EPL - Wolverhampton Wanderers v Chelsea

Image copyright: Getty Images 

2023/24 English Premier League
Matchday 18

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Chelsea

Wolverhampton, England
Sunday, 24 December 2023
Kick-off is at 14h00 
Chelsea will be looking to improve their recent record in the Black Country when they take on Wolves at Molineux on Sunday, December 24.
The Blues have only registered one win on their last five trips to Wanderers, while losing three times and collecting just four points out of a possible 15.
Their form this season hasn't been great under Mauricio Pochettino, but they did manage to halt a two-match losing streak with a 2-0 triumph over Sheffield United at Stamford Bridge on December 16.
That was just their second win in five outings as Pochettino's side climbed back into the top half of the table to push neighbours Fulham down to 11th place.
The gap to Brighton in ninth stands at four points after they were beaten 2-0 by Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on December 17 to see West Ham leapfrog them into eighth position.
Wolves are in a three-way tie with Brentford (12th) and Bournemouth (14th) on 19 points after suffering a 3-0 defeat at the hands of the Hammers in the capital.
Gary O'Neil's side find themselves just three points outside the top 10, although their goal difference is far inferior to that of Chelsea, having scored 21 and conceded 29.
Dan Bentley conceded for the first time against West Ham since coming on for the injured Jose Sa in the 2-1 defeat to Arsenal on December 2. The goalkeeper kept a clean sheet on his first start against Burnley, but will perhaps feel he could have done better at the London Stadium after failing to get a glove onto any of their three goals and being beaten by Mohammed Kudus at his near post.

Cole PalmerImage copyright: Getty Images 

Cole Palmer continues to impress at Chelsea and played a starring role in the win over the Blades. The off-season signing from Manchester City combined with Raheem Sterling to open the scoring in the second half before showing his composure to set up Nicolas Jackson for the second goal after being heavily involved in the build-up play.
O'Neil pointed to three mistakes in midfield that led to the Hammers making them pay on each occasion and insists the players need to improve their decision-making in the big moments.
"They're three disastrous goals that we concede from nothing," he said. "We beat ourselves today, really. We gave West Ham the game, they didn't do a lot to cause us any problems apart from the three massive counter-attack spaces that we left and they punished us on all of them.
"We can discuss the performance from there really, but it's all irrelevant if we do so poorly in big moments like that in the Premier League, you stand no chance. Really disappointed with those and need to make sure we improve."
Pochettino was pleased to get a reaction from his players after the defeat at Everton the weekend prior and praised their maturity to control the game against Sheffield United.
"I am happy because the players deserve the victory," the Argentine said. "They worked during the week, they reacted. It's about building our confidence but at the same time we need to realise we need to change if we want to improve.
"The most important thing was that we dominated, and dominated also in the transitions. Sometimes in this kind of game you become frustrated because you cannot score.
"The team showed big maturity in controlling the transitions and we didn't give them much opportunity to score. I'm so happy, so pleased, the players deserved after a few defeats to feel victory again."

Head-to-Head (Last Five Premier League Meetings)

Matches - 5
Wolves - 1
Chelsea - 1
Draws - 3

Premier League Matchday 18 fixtures:

Thursday, December 21
22h00: Crystal Palace v Brighton & Hove Albion
Friday, December 22
22h00: Aston Villa v Sheffield United
Saturday, December 23
14h30: West Ham United v Manchester United
17h00: Fulham v Burnley
17h00: Luton Town v Newcastle United
17h00: Nottingham Forest v Bournemouth
17h00: Tottenham Hotspur v Everton
19h30: Liverpool v Arsenal
Sunday, December 24
15h00: Wolverhampton Wanderers v Chelsea

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Published: 12/19/2023