Chelsea v Wolves Match Preview

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The 2019/20 Premier League season comes to an end on Sunday and, with much still left to be decided, it’s set to be a thrilling conclusion to a bizarre season. Wolves’ final game is away at Chelsea and it’s a game that holds massive importance to both teams, with Chelsea still battling for a place in the Champions League and Wolves looking to secure another season of Europa League football. The match kicks off at 4 pm and will be available to watch on Sky Sports Football.

Wolves Form

Sunday will be Wolves’ 57th game in all competitions this season and comes one year and one day after the season opener against Crusaders in the Europa League second qualifying round. No matter what happens on Sunday it’s been a great season for Wolves. They are guaranteed to finish at least seventh in the league, are still in the Europa League and have surpassed their points total from last season. 

Their last game was against Crystal Palace at Molineux where they won 2-0. Nuno decided to make some changes to the team after the 1-1 draw against Burnley with Adama Traore moving from the wing-back position to replace Diogo Jota upfront, Matt Doherty and Jonny Otto returning to the team and Leander Dendoncker replacing Romain Saiss in the defence.

Wolves had a pretty good game but they were up against a poor Crystal Palace side. Both of the goals were really well worked and it was great to see Wolves score before half time which I think gave them more confidence then going into the second half of the game. It was also great to see Daniel Podence score his first Premier League goal, he has been playing really well so it was nice to see that pay off.

The main concern against Chelsea will be concentration and defensive organisation. Last season at Stamford Bridge, Wolves were leading for most of the second half but late pressure from Chelsea paid off with Eden Hazard equalising in injury time. This game is important for both teams and Wolves will need to be at the top of their game to ensure that no lapses in concentration cost them points.

Chelsea Form

Since the restart, Chelsea have only lost three games and they have beaten both of their rivals for the top four, Leicester and Manchester United

Their main problem this season has been in defence. They have conceded 54 goals in the Premier League this season, only one short of their highest tally in the competition, and have also conceded 46% of the shots on target they have faced this season, the highest ratio in the division.

These defensive weaknesses showed in their last game against Liverpool at Anfield where they lost 5-3. Chelsea started the game better and while aspects of their performance were impressive, these aspects weren’t enough to outweigh their defensive problems. 

For me, Christian Pulisic is the one to look out for after his performance on Wednesday. Despite only featuring as a substitute, his introduction had a big impact on the game. His pace and skill unsettled Liverpool and he created a goal for Tammy Abraham as well as getting on the score sheet himself. He has made 24 appearances for Chelsea, scoring nine goals and assisting four, and could prove to be a real threat against Wolves.

Chelsea v Wolves Team News

Matt Doherty will be looking to make his 300th appearance for Wolves on Sunday in his 10th year at the club. Nuno will have a fully fit squad to chose from and after a decent performance against Palace, I’m predicting an unchanged side of:

Patricio, Boly, Coady, Dendoncker, Doherty, Moutinho, Neves, Jonny, Traore, Jimenez, Podence.

For Chelsea, N’Golo Kante could feature after a five-match absence with a hamstring injury. 

Chelsea v Wolves Head to Head

Wolves have only won one of their last seven games against Chelsea in both league and cup (D1, L5) and that was the 2-1 victory at home last season. Looking at the overall head to head record between the two teams, Wolves have won 39 games, Chelsea have won 42 and there have been 27 draws.

The reverse fixture earlier in the season saw Wolves suffer a 5-2 defeat in front of the Molineux faithful. It was a tough watch for the fans as Tammy Abraham, the ex-Villa loanee, bagged himself a hat-trick and an own goal. Chelsea were brilliant on the day and Wolves defensive mistakes cost them with Patrick Cutrone’s second-half goal nothing but a consolation in the end. 

Chelsea v Wolves Prediction

Since promotion to the Premier League, Nuno Espirito Santo’s side has remained unbeaten in London (W5, D5). They are also known to perform well against the bigger teams. With this in mind and the fact that Chelsea are known to leak goals and suffer from defensive lapses, I think Wolves have a good chance of taking all three points.

It won’t be easy by any means as Chelsea have a lot of quality players in their side but it’s worth keeping in mind that they have conceded 16 goals since the restart in comparison to Wolves’ four. If Wolves push up and pressure Chelsea’s defence, rather than sitting back and allowing them to play, they may be able to exploit their defensive weakness and force them into making mistakes. 

Speaking ahead of the game, as reported by Wolves, Nuno said:

“It’s a big game and a big challenge for us, against a very good team. It’s another chance to play well and to give a good football game to those spectators back home.

“Chelsea is a fantastic team and Frank [Lampard] is doing a fantastic job. The talent and the quality they have is very good. We have to be focused on the game and look at Chelsea as a big opponent, but at the same time let’s play. Let’s compete.

“Hopefully, it’s going to be a good game for everybody, especially for the players. The players are highly motivated to play the last game of the Premier League.”

It’s tough to say how this will turn out but I believe that Wolves will give it everything they’ve got and whatever happens it should be an entertaining end to the season.

Sylvie Devaney is part of the Talking Wolves editorial team – you can follow her on Twitter here.