Chelsea vs Wolves – Nuno’s Pack Primed to Deliver More Blues?

At around 5pm UK time yesterday, The Chelsea social media team posted a video of a man full of smiles already in his trainers lacing his boots up ready to take charge of training on a cold chilly evening at Cobham. Drills were done and the picture of him signing the contract in the presence of club director Marina Granovskaia was posted next signifying the start of 18 months under Chelsea’s first ever German manager, Thomas Tuchel. He takes over mid-season from former manager Frank Lampard as Chelsea’s new manager with a busy and daunting schedule ahead of him. His first game as manager is at Stamford Bridge against a Wolves team who are struggling for form this season. Will Thomas Tuchel be able to kick start a Chelsea revival in the Premier league with less than 24 hours of time spent with his new squad? Only time will tell. The Blues are back and it’s Chelsea vs Wolves.

Chelsea – A New Dawn and Tuchdown for Thomas

The talk around the Blues going into this game will surround the departure of Frank Lampard and the swift appointment of Thomas Tuchel. The German was drafted in within 24 hours of the Chelsea great’s departure and faces a daunting task to prepare a team for a crucial Premier League game against a team that beat the Blues 2-1 a little over a month ago.

Presumably drafted in with a remit to restore Chelsea to the top four, elevating them from their current mid-table mire, Tuchel will not have the luxury of getting to know his players. It’s all about results between now and the end of May for a man who reached the Champions League final with Paris Saint Germain last season.

Thomas Tuchel has had a whirlwind few days but will look to hit the ground running with Chelsea.
Tuchel takes his first Chelsea training session just hours after signing his contract. Image Credit: Sky Sports

While many Chelsea fans may not know much about Tuchel, they will get an immediate chance to see him at work. Expect a clear style, desired formation and a favoured starting XI to take time to develop, but the seasoned tactician has a big, talented squad to choose from in his pursuit of meeting the Chelsea hierarchy’s clear ambition: UEFA Champions League football.

Wolves – Is the Pack Strong?

Espirito Santo's team will be primed and ready to face a wounded Chelsea side.
Packing a Punch: this Wolves outfit are primed to take advantage of any vulnerabilities. Image Credit: Wolverhampton Wanderers

Nuno Espírito Santo’s side was a strong defensive unit last season. 13 Clean sheets and 40 goals conceded in 38 games saw them become as the 5th best defensive team in the league last season behind Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Sheffield United. However, in the current season, they have conceded 29 goals already with half the season left, recording only five clean sheets in 19 games. The struggles of two of the five top defensive teams in the league last season is evident with Sheffield, who were the 4th best defensive team in the league, find themselves in the bottom half of the table on defensive efficiency. His job this year has not looked a lot secure owing to results in the league.

Injury to key striker Raul Jimenez meant that Nuno had to put faith on young striker Fabio Silva who looks like he needs another season to match up to the intensity of the Premier League. The Wolves have not looked exemplary in attack with just 21 goals scored in 19 games this season in the Premier league. The fixture vs Chelsea comes at a difficult time for the team who are yet to win a Premier league game in the last 5 with their last victory coming vs Chelsea which saw Pedro Neto score the winner at the Molineux Stadium at the 94th minute. This Wolves team is currently struggling for consistency in the league but they do come into Stamford Bridge on the back of a 1-0 win vs National league team Chorley FC.

Nuno and his men will not have forgotten about Mason Mount’s wonder freekick which helped Chelsea secure 4th place in the league last season ending their hopes of a direct qualification into this years Europa League Competition. It will be a test for Nuno and his men to get a win vs Chelsea with new Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel overseeing proceedings.

Chelsea vs Wolves: Head-to-Head

The West London outfit have faced Wolves 13 times in the Premier league era with the home team going in with a head to head advantage with 9 wins, 5 of which have come at Stamford bridge. The Blues have won 6 of their last 7 home games against Wolves in all competitions. The visitors walk into this fixture with a victory in the away fixture this season. Both sides are going through similar runs of form in the league, desperate for a win.

Chelsea’s recent form (Premier League): L-W-L-D-L
Wolves’ recent form (Premier League): L-L-D-L-D

Team News and Predicted Starting XIs

Chelsea

Thomas Tuchel has not spoken to the media since his arrival at Chelsea so not much is known regarding his team. N’Golo Kante will not be present for the fixture as he is recovering from a hamstring strain and there are no known injuries to the side right now.

The Chelsea Predicted XI to face Wolves.

Predicted Starting XI (4-2-3-1) – Mendy; James, Zouma, Silva, Chilwell; Jorginho, Mount; Havertz, Pulisic, Ziyech; Werner.

Wolves

Striker Raul Jimenez is still recovering from his horrific injury and there is no date set for his return to first team football. Wingbacks Jonny and Marcal will not be available for selection along with Daniel Podence who has recently started training with the team after a Shin injury. New signing Willian Jose will not be available for the fixture as well.

The Wolves Predicted XI to face Chelsea.

Predicted Starting XI (3-5-2) – Patricio; Semedo, Coady, Boly, Saiss, Aït-Nouri; Neves, Moutinho, Dendoncker; Traore, Neto

Chelsea vs Wolves: Final Thoughts and Predictions

The stage is set for Thomas Tuchel’s debut. He will take on a Wolves side who I presume will look to hit Chelsea back on the counterattack in their 3-5-2 formation, which saw them become one of the most reliable defensive units in the team. Chelsea’s key to success will be to exploit both wing backs who have not been consistent for Wolves this season. Pedro Neto and Adama Traore will offer a lot of pace on the counterattack, looking to make good use of any opportunities presented to them.

On the other hand, the Blues will look to establish themselves under a new manager with many fighting for spots. I believe Chelsea will win this tie 2-1 with many players looking to impress the new coach and secure their spots for the upcoming matches. I expect the entire team to come together as a cohesive unit for today’s victory regardless of who is selected for the game today.

On behalf of the team at The Chelsea Social, I would like to wish Thomas Tuchel the best of luck for his first game and the start of his managerial reign at Chelsea.

Chelsea vs Wolves – Match Details

When – January 27, 2021
Where – Stamford Bridge, London
Time – 18:00 GMT
Match OfficialsReferee: Andy Madley VAR: Lee Mason
Where to Watch – BT Sport1 (UK) NBC Sports (USA) Star Sports Select (India)
Streams – BT Sport App (UK) NBC Peacock Ultimate (USA) Hotstar Premium (India)

Written by Vivek (@CFC_Vivek)

Edited by Dan Hill


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