MX23RW : Wednesday, June 16 10:00:02| >> :120:4786:4786:
Sep 14, 2019 at 3pm UK at Molineux
Attendance: 31,534
WolvesWolverhampton Wanderers
Abraham (69' og.), Cutrone (85')
FT(HT: 0-3)
Tomori (31'), Abraham (34', 41', 55'), Mount (96')

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

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

Wolverhampton Wanderers play host to Chelsea on Saturday afternoon looking to end their winless start to the new Premier League campaign, having recorded three draws and a defeat before the international break.

Chelsea have also endured a relatively slow start to the season, with Frank Lampard having witnessed his team register just five points from their four outings.

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo pictured on July 25, 2019© Reuters

Despite failing to prevail in any of their opening four top-flight fixtures, there remains an air of optimism at Molineux with Wolves having recently earned a place in the group stages of the Europa League.

However, while there is excitement ahead of their meeting with Braga on Thursday night, Nuno Espirito Santo has a job on his hands to ensure that his players do not become distracted from their responsibilities on the domestic front.

There has been little sign of that so far - merely mistakes being made through mental tiredness after an exhausting first period of the season - but Wolves face a relentless schedule over the next few weeks at a time when they need to move away from the relegation zone.

While Wolves are not contemplating a potential battle for survival, the defeat to Everton before the international break has left Nuno's side sitting in 17th position, a far cry from the loftier heights that they experienced last season.

If Nuno is to be given the best platform to rotate his group of players until December, Wolves need to get their first Premier League victory on the board as soon as possible.

There is a feeling that the West Midlands outfit can go deep in the Europa League, and the club's owners are all too aware that the reward for the winners of the competition is a place in the Champions League.

Nevertheless, even though there is a strong argument that they have more chance of achieving that goal through their participation in European football's second-tier tournament than through the Premier League, they will be eager to avoid losing any of the progress made in their opening year back in the top flight.

With Crystal Palace and Watford to follow facing an inconsistent Chelsea side, there is a window of opportunity to make quick progress up the table, but Nuno still has work to do in order to get the best out of his close-knit squad.

Recent form: DDDL
Recent form (all competitions): WDWDWL


Chelsea boss Frank Lampard on August 31, 2019© Reuters

After witnessing his team suffer a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester United on the opening day of the season, Frank Lampard deserves a certain amount of credit for being able to pick up five points from matches against Leicester City, Norwich City and Sheffield United.

However, while there will be little concern about being off the pace at this stage of the season, Lampard is aware that he faces the most important week of his tenure so far.

While facing Wolves on away territory is a difficult test in itself, a home Champions League showdown with Valencia and a Premier League encounter with Liverpool keeps the club legend under pressure in the dugout.

Question marks regarding Lampard will remain unless Chelsea are able to make considerable improvements, most importantly at the back where they are yet to keep a clean sheet.

They appeared well set to break that streak when being two goals to the good against Sheffield United before the international break, only for the Blades to score within a minute of the second half getting underway and during the final seconds of normal time.

The mistakes and lapses in concentration in defence have been a common theme of the opening five matches in all competitions, and it is something which Lampard must eradicate in order to get anywhere near to challenging for the top four.

Antonio Rudiger and N'Golo Kante have been notable absentees who could return this weekend, although Lampard will not have been left impressed with the efforts of the players given extra responsibility without their presence in the team.

On the plus side, Chelsea have looked a threat at the opposite end of the pitch, where Tammy Abraham has netted four goals in his last two outings, but the onus now is to find some stability in a bid to get back into contention further up the table.

Recent form: LDWD
Recent form (all competitions): LDDWD

Team News

Antonio Rudiger in action for Chelsea on November 4, 2018© Reuters

Having successfully come through two second-string fixtures after his recovery from a knee injury, Rudiger could be handed his first Chelsea start of the season.

Emerson Palmieri may miss out after sustaining a knock while on international duty with Italy, potentially leading to an appearance for Marcos Alonso.

Kante should be in a position to start at the expense of Mateo Kovacic, who is carrying an Achilles problem, while Willian could come in for Ross Barkley.

Nuno is forced to make at least one alteration after Willy Boly was sent off against Everton, which should lead to a first Premier League outing for Jesus Vallejo.

Raul Jimenez may have to make do with a spot among the replacements after representing Mexico during the early hours of Wednesday morning, while Romain Saiss is an injury doubt having missed each of Morocco's fixtures during the international break.

Adama Traore should feature at right wing-back as a result of Matt Doherty remaining sidelined after a minor operation.

Wolverhampton Wanderers possible starting lineup:
Patricio; Bennett, Coady, Vallejo; Traore, Dendoncker, Neves, Moutinho, Otto; Jota, Cutrone

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Zouma, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho; Pulisic, Mount, Willian; Abraham

Head To Head

Saturday's encounter will represent the 108th competitive fixture between the two clubs, with Chelsea registering 41 wins in comparison to 39 victories for Wolves.

While Chelsea prevailed in cup ties between the teams in 2012 and 2017, it was Wolves who had the better of the two games in the Premier League last season.

After prevailing by a 2-1 scoreline at Molineux in December, Wolves were only denied a double over the Blues by a last-gasp strike from Eden Hazard at Stamford Bridge.

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We say: Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-1 Chelsea

While Chelsea have produced some good football going forward, they are still conceding far too many goals at the other end. Given that this weekend's opposition tend to play better in the second half than the first, we expect that to prove pivotal in what could turn out to be a relatively comfortable success for Wolves.

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Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante scores the opening goal in his side's EFL Cup semi-final second leg with Tottenham Hotspur on January 24, 2019
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