Chelsea v Wolverhampton Wanderers: Predicted line-ups
WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 15: Christian Pulisic of Chelsea battle for possession with Ruben Neves of Wolves during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Chelsea at Molineux on December 15, 2020 in Wolverhampton, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Chelsea have a new man in charge as they look to overturn their poor run of form against a struggling Wolverhampton Wanderers side, whose last win in the Premier League came against the team from London.

VAVEL predicts the line-ups for this evening's clash, with both teams looking to gain all three points at Stamford Bridge.

  • The Opposition

Chelsea are a little bit of a mystery going into this game, with the new man in the dugout Thomas Tuchel only taking the reins yesterday.

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With such little time to work on anything new though, Chelsea will still probably line up in a usual 4-3-3 formation. This will give the new boss the opportunity to look at the current side to see what changes are needed.

​​​​​​​The Blues have no injury worries to contend with, so will likely start with Thiago Silva and Antonio Rudiger in the centre of defence. Attacking full-back Ben Chilwell will start on the left, with Reece James most likely to get the nod at right-back. 

Chelsea are without N-Golo Kante, with the Frenchman still on the sidelines with a hamstring injury. This will mean Jorginho will fill the central role in midfield for the Blues. 

Mason Mount has been a bright spark in a bleak season so far at Stamford Bridge, with the Englishman expected to start on the left-hand side of the midfield three. 

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Kai Havertz will be looking to impress his new boss, after having a difficult season so far. He will probably take up the right-hand side of the three in midfield for Chelsea. 

Christian Pulisic will have the task of attacking Wolves' left-hand side, with the American no doubt eager to impress Tuchel from the right wing.

Another man searching for form is Hakim Ziyech and will no doubt see a Wolves defence so low on confidence, as an ideal opportunity to fire his season into action. The 27-year-old will most likely feature on left wing. 

Tuchel will look to get the best out of fellow countryman Timo Werner, with the German likely to get the nod to lead the attack down the centre for the Blues. 

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  • Tactics and Formation

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo has experimented with a back four and three all season. It is clear that he is still searching for the right formula to give his side the best balance both defensively and offensively.

Last time out, Wolves played with a back three, which bore them a great 2-1 victory. It would not be surprising to see Nuno adopt a similar formation to that.

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With the West Midlanders still struggling defensively, it would be more likely that Wolves go with a more familiar 3-4-3 tonight, than with their experimental 4-2-3-1. 

Wolves have their veteran Portuguese keeper in Rui Patricio to call upon to stand as a dominant figure between the sticks. It has not been a good season for the 32-year-old  though compared to the last two, only managing four clean sheets in 19 appearances in the league so far.

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Assuming that Wolves go with a back three, they will no doubt have their captain Conor Coady in the middle, with Willy Boly on the right and Romain Saiss on the left.

As Marcal is still out for a couple more weeks with injury, Maximilian Kilman will most likely be sitting on the bench as back-up. The three in the middle for Wolves are in dire need of a good performance, with many questions being thrown their way recently.

Wolves have options at wing-backs, which will no doubt be a major factor on how well they are able to counter Chelsea's attacks. Nelson Semedo has been improving in each game that he plays, so will probably start on the right.

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With Saiss in the middle and Marcal out, it will be Rayan Ait-Nouri starting on the left. However, it would not be surprising to see Ki-Jana Hoever get a nod on either side, with the Dutchman eager to cement a starting place in the side.

Wolves did not start Ruben Neves in their last game in the FA Cup against Chorley, opting instead to rest him. The midfield maestro though will no doubt be a part of their midfield this evening. 

He will then be joined by Leander Dendoncker, with the Belgian eager to get on the score sheet after missing some glorious chances in recent games. 

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Wolves are still without Daniel Podence, so will likely go with Pedro Neto on the left-wing and Adama Traore on the right-wing. Both these players will be looking to make their mark against Chelsea, with either of them capable of changing a game with their pace and ability to beat their men.

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Wolves would have loved to have started their new front-man Willian Jose tonight, with the Brazilian looking unlikely to feature due to his work permit not going through in time.

This means that the Wanderer's will be placing their hopes on their 18-year-old signing Fabio Silva once more to lead the pack. The young Portuguese has been impressive in recent games and with new competition being brought in, this may be a valuable opportunity to show Nuno that he is too good to be sent out on loan.

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  • Predicted line-ups

Wolves (3-4-3): Patricio, Semedo, Ait-Nouri, Boly, Saiss, Coady; Neves, Dendoncker; Traore, Neto, F.Silva

Chelsea (4-3-3): Mendy, James, Chilwell, Rudiger, T.Silva; Havertz, Mount, Jorginho; Pulisic, Ziyech, Werner

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