And so, it’s come down to this, the final day.
The fate of the season, the top four, next year’s Champions League, and, in some sense, the final accounting of Frank Lampard’s (first) season in charge rests on these 90 minutes. And maybe the 90 minutes played at the King Power in Leicester.
Win, and we’re in.
Draw, and we’re in.
Lose ... and, well, things could get interesting.
If, at the same time, Manchester United beat Leicester City — all matches happen concurrently on this final matchday as is tradition — we’re good regardless. Otherwise, we drop to fifth, and suddenly the whole season doesn’t look so great.
That may be unfair, but that’s the nature of the beast.
All the permutations for the final day in Champions League race. Basically, a draw or a Leicester defeat guarantees top four.— Grant James (@grantdesmidt) July 23, 2020
Chelsea losing to Wolves (were 1-0 down at home last year until 93rd minute Hazard goal) and a draw in the other game is the worry. pic.twitter.com/UioMDneOLi
Date / Time: Sunday, July 26, 2020, 16.00 BST; 11am EDT; 8:30pm IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Stuart Attwell (on pitch); Simon Hooper (VAR)
Forecast: Nice and sunny, with a bit of a breeze — or whatever the climate inside your home may be
On TV: Sky Sports Football (UK); USA Network, Telemundo (USA); Star Sports Select HD1 (India); none (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: Sky Go (UK); NBCSports.com, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA); Hotstar (India); DStv Now (NGA)
Chelsea team news: N’Golo Kanté has returned to training this week following a hamstring strain, and is in contention to feature for the first time in six games. It’s been a stop-start 12-15 months for N’Golo, but when he’s on, he’s still a game-changer in the heart of midfield.
Speaking of game-changers, Christian Pulisic should be fit to start. He apparently has been carrying a small niggle, though that wasn’t exactly in evidence as he knifed through Liverpool’s defense on Wednesday at will in the final 30 minutes. If Pulisic can reproduce that sort of form on Sunday, we just might make short work of the resilient visitors, who have one of the best defensive records in the division.
And we certainly will need the attack firing on all cylinders given the team’s defensive woes, not to mention Lampard’s staunch refusal to play a spoiling game. To Europe!
Wolves team news: Unfortunately, Wolves aren’t mired in anonymous mid-table. They are currently sixth but with Spurs breathing down their necks, need a result, probably, to stay there and qualify for the Europa League next season. They will surely be confident of taking some points at the Bridge, not just because of Chelsea’s frequent frailties, but they’re own solid record against the big six. Wolves beat Spurs and Manchester City, drew with Arsenal and Manchester United, and lost by the narrowest of margins against Liverpool on their travels in the Premier League.
Wolves, like Chelsea, have a clean bill of health. They are unbeaten in three (two wins) and have the same goal differential for the season as Chelsea but conceding (and scoring) 16 fewer.
Previously: One of the more amazing results in a season full of amazing results was the 5-2 at Molineux, which featured a hat-trick from Tammy Abraham.