Chelsea will look to kick off Frank Lampard’s second stint in charge strongly when they face Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday.

The games continue to come thick and fast across Europe, with Gameweek 30 kicking off in the Premier League this weekend. The action will begin at Old Trafford with the game between Manchester United and Everton. And we will then move on to the match featuring Wolverhampton Wanderers and Chelsea.

Wolverhampton Wanderers have endured a topsy-turvy ride thus far this season after falling to the bottom of the table in the early weeks. Bruno Lage was in charge when the campaign began, although he only lasted a month. Julen Lopetegui took over midway through September and has improved their fortunes, albeit only marginally so, as they remain in the relegation dogfight.

On the other hand, Chelsea also lost a manager after a month, with Thomas Tuchel departing in September. Graham Potter replaced the German tactician but has been unable to see through the season. And the Englishman met his demise on Sunday after falling to a defeat to Aston Villa last weekend. Frank Lampard has since taken over as the caretaker manager as the Blues scour the market for a permanent appointment.

The reverse fixture was one of Chelsea’s best games this season, as they beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-0 at Stamford Bridge. And ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.

Team News & Tactics

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Jules Lopetegui has greeted a mixed bag of updates on the team news front ahead of his side’s latest fixture. Against Chelsea on Saturday, the Wolverhampton Wanderers manager will be bereft of the services of four first-team players.

Hwang Hee-chan and Boubacar Traore have progressed well on their roads to recovery. And the duo should be in the matchday squad against Chelsea. But Ruben Neves and Jonny Otto are serving suspensions and will be unavailable for the next couple of games.

In addition, Chiquinho and Sasa Kalajdzic remain on the sidelines due to their respective knee injuries. Meanwhile, Jose Sa picks himself between the sticks, with Wolverhampton Wanderers set to line up in a 4-3-3 formation in front of him.

Craig Dawson and Max Kilman will form the central defensive partnership, with the duo looking to keep Kai Havertz quiet. Nelson Semedo and Hugo Bueno should be the two full-backs. And the two wide defenders will remain compact for much of the game while looking for counter-attacking opportunities.

Joao Moutinho should replace Neves, joining Mario Lemina and Matheus Nunes in the middle of the park. The trio will be primarily defensive-minded in their approach, with Nunes having the responsibility to push his team forward during transitions.

With most of the team prioritising solidifying the defensive side of things, the three attackers will have the freedom to express themselves. Adama Traore and Daniel Podence will be direct in the final third, with Raul Jimenez spearheading the attack.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Sa; Semedo, Dawson, Kilman, Bueno; Lemina, Moutinho, Nunes; Adama Traore, Jimenez, Podence


Unlike his counterpart in the Wolverhampton Wanderers dugout, Frank Lampard has a near full-strength squad at his disposal ahead of the trip to the Molineux. The Chelsea caretaker manager will be without three first-team players on Saturday.

Defence still remains an issue, with Cesar Azpilicueta (head) and Thiago Silva (knee) unavailable. In addition, Armando Broja is a long-term absentee due to a knee injury. But Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should be available after recovering from a lower back issue.

However, Aubameyang will unlikely return to the starting eleven despite the managerial change. Instead, Kai Havertz, who coincidentally joined Chelsea during Lampard’s first stint, will spearhead the Chelsea attack. And the German international should see Joao Felix and Raheem Sterling flanking him.

Mykhailo Mudryk will also be in favour with Lampard, who attempted to sign him at Everton. Meanwhile, Mason Mount, who rose to prominence under Lampard, will likely enjoy a long run in the team following the Englishman’s return.

Mount will likely join Mateo Kovacic and Enzo Fernandez in the middle of the park. Meanwhile, N’Golo Kante will likely appear off the bench as he continues to regain fitness and sharpness. The Frenchman will be on the bench alongside Conor Gallagher and Denis Zakaria.

Finally, Lampard’s influence on the team selection will be best felt in the backline. A youthful defensive unit should feature Reece James, Wesley Fofana, Benoit Badiashile, and Ben Chilwell. Finally, Kepa Arrizabalaga is an automatic selection between the sticks for Chelsea.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Kepa; James, Wesley Fofana, Badiashile, Chilwell; Kovacic, Fernandez, Mount; Felix, Havertz, Sterling

Key Stats

  • Wolverhampton Wanderers are winless in their last four Premier League games against Chelsea (D3 L1) since beating them 2-1 at Molineux in December 2020. The Blues have not won either of their last two league games at the Molineux (D1 L1) since winning 5-2 in September 2019 under Frank Lampard.
  • Under Julen Lopetegui, Wolverhampton Wanderers are unbeaten in their three Premier League matches against opponents from London (W2 D1), recording wins at home to West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur. They had not won any of their previous 11 such matches prior to Lopetegui’s arrival (D3 L8).
  • Saturday will be the fifth time that Julen Lopetegui will face Chelsea in his managerial career, with each of the previous four coming in the UEFA Champions League. After winning the first one with FC Porto in September 2015 (2-1), he has failed to win each of the last three without his sides scoring a goal (D1 L2).
  • Chelsea have picked up just 16 points from 14 away games in the Premier League this season (W4 D4 L6), their lowest return after 14 outings on the road in a single campaign since 2000/01 (9). The Blues have already lost twice as many away games this season (6) as they did in 2021/22 (3).
  • Daniel Podence is Wolverhampton Wanderers’ top scorer in the Premier League this season, with his six goals in 2022/23 as many as he had scored in his first three campaigns combined (2019/20, 2020/21 and 2021/22). His six goals this term have won eight points for the Black Country outfit, more than any other player for the club.

Player to Watch

Mason Mount

Embed from Getty Images

To say that Mason Mount has endured a forgettable 2022/23 season will be an understatement. The English international came into this term on the back of a memorable 2021/22 campaign. But the instability at Stamford Bridge has affected Mount the worst.

The 24-year-old has been unable to make his mark for much of the season. And he dropped out of the team in Graham Potter’s final days as the Chelsea boss. But with Frank Lampard back at Stamford Bridge, Mount has a golden opportunity to become a talismanic figure again for the west London club. And the Blues will also wait with bated breath to tie him to a new contract.


Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-2 Chelsea

Frank Lampard is back after a decision by Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly that no one could have foreseen. And while the Blues have become a butt of jokes on social media, a familiar face might galvanise the Chelsea squad.

Meanwhile, Wolverhampton Wanderers have won their last three Premier League home games against teams starting the day above them in the table (1-0 vs West Ham United, 3-0 vs Liverpool and 1-0 vs Tottenham Hotspur).

They have never previously won four consecutive home games against opponents above them in the Premier League. And that record will evade them again on Saturday, with Lampard likely to inspire Chelsea to a much-needed victory. The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-1 win for the visitors.

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