After upsetting Liverpool in the fourth round, Wolverhampton Wanderers will look to claim a second successive big name scalp when they host Premiership leaders Chelsea in the fifth round of the FA Cup this weekend.
Paul Lambert’s side pulled off a shock victory at Anfield last month thanks to first half goals from Richard Stearman and Andreas Weimann, but their form has taken a turn for the worse after that victory. They’re yet to win in February and have lost three in a row in the Championship, one away to newly promoted Burton Albion and the other two at Molineux to Newcastle and Wigan. That leaves them just eight points above the drop zone and with the likes of QPR having league fixtures on Saturday, Wolves could be dragged further towards the relegation battle.
Wolves were absolutely dreadful at home against relegation threatened Wigan in midweek. They could have leapfrogged Aston Villa with a win over the Latics, but instead turned in an insipid performance, with the visitors taking home all three points thanks to Jake Buxton’s late header. Bar Enobakhare and Ronan, none of the other Wolves players really seemed interested in putting in a shift.
Chelsea go into this game on the back of a 1-1 away draw at Burnley. Pedro opened the scoring for the Blues at Turf Moor, only for Robbie Brady to net an absolute beaut of an equaliser for the Clarets. The free kick scored by Brady was also the first conceded by Courtois in his tenure at the Bridge. The Blues however still have an eight point lead at the top of the Premiership.
If this was a game at Stamford Bridge, you could’ve probably written off Wolves even before the start of the fixture. Their last four trips to the stadium have seen them lose 6-0, 3-0, 2-0 and 4-0 respectively- a total of fifteen conceded and none scored. However this fixture is at Molineux, which gives Wolves a glimmer of hope notwithstanding their poor league form. The majority of Chelsea’s points dropped this season have been away from home and lest we forget, their League Cup defeat against West Ham also came on the road. The Blues will still start strong favourites (4/11 vs 17/2 for Wolves) and a quick look at their stats at www.sbat.com tells us why- this, after all, is a game between two sides nearly 40 places apart on the football ladder.
If Wolves beat Chelsea, they will reach the quarterfinals of the FA Cup- a feat they last achieved in their promotion winning 2002/03 season, beating the likes of Newcastle, Leicester and Rochdale before losing away at Southampton. Paul Lambert’s side will need no inspiration for this fixture- a victory against Antonio Conte’s men will be one of the few bright moments in what has otherwise been a forgettable season for the Molineux faithful. They’ll be looking to emulate their January 2011 victory over the Blues, when Jose Bosingwa’s own goal gave the home side victory over Carlo Ancelotti’s defending champions.
Wolves’ last win over Chelsea Video
Chelsea have a full squad to choose from, with no European obligations in midweek, and John Terry is expected to recover from his injury sustained in training to take his spot in defence. Conte is however likely to rest David Luiz, with the Brazilian expected to use this two week period as a recovery one in order to gain full fitness before Swansea’s visit to the Bridge.
The Blues have scored four goals in both their previous FA Cup outings this season, beating Posh 4-1 and Brentford 4-0.
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Wolverhampton Wanderers v Chelsea (18 February, 2017- 17.30 UK KO)