Chelsea begin the second half of the Premier League season with a new head coach, but still the same old and far from ideal situation as far as the standings are concerned.
In fact, since our last league match eight days ago, we’ve dropped even further in the table, down to 10th, as even Arsenal are ahead of us now, albeit with one extra match played. And that makes tonight’s contest against Wolverhampton Wanderers even more important.
It’s not often that a new manager starts with a must-win match, though most managers prefer not to take over teams in midseason, often precisely for that reason.
Part of Tuchel’s remit is to achieve a top-four finish, and that rescue project begins now, after just one day in charge. Good luck to us.
Date / Time: Wednesday, January 27, 2021, 18.00 GMT; 1pm EST; 11:30pm IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Andy Madley (on pitch); Lee Mason (VAR)
Forecast: Cool, chance of rain
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Chelsea team news: New head coach aside, we do have some reports of Christian Pulisic carrying a(nother) knock, though the young winger was spotted in training yesterday, so it might not be too bad. Unfortunately, N’Golo Kanté’s hamstring continues to be bad, and the midfielder’s set to miss another match.
It’s anyone’s guess what Tuchel might or might not do after just 24 hours on the job. That’s certainly not enough time for any sweeping changes, but at the same time, Lampard’s ideas had run stale and the team were in need of a spark of some sort. Hopefully the new head coach can provide that.
This game was supposed to be game number two of Lampard’s three-game recovery plan. The name on the gaffer’s door might have changed, but the needs remain the same — if not even needier.
Wolverhampton Wanderers team news: Wolves have continued to underperform, especially compared to last season, and currently sit just 14th. As bad as Chelsea’s winter has been, Wolves have been even worse with just two wins and six losses in the ten league games since the start of December. Of course, one of those two wins was against Chelsea, thanks to a late Pedro Neto winner completing the second-half comeback from 1-0 down.
Wolves remain without Raúl Jimenez, who is making impressive progress in his recovery from a fractured skull, but still won’t be ready to play until March at the earliest. Wolves will also be without Dani Podence, who tore Chelsea to shreds in the previous meeting. Fernando Marcal and Jonny Otto are also out, while new signing Willian José hasn’t yet received his work permit, so he’s ineligible.
Like Chelsea, Wolves have managed to progress in the FA Cup despite their struggles in the league. Their win in the fourth round featured a return to the classic three-man defense for manager Nuno Espirito Santo as well.
Previously: Wolves have not won at Stamford Bridge since 1979, and we’ve won six of the seven such meetings since then, including last season as Mason Mount and Olivier Giroud scored in the 2-0 win back in July, which secured our top-four finish.