Wolves vs Chelsea – Analysis, Prediction, Team News
Saturday 8th April 2023
As part of our weekend Premier League predictions, we take a look at Chelsea’s visit to Wolves. Neither side has won in their last 3 and both have 11 points from their last 10 matches. Stalemate? Read on with our Wolves vs Chelsea prediction.
Wolves vs Chelsea Match Preview
Wolves host Chelsea at Molineux after benefitting from a full week’s rest following a disappointing 1-1 away draw with Nottingham Forest. The primary issue with Wolves that afternoon was their inability to convert 72% possession into dangerous attacking situations. The home side were the more threatening team throughout much of the match and Wolves should arguably have been 2-0 down but for a poor piece of decision-making from Forest’s Dennis in the final third.
Eventually, Wolves were able to grab an opportunistic equaliser which saw them grab a vital away point to keep them just one point outside of the relegation zone in 14th place. The fact that, out of the bottom seven teams in the division, only Wolves and Everton managed to secure any points at all ensured that what could have been considered to be a bad day at the office turned out not to matter very much at all – Nottingham Forest went on to lose their midweek game 2-1 away to Leeds United.
Chelsea were much improved against fellow underachievers Liverpool at Stamford Bridge, but unfortunately for them they failed to convert a host of chances and on the two occasions they did manage to put the ball into the back of the net, both were disallowed following VAR reviews. Nevertheless, it was an encouraging performance against an inconsistent but still dangerous Liverpool side. Perhaps what was most impressive is that they were able to nullify Liverpool quite so effectively.
Caretaker boss Frank Lampard returns to the club following a spell at relegation candidates Everton. With managerial changes often comes a new tactical approach, and therefore it’s always difficult to use recent form as a guide in these situations. As it stands, Chelsea are still within an outside chance of securing European football next season but several of the teams ahead of them have games in hand and only nine games are remaining. Chelsea will probably need to take at least 20 points to have a realistic chance of European qualification.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play:
Will Not Play: Chiquinho, Jonny, Kalajdzic, Neves, Traore
Might Not Play:
Will Not Play: Azpilicueta, Broja, Mount, Thiago Silva
Wolves vs Chelsea Lineups (Predicted)
Wolves (4-2-3-1): Sa; Tito, Dawson, Kilman, Semedo; Joao Gomes, Lemina; Matheus Nunes, Cunha, Podence; Costa
Chelsea (4-3-3): Arrizabalaga; Cucurella, Badiashile, Koulibaly, James; Fernandez, Kovacic, Gallagher; Sterling, Havertz, Joao Felix
Wolves vs Chelsea Analysis
Wolves are Sacrificing Too Much at the Back
As we all know, there’s a lot of talk in football about the need for teams to be positive and to play proactive, expansive football with an emphasis on control. The issue here is that when you don’t possess talented attackers relative to the rest of the Premier League, then more and more risks will be taken in an effort to break down the opposition and this is where most of Wolves’ recent issues lie. They had more of the ball against Newcastle, Leeds and Nottingham Forest, and have precisely one point to show for it.
When attempting to impose themselves on the opposition and control the match, Wolves have been particularly vulnerable in the other direction. Newcastle doubled Wolves’ shots on target tally while having 42% of the ball in a 2-1 victory, Leeds scored all 4 of their attempts on goal and had 31% possession in a 4-2 away win at Wolves’ expense, and Nottingham Forest lodged 7 efforts on target and had just 28% possession. Wolves would perhaps be better off not condensing the play quite so much and allowing themselves more room to operate. Yes, it’s nice that they are proficient at keeping the ball, but they’re not generating much goal threat even against limited opposition.
We expect that the first thing that Lampard will change is Chelsea’s tactical shape. We don’t expect the Chelsea midfield legend to line up with three central defenders, and therefore either Chilwell or Cucarella will be making way. This will give them an additional midfielder in the lineup but will perhaps inhibit Enzo Fernandez a little as he will be tasked with a deeper role in the absence of Kante who is being rested for their Champions League quarter-final clash with Real Madrid.
While it’s a misconception that Lampard favours direct football – after all, Everton don’t have the greatest playing resources at their disposal – we believe this Chelsea will be somewhat more direct than they were under Potter. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see both Raheem Sterling and Conor Gallagher restored to the starting lineup to aid that particular approach. Chelsea will be aware that Wolves are a vulnerable team in transition and they will look to move the ball quickly (but not long ball) into the final third and look for overlaps from Cucarella/Chilwell and James who will be employed in more traditional flying full-back roles rather than the wing-backs/auxiliary midfielder roles they had under Potter.
It’s no secret that Chelsea have endured a miserable campaign by their own lofty standards, but this game does seem perfectly suited to them – particularly with the enforced absence of Wolves’ influential creative midfielder Ruben Neves. As long as Chelsea manage to keep things tight at the back and don’t play their way into trouble too often, it’s hard to see Wolves generating a consistent goal threat – they haven’t managed that lately.
Chelsea’s three can gain the upper hand in midfield without worrying too much about sacrificing a centre-back here. Wolves are one of the lowest-scoring teams in the league and often rely on opportunism and counters to generate a clear goal threat. This is at odds with Lopetegui’s efforts to introduce greater control and possession-based football, and it’s a conundrum that they have to solve but probably won’t today. Chelsea were unlucky in midweek – we’re backing them to be more fortunate this time.
Wolves 0-2 Chelsea
Wolves vs Chelsea Betting Tip – Chelsea Odds:
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