Thomas Tuchel’s first match in charge of Chelsea was a home game against Wolves, in what seems like a very long time ago, but was actually just a little over 15 months ago. At the time, we were simply hoping to recover from tenth (10th!) in the table and finish in the top four. Obviously, expectations have changed a fair bit since then.
Despite dropping five points last week, and collecting just four points from our last four games, we remain firmly in control of third place. It’s no longer comfortable, but perhaps that will help focus the team for these final four games — and keep us sharp for the FA Cup final against a Liverpool team who seem entirely unstoppable in their quest for a quadruple.
But that’s neither here nor there at the moment. That’s the sort of wondering mind that we must cut out from our game.
Date / Time: Saturday, May 7, 2022, 15.00 BST; 10am EDT; 7:30pm IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Peter Bankes (on pitch); Jared Gillett (VAR)
Forecast: Overcast, mild
On TV: none (UK); USA Network, Universo (USA); Star Sports Select HD2 (India); SuperSport Premier League, Canal+ Sport 3 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: none (UK); NBC Sports Live, Universo Now (USA); Hotstar (India); DStv Now (NGA)
Chelsea team news: Thomas Tuchel called it a “bad mixture” of results for us as of late, with our good performances not being rewarded with points, and our “okay” performances getting punished even more.
The lack of clean sheets has been especially glaring, especially as being “hard to beat” has been the primary aim since day one. Too many individual errors have meant that we’ve kept just 1 in our last 4, and 3 in our last 9 in all competitions, failing to win all but one of the games in which we’ve conceded a goal or four.
That of course also speaks to our (more familiar) failings in front of goal, with just two goals scored in our last three games and the in-form trio of Werner-Havertz-Mount seemingly running out of steam. To that effect, Tuchel has hinted at giving Romelu Lukaku a start, with perhaps Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech getting another shot at greater involvement as well. Wolves will certainly be expected to sit deep and defend en masse, with space at a premium — you’re a “complete striker”, right, Romelu?
Chelsea will be without two of our regulars in midfield, N’Golo Kante and Jorginho, but thankfully Mateo Kovacic appears to be back to full fitness. Andreas Christensen and Ross Barkley should also be available for selection following illness, but Callum Hudson-Odoi remains out with an unexplained (Achilles?) problem going on for three months now.
Wolverhampton Wanderers team news: Wolves will come to the Bridge without head coach Bruno Lage, who’s tested positive for COVID-19 and is therefore isolating. Nelson Semedo and Max Kilman are also out, while Daniel Podence faces a late fitness test. He seems to always have a great game against us.
Since we last saw them, Wolves have sent Adama Traore on loan to Barcelona, with the expectation that he would join them permanently in the summer — though apparently that may not be happening now. Oopsies.
Wolves have been coasting to the finish line for a couple months now, with just 3 wins from the last 10 league games. They still have a chance at finishing seventh (the last Europa Conference spot), ahead of West Ham, though three of their last four games are against the current top three, and they’ve lost three in a row, without scoring a single goal — including a 3-0 reverse at home against Brighton last weekend.
On the other hand, I’m sure they’re ecstatic to be playing Charity FC next.
Previously: Both of Tuchel’s games against Wolves have finished in a scoreless draw. That sounds terribly not fun, so here’s some fun from the training ground, courtesy of Smiley McSmiler-Ma-son Mount.