Chelsea v Wolves: Old Gold to avoid Bridge battering

Nuno Esprito Santo - Wolves
Nuno has demanded an improvement from his Wolves team

Out-of-form Premier League pair Chelsea and Wolves meet at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday evening. Mark O'Haire shares his betting verdict.

"Since promotion back to the top-flight, this angle of attack will have lost money in just 15/95 (16%) of Wolves’ matches, including only 8/47 (16%) away"

Chelsea v Wolves
Wednesday January 27, 18:00
BT Sport

Abraham stars for Chelsea

A Tammy Abraham hat-trick earned Chelsea victory over Luton in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday afternoon but that turned out to be the last match in charge for Blues boss Frank Lampard who was relived of his duties on Monday morning. The club legend is expected to be replaced in the hot-seat by Thomas Tuchel with an announcement due on Tuesday.

Lampard leaves the club marooned in mid-table following last week's defeat at Leicester, having failed to take top honours in each of Chelsea's past five league matches, whilst the Blues suffered five defeats in their past eight, as many as they had in their previous 23.

On Sunday, Billy Gilmour produced a fine performance in the centre of midfield and could be retained along with Abraham for the midweek match but Thiago Silva, Edouard Mendy and Ben Chilwell are expected to be recalled to the starting XI after being rested. N'Golo Kante is the only potential Blues' absentee coming into Wednesday's contest.

Wolves below-par against Chorley

Wolves produced a grossly-below-par effort when scraping past National League North outfit Chorley 1-0 last Friday night to advance to the fifth round of the FA Cup. Vitinha's wonderful finish - the Portuguese's first goal for the club - proved the difference although Nuno Espirito Santo was understandably irked by his team's performance at Victory Park.

The Old Gold avoided a repeat of their infamous 1986 upset at the hands of the same opponents but there was little to be positive about with the part-time hosts outperforming Wolves for large swathes of the showdown. Goalkeeper John Ruddy was called into regular action in a soft defensive display that was also completely devoid of ideas going forward.

Nuno had named a strong XI with only six changes to his starting XI in Lancashire and admitted post-match that "a lot of aspects need improvement." Looking forward to the trip to Stamford Bridge, the Wolves supremo remains without Daniel Podence, Fernando Marcal, Raul Jimenez and Jonny Castro whilst Morgan Gibbs-White is self-isolating.

Blues odds-on at the Bridge

Wolves came from behind to seal a stoppage-time 2-1 success when the two teams crossed swords at Molineux last month, only the Old Gold's second triumph in a decade over Chelsea (W2-D1-L7). The majority of defeats arrived at Stamford Bridge and, the Blues have taken top honours in five of six home Premier League tussles with Wolves (W5-D1-L0).

Since topping the table on the 5 December, only five Premier League clubs have earned fewer points than Chelsea 1.674/6. The Blues' W2-D1-L5 return saw Frank Lampard's charges drift 11 points off the summit, enough for owner Roman Abramovich to end the former England ace's tenure. it's unclear who will be in the dugout for this midweek.

Wolves 5.805/1 are suffering their own downturn following the horrific head injury to key striker Raul Jimenez. The Old Gold have posted W1-D2-L6 without the Mexican hitman from the start of December with only Sheffield United (4) accruing fewer points over that nine-game sample. Nuno Espirito Santo's side are also without a clean sheet in 12 league outings.

Old Gold can keep contest competitive

Exclude the top-six and Chelsea have struck three times or more in eight of 13 Premier League encounters this term, with 10 of those tussles also crossing the Over 2.5 Goals 1.9620/21 barrier. At Stamford Bridge this season, the Blues have delivered a minimum of three goals in six of nine league matches with a hefty 3.33 goals per-game average.

Wolves' aforementioned defensive dip has ensured goals have remained relatively regular when the Black Country boys are on show. Despite the absence of Raul Jimenez, the Old Gold have seen Both Teams To Score 1.9720/21 bank in six of their most recent seven outings, although the guests have lost to nil in all four trips to top-half teams in 2020/21.

Finding a smart selection in a clash between two out-of-form sides is never straightforward but the 1.758/11 available on Wolves with a +1 Asian Handicap start is worthy of our support.

The visitors have only been beaten by a two-goal margin at Anfield dating back to September and since promotion back to the top-flight, this angle of attack will have lost money in just 15/95 (16%) of Wolves' matches, including only 8/47 (16%) away. Exclude Anfield and The Etihad and that figure reads 5/42 (12%) losses by 2+ goals on the road.

Mark's 2020/21 Profit/Loss

Staked: 87.00 pts
Returned: 88.78 pts
P/L: +1.78 pts

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