HomeFootball NewsWolverhampton Wanderers vs Chelsea: Preview, expected line-ups, how to watch and prediction

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Chelsea: Preview, expected line-ups, how to watch and prediction

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The State of Play

While Gary O’Neil may not be facing intense pressure at Molineux, Wolverhampton Wanderers’ fans are eagerly anticipating a response from their team. The recent 3-0 defeat by West Ham at the London Stadium has left Wolves in the bottom half of the table as they approach this weekend’s fixtures.

Following their impressive come-from-behind victory against Tottenham Hotspur in mid-November, Wolves have struggled with just one win in the last five matches. Despite O’Neil’s commendable tactical strategies this season, the team’s inconsistency is beginning to raise concerns among supporters.

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Mauricio Pochettino leads a Chelsea side that has grappled with inconsistency throughout the campaign, struggling to secure convincing victories. Their recent narrow win against Newcastle in the EFL Cup quarter-finals highlighted their difficulty in achieving decisive results.

Having failed to win 36 of their last 46 Premier League matches, Chelsea continue to adapt to the unique project and recruitment policy led by Todd Boehly, adding an element of unpredictability to their season.

Team News

Gary O’Neil has stated that Portuguese goalkeeper Jose Sa is fit, while there is a possibility that compatriot Pedro Neto will join him as the winger has resumed training this week.

Despite earlier absences of key players like Craig Dawson, Matheus Cunha, Nelson Semedo, and Mario Lemina due to illness, all of them had returned to training by Thursday and are expected to be available for selection on Sunday.

Mauricio Pochettino has faced numerous challenges with injuries and disruptions to his squad this season. Unfortunately, his captain, Reece James, who was already set to be out for an extended period, is now confirmed to undergo hamstring surgery in Finland, ruling him out until April.

While the return of Christopher Nkunku is a positive development for the Blues, they still grapple with several injury concerns. Players like Marc Cucurella and Robert Sanchez are among those sidelined, and the recent midweek game against Newcastle saw Enzo Fernandez forced off, adding to their ongoing injury worries.

Expected Line-ups

Wolverhampton Wanderers: Sa; Kilman, Dawson, Toti; Semedo, Lemina, Gomes, Bellegarde; Hwang, Cunha, Sarabia

Chelsea: Petrovic; Gusto, Silva, Badiashile, Colwill; Gallagher, Caicedo; Sterling, Palmer, Mudryk; Jackson

What they Said

Gary O’Neil on the Christmas schedule:

“Our games have been crammed into a shorter spell than most. It will allow us to learn a lot about the group. I would like a positive result so everyone can enjoy their Christmas Day.”

Maurizio Pochettino on his side’s progression:

“Step by step we are building something good. Still far away from what we want but we are in a good way and doing things that will be positive for the future.”

When and How to Watch

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Chelsea will be televised live on Sky Sports, and can be streamed live on Sky Go.

Prediction

Gary O’Neil has showcased his managerial prowess in matches against the so-called ‘big’ teams this season. Whether at Bournemouth or with Wolves, he has excelled in home games against reputed stronger opposition, though Chelsea’s current status might question that classification. Notably, his team has already secured victories against both Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at Molineux this season. The Blues, on the other hand, face challenges in securing frequent wins, with even their recent cup quarter-final triumph coming after a penalty shootout. Therefore, we think there’s a decent chance Wolves come out on top in this one.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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