‘Full of daft errors’ – The expert Chelsea view on Wolves showdown
Wolverhampton Wanderers are unbeaten at home since January 2 – a record Chelsea are out to end this weekend.
Frank Lampard’s Blues, who have started the Premier League season marginally better than Wolves, visit Molineux looking to end Nuno Espirito Santo’s proud record.
Wolves haven’t lost on home turf in 15 matches with Crystal Palace the last team to achieve victory in WV1. Burnley almost managed it in Wolves’ last league fixture at home but the ever-reliable Raul Jimenez won and scored a penalty in stoppage time to snatch a point.
Chelsea, boasting internationals such as Cesar Azpiliqueta and N’Golo Kante, are a different beast to Burnley – but one Wolves tamed twice last season.
Keen to get the lowdown on this weekend’s opponents BirminghamLive caught up with Football.London’s Alan Smith.
Here’s a selection of articles from our Wolves writer Alex Dicken:
TV deal breakdown – READ
The stunning ‘value’ of Wolves squad – READ
Predicting the next four – READ
A first glimpse of £52m strikeforce – READ
What would Chelsea fans class as success this season?
“As a result of the transfer ban, and therefore an emphasis on bringing young players through, expectations have shifted somewhat. Only the deluded would have predicted a title challenge before the season started and the early games have shown that they are quite some off the level of Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham.
“Success under Frank Lampard this season would be a top-four finish along with some of the young players – primarily Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Reece James – proving that they can cut it for one of the big six sides.”
After Sarri-ball last season, what style of football are Chelsea playing under Lampard?
“Formation wise Lampard had actually favoured the same 4-3-3 beloved by Sarri, though that may change when N’Golo Kante comes back into the team following injury. The style of play is markedly different, though, with a lot more pressing higher up the pitch and far less ponderous build-up play, one of the chief issues of Sarri-ball.”
Which Chelsea player do Wolves need to be wary of?
“Mason Mount has lived up to expectations so far but if Emerson Palmieri, the Italy left-back, can shake off a hamstring injury picked up on international duty then his driving runs forward can cause problems. He has been the only bright spot for a struggling rearguard.”
Tammy Abraham almost joined Wolves earlier this year, how has he started the season?
“He rebounded impressively following the penalty shootout miss against Liverpool in the Super Cup and scored twice against Norwich City and Sheffield United. He would have been disappointed not to be part of the England team but it has meant extra time to rest and train. He will prove a handful.”
If Chelsea fans could sign one Wolves player, who would it be?
“Ruben Neves would be an obvious choice but he plays in a position where Chelsea are well-stocked. It’s not the most glamorous choice but Willy Boly would improve a defence that has been too full of daft errors.”
Prediction for Saturday?
“A 1-1 draw. Chelsea have been quite good going forward but far too sloppy at the back, unable to keep concentration for entire games. The likely returns of Antonio Rudiger and Kante should bring some solidity but I suspect Chelsea will score without being able to keep a clean sheet.”