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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Wolves to fail in bid for FA Cup upset hat-trick

Chelsea can book quarter-final spot

Chelsea winger Pedro scored for the Premier League leaders at Burnley last week
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FA Cup fifth round
BT Sport 2, 5.30pm Saturday

Wolves have already landed two giantkilling blows in this season's FA Cup but the hat-trick looks set to prove beyond Wanderers when Chelsea visit Molineux for their fifth-round tie.

A smash-and-grab success at Stoke was followed by a famous 2-1 win over Liverpool and that will give Paul Lambert's squad some kind of belief that the Premier League leaders could be next on the hit list.

However, the trip to Anfield fell perfectly for Wolves, three days before Liverpool played Chelsea in a crunch league game, and Jurgen Klopp fielded a side including Connor Randall, Ovie Ejaria and Ben Woodburn.

Chelsea will make changes - Antonio Conte has already confirmed he will definitely rest David Luiz and Marcos Alonso - and other star names may be left on the bench just in case things get tricky.

Unlike Liverpool though, Chelsea have the depth to rotate and experienced players such as John Terry and Cesc Fabregas could be in for rare starts, while even the younger names in the frame include talents like Nathan Ake, who starred on loan at Bournemouth.

Conte's side are understandably a short price to complete the job at the first time of asking and backing the Blues to win and under 3.5 goals may be the best alternative to simply lumping on the favourites.

Chelsea have won eight away games this season and seven of those finished with no more than three goals. The one exception was a 3-1 win at Manchester City when Eden Hazard scored in the 90th minute.

In five of their last eight away trips Chelsea have scored no more than once and there may be a lack of fluency in the forward line should Hazard and Costa be rested.

However, it is difficult for Chelsea to select a weakened defence with Terry, Kurt Zouma and Ake all desperate for minutes.

Wolves will hope Helder Costa can sprinkle further magic in the FA Cup after starring roles against Stoke and Liverpool, but he can't do it all on his own and there is a lack of forward punch.

Lambert's men have lost three on the spin in the Sky Bet Championship and thir last two home games - against Newcastle and Wigan - finished in 1-0 defeats to see Wanderers slip alarmingly down to 18th in the Championship.

The striking options are not ideal.

Nouha Dicko has not scored outside the EFL Trophy this season, Jon Bodvarsson is a willing runner but last netted in August, and young Bright Enobakhare is still searching for his first league goal.

Lambert's side will look to sit deep, pack the midfield and hope for something from a set-piece or counter-attack. But Chelsea are wise enough to deal with that threat as they aim for a domestic double.

Recommendation
Chelsea to win & under 3.5 goals
1pt 6-5 Betway, BoyleSports, Coral

Bet on this game at Soccerbase.com


Team news
Wolves
Jack Price and Nouha Dicko should return but Joe Mason and Ivan Cavaleiro remain sidelined. Ben Marshall is cup-tied.

Chelsea
Antonio Conte has confirmed he will rest David Luiz and Marcos Alonso but otherwise the Blues have a fully-fit squad.

Key stat
Chelsea's last six away matches have produced only 11 goals

Unlike Liverpool, Chelsea have the depth to rotate and experienced players such as John Terry and Cesc Fabregas could be in for rare starts
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