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Chelsea vs Wolves predictions: Blues to clinch win at Stamford Bridge
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Dan Sait
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Manager Graham Potter has yet to lose a match since taking charge of Chelsea
Manager Graham Potter has yet to lose a match since taking charge of Chelsea

Graham Potter rather got away with one in his first Premier League match as Chelsea manager, leading his side to victory against Crystal Palace thanks mainly to the baffling failure of referee Chris Kavanagh to send off Thiago Silva.

The Brazilian defender clearly and deliberately handled the ball to deny a goalscoring opportunity when Chelsea were already 1-0 down.

But instead of the Blues being a goal down and a man down within 33 minutes, Silva somehow escaped with a caution and then popped up just five minutes later to assist the equaliser.

The West Londoners would go on to rub salt into the Palace wound by grabbing a 90th-minute winner, but Potter will not care one bit — his Chelsea reign is up and running, and if the midweek mauling of AC Milan is any guide, his new team could take some stopping.

Next up, a home game against an out-of-form, managerless and threadbare Wolves side – Potter may just feel that the gods are smiling on him.

Team news

After a poor run of results, Bruno Lage lost his job at Wolves last Sunday
After a poor run of results, Bruno Lage lost his job at Wolves last Sunday

Potter has a largely fit and healthy squad to choose from, with midfielder N'Golo Kante a serious doubt and centre-back Wesley Fofana ruled out.

Kante has returned to training but is unlikely to be rushed back given his recent injury problems, and there are concerns for Fofana after he had to come off against Milan with a knee injury.

However, goalkeeper Edouard Mendy returned to the bench in midweek along with Marc Cucurella, Jorginho and Kai Havertz, who had all been slight doubts with minor issues.

Following last week's departure of Bruno Lage, Wolves look set to be led out by academy coach Steve Davis, whose highest level of managerial experience came during Crewe's four-year stay in League One from 2012 to 2016.

He and fellow coach James Collins are in temporary charge at Molineux, and the pair have an unenviable task ahead of them both in terms of this weekend's opponents and the number of Wolves absentees they must deal with.

Captain Ruben Neves and central defender Nathan Collins are both suspended, and Wolves are particularly stretched up front, with Raul Jimenez, Sasa Kalajdzic, Hee Chan Hwang, Chiquinho and Pedro Neto all out injured.

Kalajdzic, Chiquinho and Neto are all long-term absentees, while Jimenez and Hwang are expected to return later this month.

Due to the number of injuries in attacking positions, last weekend Lage was forced to press Adama Traore back into action far earlier than intended when he came on for the injured Neto.

However, whether Traore is fit enough to start against Chelsea is questionable, and the same goes for Diego Costa, who was clearly lacking match fitness when coming on against West Ham last Saturday.

The stats

Wolves have a solid record against Chelsea since returning to the top flight in 2018-19, winning two of their eight encounters, drawing four and losing only twice.

And they have been particularly impressive in recent meetings, going unbeaten in the last four home and away and losing on only one of their previous four trips to Stamford Bridge, drawing the other three.

However, this is comfortably Wolves' worst run of Premier League form since 2012, with the Midlands outfit winning only one of their last 15 league games and scoring just three goals in eight matches this term.

Chelsea will be licking their lips as they enjoyed a strong record against bottom-half teams last season, winning 16 of 20 such matches and losing only two.

And while they have suffered a few setbacks in 2022-23, all three of the Blues' defeats this season have come on the road.

At Stamford Bridge, they remain undefeated, beating Milan, Leicester and West Ham while drawing against Tottenham and FC Salzburg.

Prediction

The fact that both clubs sacked their managers within two months of the 2022-23 campaign shows that things have not been going to plan in either camp, but while Chelsea seem to be on the road to recovery under Potter, Wolves' problems will take longer to resolve.

Lage was perhaps unfortunate to pay the price for his side's lack of cutting edge given the injury problems he has had to deal with, but Wolves' toothlessness was becoming an issue even towards the end of last season.

Chelsea remain a work in progress under Potter, but they were clinical in dispatching Milan 3-0 in midweek, and this weekend's visitors look like the ideal opponents against whom to build confidence and cohesion.

Wolves arrive without a manager and without their captain Neves and this summer's big defensive signing Collins, who are both suspended.

Confidence must be close to rock bottom, and Wolves' frontline is patched up at best, threadbare at worst, with the only available forwards all short of full fitness.

The visitors will surely arrive in West London with their ambition being to keep things tight and limit their opponents' chances.

With so many games to come, Potter may also see sense in shutting up shop once the match is won. 

The Chelsea manager would be more than happy with a 1-0 or 2-0 win rather than push for a statement victory, and at 9/2 or 5/1, respectively via LiveScore Bet, those scorelines look the best bets.

Tags

Premier LeagueChelseaWolverhampton Wanderers
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