Match Preview

PMB: Wolves v Chelsea - matchday

The final part of the Pre-Match Briefing gets you ready for today's game...

• Tonight is second instalment of three important matches in seven days, and despite small problems for Mateo Kovacic (ankle) and Marcos Alonso (back), Maurizio Sarri has a full squad from which to draw.

• After netting Chelsea’s landmark 1,000th home goal in the Premier League, Pedro has the fourth-best minutes-per-goal ratio in the top flight. That was the Blues’ 12th strike from the 75th minute on, three more than the nearest rival this season.

• Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who doubled the Blues’ victory margin over Fulham, has hit five goals in his last six appearances in all competitions, and has been praised for his attitude by the Sarri. Alvaro Morata, who the coach feels need continuity, could return to lead the line against Wolves’ back three.

• Nuno Espirito Santo kept pretty much the same personnel in his preferred 3-4-2-1 formation as the Old Gold side won four and went six games undefeated up to October. Without a win in six and beaten by bottom-five clubs Huddersfield and Cardiff over successive weeks, Wolves have lost their last three home games, conceding two or more in the process.

• In excess of three-quarters of their goals have been scored after the interval, and more than a third in the last quarter-hour, but it is his team’s sudden inability to keep the ball out of their own net that will be of greater concern to Wanderers’ coach.

• Earlier in the campaign Moutinho and Ruben Neves (suspended tonight) were initiating moves that brought the best out of a fluid and talented front three. The link-ups have proved less incisive of late, especially with Jonny Otto ruled out, but 45 per cent of Wolves attacks have gone down the right, where Matt Doherty lurks.

Maurizio Sarri's pre-match quotes

‘I expect a very difficult match because Wolves are a very technical team, they have a lot of very technical players. They were unlucky in the last two matches. It is really not very easy to play there.’

Wanderers manager Nuno Espirito Santo's pre-match quotes

‘You have to be cautious of the moment we are in and face it. We have had a block of games with mistakes, from a team which is still growing. When the results don't come, what is important is how you approach the situation.

‘There is not one big performance that will get us out of trouble, we must build and improve step by step and game by game.’

Squad news

Marcos Alonso
Mateo Kovacic


Jonny Otto


Ruben Neves

Matchday weather outlook

A threat of rain and breezy in the West Midlands tonight.