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

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Premier League clash between Chelsea and Wolves, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Chelsea start life without Frank Lampard in the dugout on Wednesday when they welcome Wolverhampton Wanderers to Stamford Bridge in the Premier League.

A 2-1 defeat to the West Midlands outfit back in December was the start of a downward spiral for Lampard, who was relieved of his duties on Monday morning.

Match preview

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard pictured on January 24, 2021© Reuters

The Stamford Bridge hotseat has claimed yet another victim of the ruthless Roman Abramovich era, and not even Lampard's legendary status at the club could prevent him from losing his job after a dismal spell of results.

Chelsea are never far away from the centre of controversy when their managers' generally short tenures come to an end, and despite suffering five defeats in his final eight Premier League matches with the Blues, a large portion of the Chelsea fanbase clearly feel that Lampard should have been given more time to work his philosophy at Stamford Bridge.

However, reports of some Chelsea players complaining about the Englishman's tactics would have done him no favours amid the Blues' underwhelming run, and Abramovich is supposedly set to welcome former Paris Saint-Germain boss Thomas Tuchel to the capital in the coming days.

Whether or not the German will be appointed in time to take charge against Wolves remains to be seen, but having lost his job at PSG while propelling the French champions back up the table, he will certainly be aware of the mammoth task facing him in this equally unforgiving role.

The Blues eased to a 3-1 victory over Luton Town in the FA Cup as Lampard bowed out with a win, but with five points separating ninth-placed Chelsea from the top four, they cannot afford to mourn the loss of Lampard whatsoever as Wolves look to turn their own fortunes around.

Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Nuno Espirito Santo pictured on January 16, 2021© Reuters

Nuno Espirito Santo's job in the Molineux dugout is not thought to be entirely safe either, with the visitors now without a win in the Premier League since that December victory over Chelsea.

Santo has since overseen four defeats and two draws from their six most recent Premier League matches, and having been expected to challenge for a European spot again this season, Wolves are now edging ever closer towards the danger zone.

Liverpool are the only other team in the top 15 without a win in their last five matches, with the absence of Raul Jimenez having an everlasting effect on Santo's side, although the loan acquisition of Real Sociedad striker Willian Jose should help them on the attacking front.

The visitors also advanced to the fifth round of the FA Cup on Friday, but they were far from convincing against non-league side Chorley, and it took a wonder strike from Vitinha to separate the two clubs.

As mentioned, Wolves came out on top in a dramatic 2-1 triumph earlier in the season thanks to Pedro Neto's last-gasp winner, but Chelsea won 2-0 at Stamford Bridge last term and the visitors are without a clean sheet in 12 top-flight matches.

Chelsea Premier League form: WLDLWL
Chelsea form (all competitions): DLWWLW

Wolverhampton Wanderers Premier League form: LDLDLL
Wolverhampton Wanderers form (all competitions): LDWLLW

Team News

Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante pictured on July 4, 2020© Reuters

Whoever takes charge of Chelsea on Wednesday will only have to deal with one injury concern in the form of N'Golo Kante, who is working his way back from a hamstring problem but will not be ready this week.

Should Tuchel indeed take the reins at Stamford Bridge, he will certainly be tasked with getting the best out of fellow Germans Timo Werner and Kai Havertz - both of whom are yet to justify their big-money moves to the club.

Tuchel toyed with a three-man defence during his final days at PSG but is also partial to a 4-3-3 - a familiar system for the Blues, who should welcome Edouard Mendy, Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell back to the first XI.

Meanwhile, Wolves new boy Willian Jose is not ready to take to the field yet as he waits to receive a work permit, so Fabio Silva should continue up top for now.

Santo continues to cope without Jonny Otto, Marcal and Daniel Podence, and no timeframe has been placed on Jimenez's return to action.

After handing opportunities to several fringe players in the cup, a more familiar Wolves XI is set to feature Rui Patricio, Nelson Semedo, Ruben Neves and Neto.

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Mendy; James, Zouma, Silva, Chilwell; Kovacic, Mount, Havertz; Ziyech, Abraham, Hudson-Odoi

Wolverhampton Wanderers possible starting lineup:
Patricio; Semedo, Coady, Boly, Saiss; Neves, Moutinho, Dendoncker; Traore, Silva, Neto

SM words green background

We say: Chelsea 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers

It remains to be seen whether the new manager bounce phenomenon will be in play this week, and with Chelsea's team selection and tactics shrouded in uncertainty, this is a difficult game to call. Wolves will be desperate to take advantage of the hosts' volatile situation as they look to pull themselves out of their own rut, and we can see Chelsea's first game of the post-Lampard era ending with the spoils shared.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data

Video prediction

Watch the Sports Mole Football Shorts prediction for this game below:


How you voted: Chelsea vs Wolves

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Chelsea manager Frank Lampard pictured on January 24, 2021
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