After the humbling defeat to Arsenal, the last place Wolves probably want to go right now is Stamford Bridge. I think it’s safe to describe Chelsea’s home ground as ‘the mother’ of all fortresses. This season in particular they’ve been painfully ruthless, winning all 6 of their games, scoring 16 goals along the way and conceding just one (and that was way back on the opening day).
So, smell an upset?
You’d certainly be a brave man to expect Wolves to leave London on Saturday evening with anything other than a good hiding. But stranger things have happened and with a good performance (particularly in defence), maybe, just maybe, we can ruffle a few feathers and dare I even suggest it, get a result.
Team news from their camp perhaps offers small crumbs of comfort. Frank Lampard is definitely out, which is good to hear, for the obvious reason that he’s a top player, but also because he has an annoying tendency of scoring against Wolves. Ashley Cole and Bosingwa are both sidelined, with Didier Drogba another potential absentee. Of course the players likely to come in will still be a class above the names on our teamsheet, so like I say, small crumbs.
What’s more important to me is the side that Mick McCarthy picks and the performance that team produces. Our manager learned some harsh lessons against Arsenal, which he himself has since admitted. We don’t want to just sit back and let the top sides dominate us, which is admirable, but we have to be solider defensively against the big boys. And for me, that means sacrificing a striker for a midfielder.
I think Mick will do this on Saturday and opt for 4-5-1. The one glaring omission from this predicted lineup is Kevin Doyle. It won’t please the fans (including me) to see him left out, but I do believe he’ll be rested, given that he’s played two games in a week for Ireland. So my guess for the starting XI reads:
Regardless of whether this turns out to be the starting lineup or not, what Wolves must not do on Saturday, is gift Chelsea goals. If we get undone by a moment (or two) of real quality, fair enough. But in games of this nature, you can’t afford to make any mistakes. We found that out the hard way against Arsenal.
Chelsea don’t have the same fluidity to their play as the Gunners, nobody does, but they do have an incredibly effective style and know exactly how to win games of football. In fact, I’d go as far to say that if Wolves find themselves behind at any point in this match, it’s an almost-certainty that we won’t find a way back.
A cleansheet seems incredibly unlikely, so we’ll probably need at least one goal to get anything from the game. That doesn’t seem too unrealistic and they’re long overdue to concede at home. Maybe 1-1 is the most likely positive result for Wolves.
Unfortunately, I don’t see the game panning out like that. They’re a strong side all over the pitch, particularly at Stamford Bridge and I think we’re in for a difficult afternoon. I’m going for 3-0 to Chelsea, but hoping for an unlikely upset.
If you’ve paid the excessive premium to go to the match (like me), have a great time and roar the lads on. The away support this season has been nothing short of phenomenal.
Up The Wolves.