Wolves against Chelsea at the Molineux will be one of the matches to watch this weekend. After two weeks break in club football both of these teams will be raring to go. Both Wolves and Chelsea had a much poorer start of the season than they expected and now both of them will try to start a winning run.
Wolves currently sit 17th in the table. This is definitely not where they expected to see themselves after four rounds, but their European commitments definitely took their toll. This is because Nuno Espirito Santo’s team had to play a match every three days for much of August.
Wolves’ European exertions luckily bore fruit and now Nuno’s side will play in the group stages of the Europa League. That is a huge acknowledgement to Wolves’ efforts to improve themselves, efforts which started a little over two years ago while they were still in the Championship.
Unfortunately for their EPL hopes though, these European commitments came at a cost in the domestic championship. The main reason for this was the fact that Wolves have a relatively small squad at their disposal and their rotation involves no more than 15 players at any time. This took its toll in the EPL as they lost to Everton and drew with the likes of Burnley, Manchester United, and Leicester.
What is evident from these results is that they are not so bad when you look at them from a different perspective. A draw against Manchester United will always be considered as a huge accomplishment for most sides. Similarly, not losing against strong and compact units such as Burnley and especially Leicester is not such a big deal too. The only result which can be considered as a disappointment is the loss against Everton. However, even in that match Nuno’s side came close to sharing the spoils on two occasions only to be defeated by an 80th minute Richarlison goal.
This notion that Wolves should have done better in their first four matches is a testament to how much Nuno Espirito Santo’s side has improved in the last couple of years and as a result how much they have increased the levels of expectation placed on their shoulders.
Wolves were only promoted last season and they went on to finish in 7th place, a result which was only bettered by England’s so called Big 6. Wolves were very clear that their next logical step will be to get into the Top 6 before the season started. However, in order to do that, they have to start playing better.
Create More Chances
The first thing that they should improve is quite crucial actually as it is directly tied to scoring goals and picking points. Wolves have been one of the teams which create the least chances in the EPL. In their first four matches they only managed to shoot on target 11 times. What’s more, in their first three matches they only had two shots on target in each match.
Their match against Everton was an improvement in that respect as Wolves hit the target on five occasions, but that still isn’t enough for a side aspiring to be one of the best in English football.
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Chelsea’s Leaky Defence
Fortunately for Wolves, their next opponent, Chelsea, has one of the worst defences in the EPL this season. Frank Lampard has managed to bring the squad together and create a sense of camaraderie among them, but he hasn’t managed to organize them defensively as much as he would have liked to.
In their first four matches of the season, the Blues have conceded no less than nine goals. What’s more, those nine goals could have easily been many more if Chelsea’s opponents were more clinical when in front of Kepa.
This means that this match might come at just the right time for Wolves. They had two weeks to clear their minds and get their thoughts straight. Furthermore, their next opponent is terrible defensively right now and only Norwich has conceded more goals than them since the start of the season.
Great against the Top 6
Another thing which goes in favour of the hosts in this match is their impressive record against Top 6 sides. Much has been said about Wolves’ form against the best six teams in England and for good reason.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side lost only three matches across all competitions against the Big 6 last season while winning six and drawing four matches. They defeated United twice, easily dispatched Arsenal and Tottenham by putting three goals past them and also managed to beat Chelsea and Liverpool.
Considering that they already managed to avoid defeat against United this season, it is not unreasonable to think that the Wolves can continue being a nightmare for all the big teams in England this season too.
What’s more, if Wolves really want to be in the Top 6, then by all early season signs, Chelsea will be the team to make way for them so this match is actually much more important for both teams than it seems on the surface.
Lampard Trying to Turn Things Round
As we already mentioned Lampard has managed to bring a real sense of togetherness at Cobham. The former Chelsea legend has blue blood running through his veins and if there is a manager who can be a real role model for his players then Chelsea’s record goal scorer is that person.
However, football managers are judged by one thing only and that is results. It is in this aspect of the game that Lampard’s Chelsea is lacking. The Blues have only collected five points so far and managed to win only one match against Norwich. In that match, which was a match-up between arguably the two worst defences in the league, Chelsea managed to score more goals than they conceded and that’s how they won. They needed to score three goals to collect their first three points of the season.
In addition to this, they needed to score three more goals to get their two other points and this all points to a fact that for Chelsea to collect points they have to be in top goal scoring form as their defence is miserable.
No Problems Up Front
Fortunately though, one thing that Chelsea don’t have to worry about is scoring goals. They have Tammy Abraham leading their line and the young English forward already looks like the person to lead Chelsea’s line for years to come. He scored four of Chelsea’s five goals in their last two matches and he plays like he has been Chelsea’s number 9 for many years.
In addition to Abraham, Chelsea also have the ever improving and very impressive Mason Mount, the dynamic Christian Pulisic, the rejuvenated Pedro, and the always competitive Giroud up front. When you add the returning Willian to the mix, you see just why Chelsea score so many goals.
Game Full of Goals
All in all, fans should expect an end-to-end high tempo game at the Molineux on Saturday which should have a lot of goals. Chelsea’s defence is a particularly leaky one and there are no signs that this trend will change anytime soon.
Wolves, for their part, must improve their attacking game, but one has the feeling that they will do just that against Chelsea. They love playing against big clubs and they don’t come much bigger than Chelsea.
There are also other things which go in favour of the fact that this game will probably be full of goals. One of them is that Wolves will be without Willy Boly, who is out due to suspension, and he will have to be replaced by new arrival Jesus Vallejo. Boly has be an ever present player in Wolves defence and it is unclear whether Vallejo will be able to slot in without any problems.
Chelsea’s defence is also not without problems as first choice left back Emerson limped off the pitch while playing for Italy. His appearance is under a big question mark for Saturday and if he is not fit Marcos Alonso will have to step in. In addition, Chelsea’s best central defender, Antonio Rudiger, is still short of match fitness, so he as well will probably not start in this match.