Monday, April 24, 2017

Prediction: Wolves vs Chelsea

Verdict: Both teams to score – No

Best Odds: 19/20

Bookmaker: Bet365

The Blues are taking a break from the Premier League title race to take part in the FA Cup fifth round clash against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux Stadium on Saturday.

Wolves

Sitting in 18th place in the EFL Championship, Wolves are preparing to host the Premier League leaders who will be a huge motivation for Paul Lambert’s men. Wolves will have to dig deep in order to keep their Cup ambitions alive as they look to add some value to their attractive brand of football. Paul Lambert has had his team play attractive but without desired results and the forthcoming match will be a rare opportunity to test the strength against the Premier League title chasers in the first sell-out since 2014. Aware of the tough challenge that lies ahead against the team which is unbeaten in all competitions since October 2016, Wolves are prepared to give their best nevertheless to grab their first FA Cup quarter-finals since 2003. Four defeats in last five Championship matched give little credit to high expectations however, but Lambert is prepared to put the league problems aside as he rallies his team to rise above the challenge and put in a good show against the team ‘with no weaknesses’ as Lambert described the Blues.

Team News

Wolves are likely to be without striker Nouha Dicko, who missed the Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat to Wigan Athletic due to a hamstring injury.

Midfielder Jack Price is likely to be available after suffering concussion, while the Chelsea game is coming too soon for Joe Mason.

Chelsea

Congested schedule is likely to force Antonio Conte to make significant changes to his line-up in the fifth round of the FA Cup as Blues look to keep the momentum ahead of the new Premier League challenges. Unbeaten in last seven matches in all competitions and with only two defeats in their last 22 matches, Chelsea will be looking to steady the ship following two draws in the last three Premier league matches. Conte’s men are coming off from an unexpected and somewhat surprising 1-1 stalemate at Burnley and a win at Molineux Stadium would be a great morale boost for the club. Antonio Conte is more than happy to win ugly when situation dictates it like the current one, as the Blues are not willing to lose on their travels to inferior opposition. The FA Cup is a tough competition however where lower-league teams often raise their expectations and abilities to take rare scalps in one-off affairs. But Conte is too experienced to let it happen at a delicate moment like this.

Team News

Asmir Begovic is in line for a rare start in goal ahead of Thibaut Kourtois, whereas Kurt Zouma is also expected to be named in the starting line-up as Conte shuffles his deck.

Cesk Fabregas and Michy Batshuayi could also be given a run from the off as Conte has only John Terry’s ankle problem to worry about.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Wolves are coming off from a three-match losing streak
  • Lambert’s men won only 2 of their last 10 home matches
  • Chelsea lost only 1 of their last 22 games in all competitions
  • Blues conceded only one goal in their last 5 meetings with the Wolves
  • Wolves failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last 6 matches

Conclusion

Wolves will be particularly motivated against the big-name rivals in the fifth round of the FA Cup this weekend, whereas Chelsea are likely to field a second-string team as Conte looks to keep his first-team choices healthy and rested for new Premier League challenges. It does not mean Blues should be taken for granted as we are sure the reserve players will fo their best to make a point to manager Antonio Conte.

Verdict: Both teams to score – No

Best Odds: 19/20

Bookmaker: Bet365

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