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Having struggled to get regular points on the board of late, Thomas Tuchel‘s job of instigating a turnaround has been made considerably tougher with several of his attackers testing positive for coronavirus.
Their absence was felt on Thursday as the Blues were held to a 1-1 draw by a decimated Everton side, leaving Tuchel’s side four points adrift of leaders Manchester City.
With the Premier League yet to reach the halfway stage, Tuchel will not panic just yet, but the German is aware that failure to beat Wolves could leave them as clear outsiders in the title race.
Chelsea have gone six matches in all competitions without keeping a clean sheet, conceding 11 goals in the process, while only Mason Mount is showing any consistency in the final third.
The England playmaker has contributed four goals and two assists during his last four outings in the top flight, and the West Londoners will require more magic from the academy graduate against a well-oiled Wolves team.
Wolves are expected to be without Rayan Ait-Nouri and Hwang Hee-chan after the duo sustained injuries at Brighton.
Jimenez is likely to replace Hwang, with Francisco Trincao dropping to the substitutes’ bench, while Marcal should remain at left wing-back after coming through unscathed on his first start since October 16.
The reminder of the team should stay the same with Joao Moutinho getting the nod over Leander Dendoncker.
Callum Hudson-Odoi, Timo Werner, Romelu Lukaku will all miss this fixture due to coronavirus, while Tuchel said that Kai Havertz was feeling ill on Thursday.
However, Tuchel can freshen up his side by handing recalls to Trevoh Chalobah and N’Golo Kante, who could replace Cesar Azpilicueta and Ruben Loftus-Cheek respectively.
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Andreas Christensen may also get the nod over Thiago Silva, depending on whether Tuchel wishes to manage the Brazilian’s minutes over Christmas.
Wolverhampton Wanderers possible starting lineup:
Sa; Kilman, Coady, Saiss; Semedo, Neves, Moutinho, Marcal; Traore, Jimenez, Podence
Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Mendy; Chalobah, Silva, Rudiger; James, Kante, Jorginho, Alonso; Mount, Ziyech; Pulisic