Champions League hopefuls Chelsea need only a win, and they have indeed won in each of their last five Premier League (PL) home games, averaging 2.40 goals per match. Naturally, Chelsea will be aiming to start quickly, and notably, three (60%) of those five victories saw Chelsea open the scoring inside the first 30 minutes.
Each victory in the above run also saw them win the first half ‘to-nil’ (by an average margin of 1.40 goals). However, a superstitious facet of H2H history implies that Chelsea will be lucky to do this, with none of the last four PL H2Hs seeing the home side on the day score before HT.
Ongoing UEFA Europa League campaign aside, only a win can fully guarantee European qualification for Wolves. They travel to Stamford Bridge having lost just twice in PL action since the start of February (W7, D4, L2), with two of the three goalless draws therein coming against current top-five opposition.
Though outsiders, Wolves have a strong PL away record against last season’s top six finishers so far this term (W2, D2, L1). Both victories in that group saw Wolves win the second half 2-0, though they were level or worse at half-time in each game (HT: D2, L3).
Players to watch: Olivier Giroud has opened the scoring for Chelsea inside the first half in each of their last four competitive wins.
Wolves’ primary poacher Raúl Jiménez scored the opener in last season’s corresponding fixture (D 1-1). Four of his last five goals have proven decisive in victory.
Stat attack: None of Wolves’ four post-restart PL away games (W2, D1, L1 – GF 4, GA 2) has seen any match goals scored/conceded before the hour mark.
Chelsea has recorded an average winning margin of exactly 2.00 goals across their last five PL home wins. Wolves have avoided defeat in 64.29% of their PL games entered as betting outsiders this term.
Chelsea Expected Lineup
If Lampard moves back to a 4-3-3, then Mason Mount will drop into the midfield and Willian will be on the other flank of Olivier Giroud.
At the back, if it is four in defence then Reece James could start on the right, with Marcos Alonso dropped and Cesar Azpilicueta moved to left-back.
The other huge decision will be if Kepa Arrizabalaga stays in goal, or will Willy Caballero come into the team?
Lampard will likely stick with the Spaniard, but he certainly has a lot to prove.
Predicted Chelsea team: Kepa; James, Zouma, Rudiger, Azpilicueta; Kovacic, Kante, Mount; Willian, Giroud, Pulisic.