8 March 2019

Chelsea v. Wolves Preview  (Sky Sports)

Chelsea v. WolvesChelsea will look to make it four wins on the bounce when Wolves visit Stamford Bridge on Super Sunday.

Since their defeat to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final, Maurizio Sarri has steadied the ship and put together four straight wins including last weekend's 2-1 victory over Fulham.

Chelsea have lost just one of their last 53 home Premier League games against newly promoted teams (W44 D8), although Wolves did register a shock victory over Sarri's side in the reverse fixture earlier this season.

Rui Patricio will return for Wolves, manager Nuno Espirito Santo has confirmed.

The goalkeeper was replaced by John Ruddy in Saturday's 2-0 win over Cardiff to give the 32-year-old game time before next week's FA Cup quarter-final with Manchester United.

But the Portugal international will be in goal at Stamford Bridge.

Nuno said: "It was very clear. The decision was made and I was very clear in my intention.

"I was pleased because John performed very well. John was very confident and he was very stable, which is what we were looking for. Now we play Chelsea, we focus on this game."

Team news

Eden Hazard and N'Golo Kante are among the players likely to return after head coach Maurizio Sarri rotated his squad in the Europa League.

Sarri has no apparent injury concerns, with defender Antonio Rudiger and striker Gonzalo Higuain also expected to be recalled following Thursday's 3-0 victory over Dynamo Kiev.

Pedro could retain his starting spot after impressing against Kiev, but fellow winger Callum Hudson-Odoi, who came on to score in that game, may once again have to be content with a place on the substitutes' bench.

Ryan Bennett misses out for Wolves as he starts a two-game ban after collecting 10 yellow cards with Romain Saiss expected to drop into defence.

Opta stats

Chelsea have won all four of their Premier League home games against Wolves, scoring 14 goals and conceding just two.

Wolves are looking to do the league double over Chelsea for the first time since the 1974-75 top-flight campaign, when Chelsea were relegated.

Wolves could become the first promoted team to do the Premier League double over Chelsea since Charlton Athletic in the 2000-01 campaign.

Wolves have won more points against the 'big six' sides (9) than any of the other 14 sides in the Premier League this season and have already avoided defeat away at Arsenal (1-1), Manchester United (1-1) and Tottenham Hotspur (3-1).

Chelsea have lost just one of their last 53 home league games against promoted sides (W44 D8), losing against Bournemouth in December 2015.

Chelsea are looking to win three consecutive Premier League games for the first time since September, when they won their opening five of the season. At home, they've won their last three by an aggregate score of 9-1.

Wolves are unbeaten in their five Premier League games in London this season (W3 D2). They last had a longer unbeaten run in the capital in the top-flight between November 1972 and November 1974 (11 games).

Since the start of last season, Chelsea's Eden Hazard has been directly involved in 10 goals in 10 Premier League games against promoted sides (7 goals, 3 assists), scoring or assisting a goal in each of his four such games this term.

Wolves Raul Jimenez has been directly involved in seven goals in his last seven Premier League games (5 goals, 2 assists).

Raul Jimenez has scored 11 Premier League goals this season - the most scored by a Wolves player in a single campaign in the competition is 12 (Steven Fletcher in 2011-12).

Merson's prediction

It will be an interesting game. Chelsea will have played in the Europa League and compare that to Wolves, who will have had a week's break. Chelsea need to win this for the top four, but if you are not getting in there, you have to make sure you have got a nice buffer for the Europa League places and they need to keep in both at the moment.

PAUL PREDICTS: 2-1 (15/2 with Sky Bet)

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