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Chelsea v Wolves Tips: Back both teams to find the net in SW6

Chelsea v Wolves Tips: Thiago Silva features in our tips this Wednesday
Chelsea v Wolves Tips: Thiago Silva features in our tips this Wednesday

Chelsea begin life without Frank Lampard by welcoming Wolves to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night. It’s perhaps a positive that there will be no fans in the stadium for this match as it would’ve been a strange atmosphere had there been, with Lampard’s sacking seemingly dividing opinion amongst the Blues’ fanbase.

It’s true that results this season have not been good enough for Chelsea but the problems go beyond the manager. The recruitment in the summer, although lavish on the face of it, simply hasn’t worked and the team lacks a real balance which has been ruthlessly exposed too often. The marquee signings of Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner and Kai Havertz have all struggled to adjust to the physicality of the Premier League and one of the new manager Thomas Tuchel’s key assignments will be to get the best out of the latter two which he will know well from his time coaching in the Bundesliga.

The best remedy to solve the blues in west London is to win, starting again with this midweek league fixture.

Today's football tips
Both teams to score
Odds correct as of 2021-01-26 14:10 Odds subject to change.

It’s hard to predict too well at this stage how Chelsea will set themselves up on Wednesday as, at the time of writing, it’s not certain whether Tuchel will be allowed to sit in the dugout and take formal charge of the team or have to quarantine.

The likes of Christian Pulisic and Thiago Silva will almost certainly start given that they’ve worked so reliably under their new boss before, but there are several question marks around who will start as central striker and in the midfield in what will be a tough match.

It’s likely that Tuchel will persist, at least for the time being, with the 4-3-3 system that his predecessor deployed to try and keep things relatively stable, but it could mean that Mason Mount – such a mainstay under Lampard – may see less game time moving forward unless he continues to prove his form.

It’s hard to look past goals in this match for me given the struggles both teams have had at the back all season. Although both the Blues and the Old Gold progressed through their respective FA Cup ties at the weekend, they made hard work of it. 

Chelsea conceded for the 6th time in 7 matches, the solitary clean sheet coming against League Two Morecambe as yet another defensive error was punished, this time from back-up goalkeeper Kepa. Frank Lampard had rotated his back four to try and find the right combination to no avail, and Wolves are more than capable of striking here on the break against a home team who are no doubt in limbo and perhaps suffering from a bit of an identity crisis.

Wolves meanwhile, despite a very strong team line-up against National League North side Chorley, were holding on for much of the second half against a team five divisions below them which doesn’t bode much confidence for this next away trip.

Only 5 sides have a higher Expected Goals Against (xGA) total from this season on their travels than Wolves and you wouldn’t expect that position to improve here. Despite Chelsea’s troubles, they have remained a goalscoring threat for a large part of the season, with Olivier Giroud and Tammy Abraham both providing the goals when called upon to fill the strikers berth.

10 of Wolves’ 19 matches this season have seen both teams oblige, as has been the case in 5 of Chelsea’s 9 home fixtures so a repeat at odds of 19/20 appears to hold some value.

The reverse match finished 2-1 to Wolves, an end-to-end contest where both teams were pushing for a win right at the end and there was hardly anything to separate the sides when looking back at the stats too. Four of the five matches played between Chelsea and Wolves since the latter’s promotion have seen this bet land, so a 2.5 point play to try and near double our money looks a decent first play.

Football betting
Thiago Silva 1+ Shot on Target
Odds correct as of 2021-01-26 14:15 Odds subject to change.

It's hard to ignore just how poor Wolves have been at defending set-pieces and balls into the box this season, something even Chorley tried to and nearly did exploit at the weekend with 5 of their 10 efforts on goal coming with the head. 

Nuno Espirito Santo's men have now conceded a goal from an opponent centre-back in their last three Premier League games, increasing their tally of goals conceded from set-pieces to 9 across the league season - only Leeds holding a worse record. 

It's a problem that needs fixing quickly if the team want to avoid getting dragged into a fight against relegation which, although unlikely with the quality the squad possesses, is not out of the question in a wide-open season. 

There's been at least one shot on Wolves' goal from an opposing centre-half in 11 of their last 13 Premier League matches so I'm willing to have a small stake on Thiago Silva to find the target at Stamford Bridge. The Brazilian registered an effort which tested the goalkeeper in his last outing against Leicester and with Kurt Zouma - who landed two shots in the reverse fixture - likely to sit out again for Silva and Rudiger to continue their partnership, that favours the 36 year-old in this market. 

In the two matches Silva and Rudiger have started alongside each other, at Fulham and Leicester, Silva has had a shot in both matches and against a team which struggles to defend deliveries from dead ball situations, the experienced defender will clearly be a target if Chelsea rack up the corners and wide free-kicks to try and expose one of Wolves' major flaws again. In what may well be a tight contest, set-pieces could well be the difference maker.

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