Wolves vs Chelsea: Massive test at the beginning of a crucial week.

Chelsea travel to Wolverhampton this afternoon knowing that points are needed to kick-start our season having had a disappointing opening...

Chelsea travel to Wolverhampton this afternoon knowing that points are needed to kick-start our season having had a disappointing opening period to the campaign. It's the start of a massive week for Frank Lampard and his Chelsea squad. 

Chelsea will head into the game written-off as underdogs against the impressive Wolves side who have only lost one of the dozen or so games they have played already this season due to their involvement in Europa League qualification starting earlier than normal. Nuno Espirito Santo has seen his side draw their first three Premier League fixtures followed by defeat to Everton last time out.

We all witnessed how strong the Wolves side was last season and if anything, they have strengthened again heading into the new season. They still pose the same threat, still play with three at the back with wing-backs looking to force your wide men backwards and still have the firepower to score plenty. However, as Everton demonstrated, they do have frailties at the back which hopefully Chelsea can expose.

The question today for all of us is who starts for Chelsea? We have confirmation from Frank Lampard in his pre-match press conference that Toni Rudiger, Pedro and Mateo Kovacic are all fit to play the game with notable absentees being N'Golo Kante and Emerson. Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James featured for the development squad last night so you would think they are ruled out of the game also. Ruben Loftus-Cheek remains the only long-term absence remaining.

Chelsea's biggest problems so far have been their application for ninety-minutes and the goals we have conceded. We have seen in three out of the four games so far a good level of performance for a period of time (whether it's been 45 minutes, 60 or 70 minutes) to then drop off and it has cost us. We have conceded really sloppy goals which has done the same, both have been and will continue to be worked on to improve.

On the positive side of things, we have seen Chelsea cause everyone we have faced so far real problems when we move the ball quickly into attacking areas, whether that's out wide or through the middle and it's something that we need to focus on today. It doesn't matter who our opponents are, when we move it quickly, with the pace and quality we have in those areas, we will create good chances. The question today is "Who starts in those areas?".

For me there will be two changes in our back four this afternoon, one enforced and one which is based on selection. Marcos Alonso will come in for Emerson at left-back with Toni Rudiger to partner Andreas Christensen at the heart of our defence - the best partnership at the moment in my view.

Our midfield pretty much selects itself at the moment with N'Golo Kante out injured. The impressive duo of Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic start in a two-man midfield with Mason Mount and Ross Barkley either playing the 4-4-2 diamond, or with Mount wide left, Barkley through middle and Willian wide right - all in behind Tammy Abraham who starts again having scored four goals in two games.

Starting eleven:

Kepa, Azpilicueta (c), Rudiger, Christensen, Alonso, Jorginho, Kovacic, Willian, Barkley, Mount and Abraham.

The bench: 

Caballero, Tomori, Zouma, Pulisic, Pedro, Batshuayi and Giroud.

It's a massive game, we need to remain defensively compact, hunt the ball in packs and play fast, expansive football when we are in possession. We have the players to do this, we just need to make sure they are at it for ninety-minutes!


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