LAMPARD FACES TOUGH WOLVES TEST TO SECURE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FOOTBALL FOR CHELSEA NEXT SEASON
Chelsea to beat Wolves 2-1!
Chelsea know they are a point away from securing Champions League football next season in manager Frank Lampard’s first year at the club. Lampard, having led his side to an FA Cup final after beating Manchester United last weekend, know they cannot afford to slip up at the final hurdle after spending most of the season in their current fourth spot.
Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo knows that this season has already been a successful one. Should they match seventh-placed Tottenham Hotspur’s result on Sunday, they will finish in sixth – their best-ever season in the Premier League, ahead of big clubs Spurs and Arsenal.
The Wanderers have taken a total of 14 points from 13 games against the traditional ‘Top-6’ teams plus Leicester, adding to their reputation while playing an attractive brand of football.
Despite Chelsea’s higher position in the league, and their win against Wolves earlier this season, this will not be a straightforward contest.
Form Guide (last five PL matches): W W L W L – 9 points
Reasons to be cheerful
Reasons to be fearful
Frank Lampard will have mixed feelings over how his players have performed since the Covid-19 restart. They’ve played quick, positive football and are the league’s joint-third highest goal scorers this season.
On the flip side, they’re only the sixth-best team in the league on form and have shown defensive weaknesses when losing to West Ham, Sheffield United and this week’s heavy defeat to newly crowned champions Liverpool.
Over 2.5 goals have found the back of the net in Chelsea’s past six games on average. With them scoring almost as many as they are conceding, we could expect a few this weekend.
Star Man – Christian Pulisic
The silky playmaker has been in lightning form since returning from injury at the start of the year. Scoring in victories over Man City and Crystal Palace, his pace and low centre of gravity have drawn comparisons to former Chelsea star Eden Hazard, who left for Real Madrid in the summer.
Form Guide (last five PL matches): L L W D W – 7 points
Reasons to be cheerful:
Reasons to be fearful:
Wolves have developed into one of the most respected teams in the league. Such is their hard-working, effective brand of football, no team would relish playing them in the final game of the season with Champions League football at stake.
Winning five of their eight games since the restart, they are one of the league’s in-form sides and have quality sprinkled throughout the team. They don’t score as many goals as Chelsea, but their defence is much tighter, proving they’ll be difficult to beat on Sunday.
Star Man – Raul Jimenez
No Premier League player has scored more goals in all competitions this season. The Mexican has been prolific in front of goal, netting 27 goals with a further 10 assists. No other Wolves player has over 7 goals in the league this season.
Wolves will do well to keep hold of him at the end of the season.
Chelsea have so much riding on this match. Come away with a draw or better, Frank Lampard will have secured Champions League football in his first year in charge.
Add that to an FA Cup final against Arsenal and consider that Chelsea were banned from buying players at the start of the season, he’ll be delighted.
Wolves will go into the game with every intention of spoiling the party, however. They have history beating larger clubs over the last two seasons and they have a red-hot striker in Jimenez backed up by bags of quality in Jota, Neves and Traore.
However, the stakes are higher for Chelsea and they’ll give everything to get the result they need.
Chelsea to beat Wolves 2-1!