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Everton boss Frank Lampard must have gone to bed dreaming about the prospect of a priceless victory against the club that he gave so much for as a player but flattered to deceive for in the dugout, and his Stamford Bridge replacement Thomas Tuchel could only cut a frustrated figure on the sidelines at Goodison Park.

Richarlison‘s effort while fans were still taking their seats following the half-time interval proved decisive, but spare a round of applause for the imperious Jordan Pickford, who put his body and face on the line while producing one of the saves of the season from Cesar Azpilicueta to preserve the Toffees’ advantage.

Third place is still in Chelsea’s hands heading into the final straight, but having now won just one of their last four in the Premier League, the gap to capital counterparts Arsenal – a team on the upwards trajectory – has now been cut down to just three points, and it is unthinkable to imagine the Blues failing to achieve their customary top-four finish after flirting with a title challenge earlier in the campaign.

Some of the Blues faithful may already have their eye on FA Cup glory after being pipped to the post in the 2020 and 2021 finals, but taking 12 points from 12 against Wolves, Leeds United, Leicester City and Watford is imperative for a side whose future has been plunged into fresh doubt amid reports of Roman Abramovich changing his stance over unpaid loans.

While such off-field distractions are sure to enter the minds of the players and coaching staff at some point, Tuchel must seek to steer Chelsea to just a ninth home win in the 2021-22 Premier League season, but not since September have they failed to score at Stamford Bridge in the top flight.

While Mateo Kovacic‘s legs were able to handle 45 minutes at Goodison Park, the Croatian came on to replace Jorginho, with Tuchel admitting that he “had to take” the midfielder off in the loss to Everton.

Jorginho has now been ruled out of this clash alongside N’Golo Kante, while Andreas Christensen and Ross Barkley ought to be back from respective illnesses.

Ben Chilwell and Callum Hudson-Odoi continue their spells out of action for the Blues, and Tuchel is sure to consider freshening up the attack with either Christian Pulisic or Hakim Ziyech after last weekend’s profligacy.

As for Wolves, Lage has been dealt a killer blow with the news that right-back Nelson Semedo will miss the rest of the season with the thigh injury that he picked up in the early stages of the second half against Brighton.

Daniel Podence and Maximilian Kilman are keeping Semedo company in the medical bay, with the latter also out for the remainder of the campaign, but Ruben Neves‘s half-time withdrawal last time out was pre-planned after his recent layoff.

Fabio Silva‘s half-time change last time out was a tactical one, though, and the youngster will certainly expect to make way for Raul Jimenez this week, while there could also be a spot in the first XI for Pedro Neto.

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Furthermore, Lage will also not be on the touchline for Wolves this weekend after returning a positive COVID-19 test.

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Mendy; Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger; James, Kovacic, Loftus-Cheek, Alonso; Mount, Pulisic; Havertz

Wolverhampton Wanderers possible starting lineup:
Sa; Boly, Coady, Saiss; Jonny, Neves, Moutinho, Ait-Nouri; Hwang, Jimenez, Neto

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