that N'golo Kante is not being played in his most effective position.
Matteo Kovacic has shaken off an ankle knock to take his place among the Chelsea subs but there is no Ross Barkley in the squad - the midfielder missed last weekend's London derby through injury. Victor Moses is also still missing for the Blues, who field an XI of full internationals despite the beginning of the inevitable festive rotation.
Wolves boss Nuno Espirio Santo does not quite have the same tools at his disposal but he does make three changes from Friday's defeat to Cardiff City. One of them is enforced with Ruben Neves
having earned himself a suspension courtesy of five yellow cards, so talented youngster Morgan Gibbs-White comes in for his first Premier League start.
is recalled to the Wolves back three as Nuno pushes Romain Saiss into holding midfield to deputise for Neves. Gibbs-White, a central midfielder by trade, looks set to line up on the right of the forward three, with Helder Costa and Adama Traore both having been dropped. Diogo Jota
is restored for his first start in a month after injury.
Ruben Vinagre continues at left wing-back with Jonny a long-term absentee. On the other flank, Matt Doherty
has been directly involved in four Premier League goals this season, scoring two and assisting two. The only defenders with higher tallies after 14 games are Jose Holebas and Benjamin Mendy (six and five respectively).
It wasn't long ago that Wolves were being billed as the best team to ever come up from the Championship, earning rave reviews after holding Manchester City to a 1-1 draw as part of their assured return to the top flight. However, five defeats in their last six matches has seen Nuno Espirito Santo
's side drop to 13th in the table. So why has the bubble burst?
It is not as though the fixture list has dealt Wolves a dose of reality. They have played Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal in this winless run, their only point from a possible 18 coming against the Gunners at the Emirates Stadium, but their two most recent defeats have been against Huddersfield Town and Cardiff City who, despite upturns in form, remain in the bottom five.
Injuries certainly aren't to blame. Nuno has used fewer players than any other Premier League manager so far this season (17) and had the luxury of naming an unchanged starting XI for his first nine fixtures. Only Diogo Jota has spent any sustained time on the sidelines and the Portuguese winger made his return in the defeat to Cardiff last Friday evening.
What has caught up with Wolves is their lack of firepower. The Black & Golds scored only nine goals across their first eight league matches of the season, and have since managed four in six. Their defence carried them to 15 points with a record of 0.66 goals per game against in the first eight games but that is top-four numbers and was never going to be sustainable.
Nuno refused to attribute blame to either his attack nor defence when interviewed by BBC Sport this week, emphasising the collective responsibility to return Wolves to winning ways. He said: "A team is like a player, it has ups and downs. You have to find solutions to help them and give them good advice and work with them. It doesn't have to do with confidence, it has to do with so many aspects of the game - technical, tactical, mental - and we have to solve it."
Defeat tonight would see Wolves suffer four consecutive home league defeats for the first time since a poor run in the Championship in October and November 2016. This is already Nuno's worst sequence as a manager in five years, going back to his early days at Rio Ave. Not at Valencia nor Porto did the 44-year-old endure a spell as difficult as this one.
While all four of their league wins this term have come against teams below them in the table prior to this round of fixtures, Wolves have threatened several times to claim a big Premier League scalp, drawing with both Manchester clubs and Arsenal, and falling just short of a thrilling comeback against Spurs. Chelsea will know they have a game on their hands.
One thing in favour of the hosts this evening is the extra two days worth of rest and preparation. Wolves were last in action on Friday, while Chelsea played as recently as Sunday although their London derby with Fulham wasn't especially taxing. It was the solid response needed to the emphatic loss at Tottenham and took them back into third position in the table.
The three goals leaked at Wembley account for three-quarters of the away Premier League goals that the Blues have conceded this campaign. The only other time their defence was breached in eight matches on the road in all competitions this season was way back in August against Newcastle. They strung together four away clean sheets in the league after that.
That being said, Chelsea are yet to keep successive clean sheets in the Premier League under Maurizio Sarri, with Stamford Bridge the unlikely weak link in this equation. While clean sheets may not be as important a currency for the former banker as most of his fellow Italian managers, tonight represents a good opportunity for Sarri to earn some brownie points back home.
The Londoners have lost just one of their last 13 away league games against newly-promoted sides, with that defeat coming at Newcastle on the final day of last season. That run has included 10 victories including ones against Cardiff and Fulham this campaign, although both at home.
The Blues have won seven of their last nine games in league and cup, dispelling suggestions that they were too reliant on Eden Hazard
for goals as the Belgian has not scored at all in that sequence, his last strike coming against Southampton on October 7.
Hazard has been directly involved in 12 Premier League goals this term, scoring seven and assisting five, with only Raheem Sterling of Manchester City (14) and Callum Wilson of Bournemouth (16) boasting a better record than the reigning PFA Player of the Year.
Chelsea have needed others to step up during Hazard's dry spell in front of goal and Pedro has done just that with a goal in each of his last two league starts. The Spaniard has five goals in 12 league appearances this season - more than he managed in 31 outings last season - and his omisson tonight certainly is based on fitness rather than form.
HEAD TO HEAD: Chelsea have won the last four meetings in league and cup by an aggregate score of 13-1, including a 2-0 victory at Molineux in the FA Cup fourth round in 2016-17. Pedro was a scorer that day too, breaking the deadlock before Diego Costa sealed it late on.
Wanderers own only one victory over the Blues since 1983, which came in a Premier League game at Molineux on 5 January 2011, courtesy of a Jose Bosingwa own goal. If Wolves are looking for good omens, that was also a Wednesday evening match...
Just over 10 minutes to go until kickoff at Molineux. A reminder that there are five other Premier League matches taking place this evening, including Manchester United vs. Arsenal which you can follow with my colleague Darren Plant here
AS IT STANDS: For all of the doom and gloom about Wolves in this preview, they remain a healthy seven points clear of the relegation zone ahead of this one, and victory would take them above West Ham United into 12th. Chelsea will be hoping that either Spurs or Arsenal drop points tonight and they can cement their third-place standing with a win.
The players are about to emerge from the tunnel at Molineux, where the fans are being treated to an explosive lights show this evening. Chelsea are in town and Wolves are certainly putting on a show. It should help create a great atmosphere.
PREDICTION: This is the first time that Sarri has really had to shuffle his pack in the Premier League and the big boys have not found Wolves easy opponents this season. I think the Blues have enough attacking firepower to cause the hosts problems, and I don't think the same of Nuno's men so I will go for 2-0 Chelsea.
KICKOFF: The action is underway at Molineux, where Jonathan Moss is the referee this evening. I will try my best to also keep you updated with the goals going in elsewhere in the Premier League tonight...
Chelsea have started on the front foot, with Fabregas lifting a ball over the Wolves defence for Hazard to hit over his shoulder on the volley, but he skies the difficult left-footed volley high.
We talked about Doherty's attacking threat in our preview and the wing-back has just demonstrated it here with an adventurous run in which he skips past Alonso far too easily. The cross is cut out by the first man.
Kante's cross reaches Hazard at the back post, and the Belgian must have thought he had less time than he did because he rushes a side-footed shot that was easy pickings for Rui Patricio
. Nuno will be concerned that Hazard found himself in so much space, but relieved he couldn't capitalise on it.
Gibbs-White brings Molineux to its feet with a dazzling 50-yard dribble in which he bypassed two or three Blue shirts. The youngster switches the play to Vinagre who feeds the overlapping run of Jota whose cross is hooked clear by Christensen.
The long throws of Bennett could be a real weapon for Wolves tonight. Twice already the defender has launched the ball into the centre of the box with Boly the intended target. Kepa starts way off his line and punches this one clear.
Morata works space for a shot on his left foot from 25 yards out but cannot keep it down. Quick feet from the striker initially but he lacked the finesse to trouble Patricio, and it would take some effort to do so from that distance.
Nuno has made a subtle change to his shape to try to combat Chelsea in a similar way to how Spurs did a fortnight ago. Gibbs-White is playing the Dele Alli role of man-marking the deep-lying midfielder, in this case Fabregas.
Half a chance for Wolves, with Gibbs-White the architecht with a nicely weighted through-ball for Jota. The Portuguese still has 30 yards to goal and Willian and Rudiger are quick enough to keep up and combine to prevent the shot.
GOAL! WOLVES 0-1 CHELSEA (RUBEN LOFTUS-CHEEK)
Chelsea take the lead with a major slice of luck, Loftus-Cheek cutting inside to line up a 20-yard shot which is going straight into Patricio's hands before Coady, attempting to make a block, heads it past his own goalkeeper and into the bottom corner. It should go down as an own goal really, but the initial shot was on target. One for the dubious goals panel!
UPDATE: Elsewhere there has been a goal at Goodison Park where Salomon Rondon has given visiting Newcastle a surprise lead. Chelsea fans will have one eye on Old Trafford and Wembley where the action has just kicked off.
SAVE! Hazard skips past Moutinho and draws a foul which gives Chelsea a free-kick in Willian range. The Brazilian goes for goal and his effort is dipping right into the top corner before Patricio gets his fingertips to it and pushes it over. Great save.
Twice Wolves fail to clear from a Chelsea corner but they are given a let off when Rudiger takes on a 20 yard volley on his weaker left foot. The German is clearly playing with some confidence but I feel that was a tad ambitious.
CHANCE! Jota does really well down the left against Azpilicueta, who is probably the best one-on-one defender in the league and doesn't give the winger much room from which to dig a cross out. But dig a cross out he does and Jimenez heads over a difficult chance at the near post.
Gibbs-White looks every inch the star, giving Kante the runaround in midfield here with a lovely pirouette. He looks like the Wolves player most likely to inspire an equaliser here.
Lovely interplay between Fabregas and Hazard in a congested Wolves penalty area nearly creates a shooting chance for the latter. In the end, Hazard shifts it right to Willian but the Chelsea momentum is halted by referee Moss blowing his whistle because of a head injury to Fabregas who had clattered into Coady in the build-up.
LATEST: Fabregas has returned to the field and his first touch is greeted by booes from the Wolves fans which is completely unnecessary. Meanwhile at Wembley, Harry Kane has given Spurs an early lead against Southampton whose new manager Ralph Hasenhüttl is watching from the stands.
Jimenez makes a driving run through the midfield but Loftus-Cheek tracks him all the way and makes an important tackle on the edge of the box. Sarri has questioned the England international's defensive capablities in a central midfield role but he certainly did his job there.
Wolves are favouring a long switch of play to the wing-backs, and such a pass brings Vinagre into play here. His early delivery is a good one, flicked on at the near post by Rudiger which makes the subsequent header for Jimenez very tricky to direct.
YELLOW CARD! Jonathan Moss brandishes his first yellow card of the game for Saiss's mistimed slide tackle on Willian. Wolves had just put together a really good move, with Vinagre crossing deep for Jimenez to knock down for Gibbs-White arriving in the box. This time it was Fabregas of Chelsea's midfielders who stayed with his man to make a vital block.
CHANCE! Speaking of vital blocks, Bennett has just saved Wolves from going 2-0 down. Hazard dinks the ball into the right channel for Willian to run onto, and the Brazilian is into the penalty area and preparing to pull the trigger when Bennett throws himself across Willian to knock the ball behind for a corner. Brilliant from Bennett who must have made up 10-15 yards worth of ground.
LATEST: Manchester United will have to come from behind again to get any points this evening as Arsenal have taken the lead against the Red Devils, with Shkodran Mustafi the unlikely goalscorer. Everton are now level with Newcastle with Richarlison having scored his seventh of the season.
Things have been hotting up here with some stiff midfield challenges for the last five minutes, and Jonathan Moss has to calm the Wolves players down after one particular tackle from Bennett on Morata, which it must be said was more than fair. Morata has taken a bit of a bruising all half actually, and it may be a battle more suited to Olivier Giroud.
Chelsea move the ball nicely through midfield until Hazard's attempt to tee up Loftus-Cheek on the edge of the box is intercepted. It is crucial that Wolves make it to the break without conceding again - they have another minute to survive.
HALF TIME: WOLVES 0-1 CHELSEA
The half-time whistle blows with Chelsea 1-0 up at Molineux but Wolves are more than in this game. While Chelsea have been marginally the better team, it has taken a very unfortunate deflection to seperate the sides, with the goal credited to Ruben Loftus-Cheek which makes it two in two for the midfielder.
LATEST: Here are the half-time scores in the Premier League tonight: Burnley 0-0 Liverpool; Everton 1-1 Newcastle; Fulham 1-0 Leicester; Wolves 0-1 Chelsea; Man United 1-1 Arsenal (L); Spurs 1-0 Southampton (L).
Loftus-Cheek may be on the scoresheet but the young England talent to catch the eye in that opening 45 minutes was Morgan Gibbs-White. The 18-year-old has been confident, combative and showed real flair. Gareth Southgate - and others - may be watching.
MATCH STATS: Chelsea have enjoyed 67% possession so far but the action does not feel as one-sided as that. While they have had three shots on target, only Willian drew a serious save out of Rui Patricio. Wolves have had some decent openings but have failed to test Kepa with Chelsea's defence proving hard to break down.
BENCH WATCH: Nuno has plenty of attacking options on the bench although none of Costa, Traore or Bonatini have been in great form this season. Sarri will want to kill this game off and get Hazard wrapped up warm before long so I'm sure we will see Pedro in the second half. Giroud is also an option with Morata struggling physically against the three centre-backs.
If Wolves can play like they did in the second half against Tottenham here last month then they have got a chance of getting something from this game. They might not get many chances so will need to take them when they come.
KICKOFF: The action resumes at Molineux, and we are so close to a second goal within 30 seconds! We saw some brilliant defensive blocks in the first half, but this from Boly tops the lot as he makes a last-ditch slide to prod the ball off the toe of Morata who was waiting for a simple tap-in at the back post from Alonso's low cross.
SHOT! Another sight of goal for Morata who gets above Coady from Azpilicueta's cross but can't control a difficult header. The striker has not been in as bad a form as people may have you believe but it doesn't look like tonight will be his night.
Saiss, who is already on a yellow card, is lucky to get away with a blatant shirt tug on Willian. Jonathan Moss lets him get away with it but can be seen highlighting to Wolves skipper Connor Coady that the midfielder is on his last warning.
Morata finds a pocket of space in between the lines and drives towards the box but only succeeds in running into trouble.
YELLOW CARD! Referee Moss isn't as lenient with Moutinho as he was with Saiss, showing the veteran Portuguese a yellow card for ripping at the shirt of Hazard, who has been too quick for him all night, several times. Maybe in your pomp, Joao.
Wonderful vision and execution from Fabregas to pick out Willian who blazes over on the half-volley with his left foot, just as he was entering the box. That is two decent chances now for the Brazilian but they've both fallen on his swinger.
SHOT! Hazard drifts in from the left and tees up Kante for a 25-yard strike which finishes a few yards wide. Patricio looked to have it covered. The Frenchman has never scored more than one goal in a Premier League season, and already has his one.
GOAL! WOLVES 1-1 CHELSEA (RAUL JIMENEZ)
Wolves draw level through Raul Jimenez
, but it is a mistake from the world's most expensive goalkeeper Kepa! Gibbs-White does well to set up the Mexican striker who thrashes his right foot through the ball from the inside right of the area, and it goes under the body of the Chelsea stopper who got his body in a horrible position.
YELLOW CARD! Wolves skipper Coady is shown a yellow card for dissent, but Wolves are lucky that it wasn't pointed in the direction of Saiss, who had caught Willian with a slide tackle and triggered Chelsea protests. The young midfielder appeared to have been given his last warning already but Moss makes it perfectly clear he'll stand for no more.
GOAL! WOLVES 2-1 CHELSEA (DIOGO JOTA)
What a turnaround from the hosts, who with two goals in the space of four minutes have really ruffled Chelsea's feathers here! Moutinho knocks Willian off the ball too easily from a Chelsea perspective, and the midfielder shifts it onto Doherty's whose cross is perfectly weighted for the unmarked Jota to slot home at the back post!
SUBSTITUTIONS: Sarri responds immediately with a double change, bringing on Pedro and Giroud for Willian and Morata.
YELLOW CARD! You know when you get a feeling that a match isn't going to end 11 vs. 11? I've got that feeling. Nuno is incensed with the latest yellow card, shown to Vinagre whose tackle on Loftus-Cheek was a very good one. Both sets of players, rightly or wrongly, feel aggreived and tempers are starting to flare.
LATEST: Burnley 1-2 Liverpool; Everton 1-1 Newcastle; Fulham 1-1 Leicester; Wolves 2-1 Chelsea; Man United 1-1 Arsenal; Tottenham 3-0 Southampton.
SUBSTITUTION: Nuno has made his first substitution and it is Gibbs-White who makes way for Helder Costa. The teenager was very impressive and I can only assume a lack of recent match time is behind his early withdrawal.
Chelsea will wonder quite how they are in this position. They were pushing for a second in the early stages of this half and suddenly within the space of four minutes they are staring down the barrel of a second defeat in three games.
Pedro swings a corner straight down the throat of Patricio much to the frustration of Rudiger who had come forward and can be dangerous from dead-ball situations. Giroud is also a brillaint target to aim for. How many late goals have we seen him score with his head? Can he rescue Chelsea here?
SUBSTITUTION: Sarri makes his final change, sacrificing Kante for the extra creativity of Barkley.
CLOSE! Doherty backs off Hazard and invites the Belgian to shoot, which he does just a few inches wide of Patricio's post. There was plenty of venom behind the strike from the left edge of the box, but it was always swerving away from goal.
Chelsea have scored in the final 10 minutes of 10 of their 14 Premier League games this season...
SUBSTITUTION: Wolves fans are finally going to see summer signing Leander Dendoncker in Premier League action as he comes on for Jimenez to help the hosts protect this lead.
CHANCE! We spoke about Giroud's aerial threat but he cannot keep this header down, and time is running out for the Blues.
CHANCE! That could have been the moment for Chelsea. Alonso's cross is only partially cleared by Bennett's header and the ball falls perfectly to Fabregas, who curls a shot over the ball from the 18-yard line. You would expect a player of the Spaniard's class to do better from there.
SUBSTITUTION: Nuno winds down the clock a little more with his final change as Ivan Cavaleiro comes on for the potential match-winner Diogo Jota.
YELLOW CARD! There will be FIVE minutes of stoppage time, but Wolves get the opportunity to eat into that in the corner when Alonso clatters into the back of Doherty, and receives a booking for his troubles.
LATEST: No heart in mouth moments for the Wolves fans so far in added time. Elsewhere, Liverpool have come from behind to lead Burnley, Spurs are coasting against Southampton and Man United vs. Arsenal is locked at 2-2!
YELLOW CARD! An eighth yellow card of the game is shown to Christiansen. Chelsea have lost their composure in the final 10 minutes, and they could be about to lose something even more important - three points and ground in the top-four race.
FULL TIME: WOLVES 2-1 CHELSEA
What a win for Wolves - their biggest scalp since their return to the Premier League inspired by a second-half comeback as goals from Jimenez and Jota in the space of four minutes helped end their six-match winless run. Meanwhile it is two defeats in three for Chelsea, and Manchester City next up at Stamford Bridge on Saturday...
That's it from our coverage from Molineux. You can read our match report of the action here, and catch up on the rest of tonight's Premier League scores here. Thanks for joining me this evening. Until next time, goodbye!
That's it from our coverage from Molineux. You can read our match report of the action here
, and catch up on the rest of tonight's Premier League scores here
. Thanks for joining me this evening. Until next time, goodbye!