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Preview: Chelsea vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Sunday's Premier League encounter between Chelsea and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Chelsea play host to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon looking to register their fourth successive victory in all competitions.

Wolves make the trip to Stamford Bridge keen to complete the double over the Blues, having prevailed at Molineux in December.


Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri watches on during the EFL Cup final against Manchester City on February 24, 2019© Reuters

Chelsea have only won four of their last eight matches in the Premier League, but Maurizio Sarri is aware that his team could potentially return to the top four in the standings by the end of the week.

The Blues are just two points adrift of Manchester United - who face fellow rivals Arsenal on Sunday - and a draw between those two clubs and a two-goal triumph for Chelsea would leave Sarri's men ahead of both teams with a game in hand.

That scenario would see the recent doom and gloom lifted from Stamford Bridge in the short term, and it would be a welcome break for Sarri who has frequently had to field questions about his future.

Speculation has eased over the past two weeks, however, with Chelsea delivering a much-improved performance against Manchester City in the EFL Cup final before registering wins over each of Tottenham Hotspur, Fulham and Dynamo Kiev.

Chelsea were perhaps fortunate to edge out neighbours Fulham at Craven Cottage but as it stands, Sarri and his side remain on course to achieve their targets in each of the Premier League and Europa League at a crucial period of the season.

Sarri will be delighted that his backline has improved considerably in recent weeks with just four goals being conceded in seven outings, while Chelsea are also beginning to click in the final third.

Gonzalo Higuain is showing signs of getting up to speed with the pace of English football, while Pedro and Willian have given better accounts of themselves than at the turn of the year.

That has resulted in Callum Hudson-Odoi having to remain patient on the bench, but the youngster showed in midweek that he can have a significant impact on what Chelsea achieve by the end of the season.

Recent form: LLWLWW
Recent form (all competitions): LWDWWW

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Nuno Espirito Santo  during the Premier League game between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Leicester City on January 19, 2019© Reuters

There have been signs that tiredness has started to become a factor in Wolves' squad, and it comes as little surprise with Nuno Espirito Santo only using 17 outfield players in the Premier League this season.

However, Nuno discovered the benefits of making changes last weekend as Wolves produced a dominant performance against Cardiff City, and it was a result which has kept the club in seventh place in the table.

Those alterations were partly made with the FA Cup quarter-final with Manchester United in mind, but it at least reassured the Portuguese that he does not have to rely on a tried-and-tested starting lineup.

Those who were rested last weekend will return for the game in England's capital, and there will be a desire to build on a superb record away at the biggest clubs in the Premier League.

Five points have been recorded in games away at Man United, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, with the emphatic defeat at Manchester City partly due to Willy Boly's early red card.

Wolves have also got the better of Chelsea this season, and Nuno will be confident of a similar result with his squad having had a much-needed break this week.

Last season's Championship winners can also head into their remaining fixtures having achieved their best-ever points total in the Premier League, but Wolves will no doubt want to end the campaign with a place in next season's Europa League.

Whether that target will stay achievable remains to be seen, but there has been every indication that Wolves have reached the stage in their development where they will not be overawed against any of their opponents.

Recent form: WWDDLW
Recent form (all competitions): WDWDLW

Team News

Callum Hudson-Odoi after Chelsea's FA Cup win over Sheffield Wednesday on January 27, 2019.© Reuters

Sarri has a decision to make regarding Hudson-Odoi - who only featured on the bench against Dynamo Kiev - but Pedro could get the nod over the academy graduate.

Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger, Emerson Palmieri, N'Golo Kante, Eden Hazard and Higuain did not feature in the starting lineup against the Ukrainian giants, but each of those players should start at the weekend.

Ross Barkley is expected to get the nod over Mateo Kovacic, having been withdrawn just after the hour mark on Thursday evening.

Wolves have a fully-fit squad, but Romain Saiss is expected to replace Ryan Bennett due to the defender's two-match suspension for 10 yellow cards.

Rui Patricio will return between the sticks, while Matt Doherty, Jonny Otto, Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho should all feature in the starting lineup.

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Palmieri; Kante, Jorginho, Barkley; Pedro, Higuain, Hazard

Wolverhampton Wanderers possible starting lineup:
Patricio; Saiss, Coady, Boly; Doherty, Dendoncker, Moutinho, Neves, Otto; Jota, Jimenez

Head To Head

Sunday's encounter will represent the 107th competitive meeting between the two clubs, with Chelsea having recorded 41 wins in comparison to 39 victories for Wolves.

However, the West Londoners have prevailed in 10 of the last 12 contests, with each of Wolves' triumphs coming in the West Midlands.

Wolves have not won at Stamford Bridge since a 1-0 success in a Division One fixture in 1974.

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We say: Chelsea 3-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers

Wolves have already proven that they are capable of gaining results against the top clubs this season, but we are backing Chelsea this weekend. Sarri appears to be rotating between a tight-knit group of 20 players and while there may be a couple of alterations, it should not prevent the Blues from claiming victory.

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Chelsea forward Eden Hazard in action during the EFL Cup final against Manchester City on February 24, 2019
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