Chelsea team news: Expected XI vs Wolves as Romelu Lukaku and Mateo Kovacic could start

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Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel will be desperate for his side to return to winning ways against Wolves on home soil this afternoon. The Blues fell to a demoralising defeat at the hands of Everton in their last Premier League outing but will be hoping to claim all three points against Bruno Lage’s side in order to move a step closer to securing a top-four finish and qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

Express Sport takes a look at the Chelsea side that could be tasked with downing Wolves in west London later today.

Goalkeeper – Mendy

Edouard Mendy has firmly established himself as one of the world’s best goalkeepers since joining Chelsea from Rennes in the summer of 2020. He is undoubtedly one of the club’s most influential assets and is almost certain to keep his place between the sticks ahead of Kepa Arrizabalaga for the visit of Wolves.

The Senegal international has kept a total of 21 clean sheets in all competitions for the Blues this season and will be looking to add to his tally with another commanding performance this afternoon. He will be tasked with shutting out the likes of Raul Jimenez and Hwang Hee-chan for the visitors, who were comfortably beaten by Brighton and Hove Albion in their last outing at Molineux.

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Defence – Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger

Cesar Azpilicueta will be expected to start for Chelsea in defence against Wolves later today and could be joined by Thiago Silva and Antonio Rudiger in his side’s back three at Stamford Bridge. The former has also played in a wing-back role at times this season but will likely be deployed in a central role and will be looking to use his experience to keep things tight over the course of the 90 minutes.

Azpilicueta and Silva have already penned new deals to ensure they will be playing for the Blues once again next season, while Antonio Rudiger is set to leave at the end of the current campaign after failing to agree terms with the club over the last few months. However, he will remain a key member of the side until his eventual departure and is likely to reprise his usual role when the action gets underway this afternoon.

Midfield – James, Kovacic, Loftus-Cheek, Alonso

Reece James has played the full 90 minutes in each of Chelsea’s last two Premier League matches and looks set to feature from the word go on the right flank later today. Marcos Alonso could line up on the other side of the pitch in the absence of Ben Chilwell, who remains sidelined with a long-term knee injury.

Meanwhile, it seems as though Mateo Kovacic and Ruben Loftus Cheek will be drafted into the centre of Chelsea’s midfield for the visit of Wolves, with N’Golo Kante and Jorginho both set to be unavailable for selection. Kante did not feature against Everton and is not yet ready to make his return to the side, while Jorginho was forced off with a problem at Goodison Park and remains on the treatment table for now.

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Attack – Ziyech, Mount, Lukaku

Tuchel could decide to bring Romelu Lukaku back into Chelsea’s starting side in an attempt to reignite the Belgian’s form of old with a major opportunity to impress against Wolves. The German manager hinted at Lukaku’s involvement in Friday’s press conference and could opt to drop Kai Havertz to the bench if his team-mate is given the green light to spearhead the Blues’ attacking trident this afternoon.

Chelsea’s lone striker is likely to be supported by Mason Mount and Hakim Ziyech, who impressed as a substitute against Everton and will be hoping to be rewarded with a starting berth at Stamford Bridge. Timo Werner may also feature in some capacity but could be offered a rest in the form of a place on the bench after establishing himself as a first-choice forward over the last few months.

Expected Chelsea XI vs Wolves (3-4-2-1) – Mendy; Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger; James, Kovacic, Loftus-Cheek, Alonso; Ziyech, Mount, Lukaku.

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