Wolves v Chelsea Betting Tip
February 16, 2017
In many ways, this season is the FA Cup’s return to its best. The magic, in terms of upsets, is well and truly alive. Some cynics say it is because the bigger teams are resting their best players. But such an opinion does a team like Wolves a real disservice, after their victory over Liverpool at Anfield in the last round means they must be taken seriously by Chelsea at Molineux this weekend.
Antonio Conte’s men are comfortably the best team in the country this season, leading the Premier League by eight points. Wolves are struggling in the Championship, losing back to back home games to Newcastle United and Wigan Athletic this week. But this game brings welcome relief and you can bet Paul Lambert will be as prepared tactically as he was against Liverpool and the players will be equally hungry to win.
On that occasion, they won 2-1 after steamrolling into a two-goal lead. The most impressive aspect of their victory was that it didn’t rely on luck or a smash an grab approach. Instead, Lambert analysed Liverpool excellently and exposed their weaknesses in defence, pressing high up the pitch and playing with intensity, a usual hallmark of a JurgenKloppside which was missing that day.
Lambert will most likely attempt to start as fast in this game, too. They are coming up against a different animal, though, because Chelsea are a much more balanced side than Liverpool were. They will likely be much more organised, but if Wolves can go from the off, they may well get some success. Chelsea are at their strongest in front of the back four, where N’GoloKante and NemanjaMatic protect the defence and the space covered was exactly where Wolves hit Liverpool the hardest, with playmaker Helder Costa able to penetrate the backline with ease, particularly first half.
Costa has been a revelation for Wolves this season, but his role will have to change slightly in this game. He usually starts out wide and drifts around, but he would be better suited to stretching the pitch in a bid to pull the Blues out of their compact shape. Picking up pockets of space between the wing back and third central defender of Chelsea will allow Wolves to get up the pitch, which they may be able to do because Chelsea do not suffocate teams, and give the home side a foothold in the game early on.
But committing too much will play right into Chelsea’s hands. Conte’s 3-4-3 formation means his side are the best counter attacking team around, because not only do Eden Hazard and Willian cut inside and double up on the holding midfielder, but Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso provide an outlet. This system means the Blues always have a man over.
Like every FA Cup tie, this game depends on the Premier League side’s attitude. Players will be rested, but such is Chelsea’s strength in depth, they should have enough to get past a very motivated and capable Wolves side.