Chelsea and Wolves face off against each other but both teams need the three points for very different reasons. The Blues come into this game week 9 fixture on the back of consecutive wins against Crystal Palace last weekend and AC Milan in the Champions League this midweek.
Graham Potter’s side are starting to find their rhythm and mojo at the right time. The same cannot be said for Saturday’s opponent Wolves who come into this clash with some uncertainty following the sacking of manager Bruno Lage. It is understood that Wolves have a verbal agreement with Julen Lopetegui but this fixture comes to early for the appointment to be made.
The Sevilla manager was only relieved of his duties earlier this week after Borussia Dortmund confirmed his misery with the 4-1 thrashing in the Champions League. Experienced coaches Steve Davis and James Collins will take interim dual charge for this game.
It’s a fixture that Wolves drew last season at Stamford Bridge courtesy of a late Conor Coady equaliser. This time around though, despite Daniel Podence’s confidence that Diego Costa can hit the ground running against his former club, Davis and Collins will be without one of their best players in the form of Pedro Neto, who went off injured during the West Ham loss last weekend.
Unlike Wesley Fofana who only sustained a four- six week injury lay-off with the knee sprain sustained in the AC Milan win, the Portuguese who was targeted by Arsenal during the latter parts of the summer transfer window will be not only missing this game but also two months which is terrible news for whoever is to become Lage’s successor with striker Sasa Kalajdzic also sidelined. Hwang Hee-Chan is making good progress but this will be too soon for him.
Wolves’ medical team confirmed all of this with their official assessment:
“Pedro sustained an ankle injury against West Ham on Saturday where he strained the lateral ligaments. “Following further evaluation and a specialist opinion this week, it is planned for him to undergo surgery. This means that, unfortunately, he will not be fit for the upcoming World Cup. “Hee Chan has made good progress this week and has rejoined team training.
“Bruno Jordao injured his groin while on loan at CD Santa Clara in September and was unable to play with confidence after rehabilitation. He has therefore returned to the UK to undergo groin surgery. He is expected to return to play in the New Year.”
It is believed that Neto will miss the World Cup now for Portugal which is a huge shame for the 22-year-old whose ceiling is very high. No wonder his current club demanded in excess of £50 million from the Gunners. His ankle injury will cause a selection headache for the two stand-in managers who will be present in the Stamford Bridge dugout. Meanwhile, on top of Fofana, the likes of Kante, Carney Chukwuemeka and a few others are doubts for Chelsea this weekend. Potter will confirm in his pre-match press conference on Friday which should give more clarity on the full injury picture.