Monday, July 22, 2019

Prediction: Chelsea vs Wolves

Prediction: Chelsea win

Best odds: 11/20

Bookmaker: Bet365

Chelsea welcome Wolverhamton Wanderers to Stamford Bridge in the 30th round of the 2018/19 Premier League season.

Chelsea

The London Blues’ currently find themselves in a difficult situation. A the teams around them in the table, they have certainly recognized the importance of finishing the season in the top four and qualifying for the Champions League, both in terms of financial benefits and the ability of luring top players in the transfer market.

However, due to recently exposed irregularities concerning signing young players, Chelsea have been handed a two-window transfer ban and are therefore unable to sign anyone this summer; as well as the following winter. Their appeal to have the ban delayed has been denied. But the financial aspect remains, as well as the club’s reputation which is at stake.

Scandals seem to have been following them even onto the pitch recently. Having suffered a horrific 6-0 thrashing at the hands of the reigning champions Manchester City, they lost the League Cup final on penalties to the same opponents. Tension between manager Maurizio Sarri and Kepa Arrizabalaga broke out as the goalkeeper refused to be substituted ahead of the penalty showdown in that game, and the future of Sarri has been a subject of media guessing for a while now.

They sit in sixth place, a point behind Arsenal and two behind Manchester United, but they have a game in hand on both of them. Not a bad position in itself, but they need to find some consistency in their game as soon as possible.

Team news

Sarri rested several players on Thursday when his team saw off Dynamo Kiev with a 3-0 win in the first leg of their Europa League round of 16 clash, including Eden Hazard, Antonio Rudiger, N’Golo Kante and Cezar Azpilicueta. They are all expected to return for this fixture, though others may be given the time off to be fresh for the trip to Ukraine next week.

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Wolves have arguably been the surprise of the season in the Premier League. As a newly promoted team, they sit directly below Chelsea in the table, though with a 13-point gap ahead and Watford behind on goal-difference. Manager Nuno Espirito Santo has put together a truly competitive team, one that has already proven they can hurt anybody. In fact, they were the first to knock off points from title holders Manchester City this term back in the third round.

They boast some high-quality players, with 21-year-old midfielder Ruben Neves arguably leading the way.

Team news

The only absentee for the visitors in this clash will be defender Ryan Bennett, who will begin serving a two-game ban. John Ruddy was given the nod in goal ahead of the usual No.1 Rui Patricio due to his likely start in the FA Cup quarterfinal soon, but the Portuguese is likely to return between the posts this time around.

Conclusion

Despite the indisputable quality and the successes of Wolves this season, this game will likely depend on Chelsea, and Chelsea alone. It will come down to whether we see the Chelsea side which beat Manchester City 2-0 at Stamford Bridge, or the side that conceded six against same opposition in the return fixture. If they show any weakness, any sign of indecisiveness at all, the Wolves will pounce and take advantage. But if they play to the best of their abilities, the visitors won’t be able to stop them.

Prediction: Chelsea win

Best odds: 11/20

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on four different football blogs.

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