So, the 17-match unbeaten run is over. Chelsea’s first non-penalty shootout defeat in nearly three months is in the books, and we’re back out of the top four, for now.
We called the trip to Goodison Park a litmus test of sorts. We did not pass.
We also didn’t score. And we made a boneheaded play at the back to gift Everton a goal. How nostalgic!
As ever, the biggest question after a defeat that doesn’t eliminate us from anything or cause us to lose a final is, how do we respond? Even in Lampard’s first season, our follow-up to disappointment was usually renewed determination and often excellence — one of the few times we didn’t was after defeat at Everton in December.
Expecting a strong bounce back this evening nonetheless.
Date / Time: Tuesday, December 15, 2020, 18.00 GMT; 1pm EST; 11:30pm IST
Venue: Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, England
Referee: Stuart Attwell (on pitch); Michael Oliver (VAR)
Forecast: Appropriately cold, but not extreme
On TV: none (UK); NBCSN (USA); Star Sports HD1 (India); SuperSport Premier League, Canal+ Sport 3 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: Amazon Prime (UK); NBC Sports Live (USA); Hotstar (India); DStv Now (NGA)
Wolves team news: It’s been a relatively and surprisingly poor start for Wolves this season, winning five and losing five of their first dozen games, and they come in on the back of back-to-back defeats without scoring a single goal, including the weekend’s 1-0 home loss to Aston Villa. Nuno’s men had become known in recent seasons for giving fits to “big” teams, but they didn’t come close to either Liverpool or Manchester City, losing by a combined 1-7 scoreline, and beating Arsenal isn’t exactly an accomplishment these days.
Losing Diogo Jota to Liverpool in the offseason hasn’t helped, and neither has losing striker Raúl Jimenez to a concussion and fractured skull (in a clash of heads with David Luiz): 18-year-old Fábio Silva started up top against Villa over the weekend in his stead. Wolves will also be without João Moutinho, who was sent off late on in the same game, and Jonny Otto, who had ACL surgery in August.
Chelsea team news: Chelsea’s attack has also been hit by injuries, but we should be getting Christian Pulisic back for this one — hopefully in a starting capacity rather than just a bench appearance. Hakim Ziyech and Callum Hudson-Odoi remain out. We’ll be lucky if they come back before the turn of the year.
The Blues have a relatively long 5-day rest before we play again on Monday. But then we begin a truly grueling festive stretch, including two games in three days after Christmas, which will need all of our abilities, fitness, and attention to get through unscathed.
Previously: Chelsea did the double over Wolves last season, including a Tammy Abraham hattrick-inspired 5-2 (five!) at Molineux — a game quite indicative of Lampard’s open at both ends Chelsea of last season.