Preview: Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Chelsea

Preview: Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Chelsea

Frank Lampard will begin his reign as Chelsea’s caretaker manager with a trip to Molineux to face Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League on Saturday.

While the West Londoners are languishing in 11th place in the table and are at risk of failing to qualify for Europe, Wolves are positioned three places further back in 14th and are fighting against relegation.

Since securing a slender 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur at the beginning of March, Wolves have picked up just one point from their last nine available and remain embroiled in a hotly-contested relegation battle.

Back-to-back defeats against Newcastle United and Leeds United were followed by a 1-1 draw away against Nottingham Forest last weekend, with Daniel Podence scoring seven minutes from time to cancel out Brennan Johnson’s opener and rescue a point for the visitors.

A decline in form has left Julen Lopetegui with plenty to ponder and his side are now precariously placed just above the relegation zone, with only one point separating them from 18th-placed Bournemouth with nine games remaining, including five fixtures against teams in the top half of the table.

Wolves have stepped up for the big occasion in recent matches on home soil, though, as they have won each of their last three Premier League games at Molineux against teams above them in the table, including the aforementioned win over Spurs and victories against Liverpool and West Ham United.

Lopetegui will be targeting improvements from his Wolves side in the final third, as they have scored the joint-fewest goals (23) in the Premier League this season along with Everton and Southampton, and they head into Saturday’s clash with Chelsea having failed to score in four of their last six meetings with the West Londoners.

Five days after parting company with Graham Potter, Chelsea announced on Thursday the appointment of club legend Frank Lampard as caretaker manager until the end of the season.

The 44-year-old returns to Stamford Bridge just over two years after being sacked as head coach in January 2021, and takes his first managerial job since being given the boot by Everton just three months ago.

Chelsea have confirmed that they are continuing their “thorough and exhaustive process” for a permanent manager – with the likes of Luis Enrique and Julian Nagelsmann among the frontrunners to take over in the summer – but in the meantime, Lampard is tasked with helping the Blues climb the Premier League table towards the European qualification places, while the small matter of a Champions League tie with Real Madrid is on the agenda next week.

Lampard was in attendance at Stamford Bridge to watch Chelsea – led by interim coach Bruno Saltor – play out a goalless draw with Liverpool on Tuesday night, in which a wasteful Blues side missed a plethora of chances in front of goal.

The West Londoners have struggled to find the net throughout this season and have scored at least two or more goals in just three of their last 20 Premier League matches, while they have failed to score at all in 10 games during this run.

Chelsea had no problems scoring in their last meeting with Wolves, though, as goals from Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic and Armando Broja secured a 3-0 home victory in October – their biggest league win of the season to date – and another triumph on Saturday could move them to within four points of the top six.

Wolverhampton Wanderers Premier League form:

Chelsea Premier League form:

Chelsea form (all competitions):

We say: Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-1 Chelsea
The pressure is on both teams to end their poor runs of form and pick up precious points on Saturday if they wish to meet their respective targets this season.

Wolves have impressed in big games on home soil this season, but the return of Lampard to Chelsea could provide his squad with a much-needed boost to come out on top at Molineux and kick-start a charge for Europe.

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