watch predictions and thoughts from dazzling Dave & magic moss
Wolves goalkeeper Jose Sa is fit again after a shoulder injury kept him out of the defeat by West Ham. Pedro Neto could return after almost two months out with a hamstring injury, while Nelson Semedo has recovered from illness.
Chelsea defender Reece James is set for an extended spell on the sidelines after undergoing hamstring surgery. Enzo Fernandez is being assessed after he was withdrawn with a stomach bug in the midweek win over Newcastle. Romeo Lavia, Noni Madueke and Lesley Ugochukwu have all returned to training and the former could make his Chelsea debut after joining from Southampton in August.
Here are the key lines from his news conference:
Assessing Sunday’s 3-0 loss to West Ham, he described the three goals they conceded as “really easy fixes” but said there were lots of positives to be taken from the game.
On Pedro Neto’s return he emphasised how he is a “huge asset to the team” and has trained all week, but also urged caution: “It’s not just let’s get Pedro back and everything’s fixed.’
On Chelsea: “They’ll definitely finish higher in the league than (where) they are at the moment. They are finding their way after a difficult spell.”
He wants Wolves to maintain their seven-game unbeaten run at Molineux: “We have managed to make it a good place so far this season but the players need to be at 100% to give us a chance at beating a very strong Chelsea side. We are in a better spot than most would have envisaged at this point.”
He is not intimidated by the packed Christmas schedule: “Our games have been crammed into a shorter spell than most. It will allow us to learn a lot about the group.”
Finally, on the game being played on Christmas Eve, he understands difficulties for fans but says “it doesn’t make too much difference to me as there’s a lot of work that needs doing over those days”: “I would like a positive result so everyone can enjoy their Christmas Day.”
STATS & FACTS
- Wolves are seeking to win consecutive league games against Chelsea for the first time since a run of three between 1973 to 1975.
- The Blues are winless in three previous visits to Molineux, drawing one and losing two.
- This is only the second Premier League game to be played on Christmas Eve after Leeds United defeated Manchester United 3-1 at Elland Road in 1995.
- Both clubs last played on 24 December in 1966: Wolves beat Derby County 5-3 while Chelsea lost 2-1 to Liverpool.
- Wolves are unbeaten in six Premier League games at Molineux, winning three and drawing three.
- They have scored in each of their last 15 Premier League home games, which is their longest top-flight scoring streak at Molineux since a run of 16 between August and March in 1969-70.
- Wolves’ last Christmas Eve fixture at Molineux was a 2-0 win over Aston Villa in 1960.
- The Old Gold have won six successive top-flight home games versus London opposition, scoring nine goals and conceding just one.
- Hwang Hee-chan has scored eight times in 17 Premier League games this term, equalling his league total over his first two seasons at Wolves where he mustered eight goals in 57 appearances.
- Six of Hwang’s eight goals have come at Molineux and only Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, with eight, has scored more Premier League goals at home this season.
- Chelsea have lost three successive Premier League games on the road, their worst top-flight away run since they suffered five consecutive defeats under Claudio Ranieri in 2000.
- They are vying to win back-to-back Premier League matches for only the third time in 2023.
- The Blues are winless in all three of their Christmas Eve away league fixtures, drawing one and losing two.
- Raheem Sterling has been involved in six goals in his last six Premier League games against Wolves, scoring four and assisting two.
Referee: David Coote. Assistants: Tim Wood, Mark Scholes. Fourth official: Tony Harrington. VAR: John Brooks. Assistant VAR: Eddie Smart.
The match has been moved to 1pm on Christmas Eve due to television coverage on Sky.