After forcing the fate of Fulham last weekend, Chelsea continues their campaign in the Premier League against another promoted side, Wolverhampton Wanderers on Wednesday evening.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s side started life back in the division with a drive and sparkle, yet without a win in six, they sit uncomfortably entering this clash.

The sides faced only last year in the FA Cup, with Chelsea conquering 2-0 at Molineux, whilst the last league meeting between the two sides came in 2012. Frank Lampard scored in the 89th minute to narrowly nick a 2-1 victory.

It is common knowledge that Lampard is a living Chelsea legend, however even he had to leave Stamford Bridge eventually. We have looked at three other players who switched allegiances, this time between the Blues and Wolves.

Michael Mancienne (Chelsea 2006-2011, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2008-2011)

A dream came true when London-born Michael Mancienne was signed for Chelsea at the tender age of nine.

Whilst representing the under-18s and the reserve team, he put pen to paper on a professional deal in 2005, the same year that Jose Mourinho made him a senior squad player.

Despite being handed a long-term deal in 2007, Mancienne could not make his way into the starting line-up and had to settle for a series of loan moves. Those began with fellow capital city club Queens Park Rangers, where he made over 50 appearances for the Super Hoops.

Without a breakthrough into the first team, it was time for a second spell away from the Bridge. Wolves welcomed him for the 2008/09 season, as they challenged for promotion from the Championship. An administrative mistake made Mancienne’s stay shorter than expected, returning to Chelsea once more.

Three years since signing professionally, Chelsea finally handed their young prodigy a first-team debut during an FA Cup tie versus Watford in February 2009. Within two weeks, Mancienne had made his Champions League and Premier League debut in a whirlwind fortnight. He came off the bench as Juventus succumbed to defeat in Europe and Mancienne also tasted victory over Wigan Athletic in the league.

He was voted the club’s Young Player of the Year at the end of the 2008/09 season. It was not enough, however, to harden his stay and it was back up the motorway to the West Midlands.

Wolves had waded back into the Premier League after a five-year absence, as Mancienne appeared 33 times during the 2009/10 campaign across all competitions. His fortunes mirrored onto the club, as they survived their first season back in the top division. So much so, Mancienne returned to Molineux the following year in another relegation revival.

A further 16 outings, shortened by a patella tendon injury, later left a warm Wolverhampton reception for Mancienne as his time at the club came to an end. His time at Chelsea concluded as well, leaving for German side Hamburg SV in 2011, before a return to England with Nottingham Forest.

Mancienne now resides in the United States of America, currently playing for the New England Revolution in Major League Soccer.

George Saville (Chelsea 2004-2014, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2014-17)

Another youth prodigy who never quite kick-started his Chelsea career is midfielder George Saville, who was signed as an 11-year-old at the time when current Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers was recruited to oversee youth development.

Starting out as a left-back, he swiftly switched to a role as a defensive-midfielder whilst working his way through the Chelsea ranks. Those in power liked what they saw and offered Saville a professional contract in 2010. In that same year, he was part of the Chelsea youth side that claimed their third FA Youth Cup title.

Saville struck gold, as the Northern-Irish international won the 2010/11 Premier Reserve League with the Blues, leaving Blackburn Rovers as the victims of a play-off defeat.

Moving through to the under-21s, he continued to impress and finally found his way on to the first-team bench in 2012. Two unused substitute stints in the League Cup later, followed by zero minutes in the Club World Cup, his stay at Stamford Bridge was up.

Saville’s senior debut was saved for Championship side Millwall, as part of a loan deal in 2013. His two appearances acted as a stepping stone for a second loan move, leaping into Sky Bet League One with Brentford. A first senior goal was accompanied by appearing 40 times for the Bees and buzzing them back to the Championship.

In 2014, Saville wound up at Wolves, after departing from Chelsea without a senior appearance to his name. It was a sweet reunion, as then-Old Gold manager Kenny Jackett handed Saville his senior debut whilst at Millwall.

Unfortunately, the fit wasn’t for everyone and another two loan moves loomed. First, a 93 day stay at Bristol City in 2015. Scoring once in eight matches for the Robins, he went back to Molineux for a couple of League Cup appearances, making his way back to Millwall for a matter of months, before returning to his parent club.

As another season came around, Saville saw a steady involvement at Wolves under Paul Lambert, ending the 2016/17 with 29 appearances and five goals. Something about the Lions made Saville roar back to the club, as he once again joined Millwall before residing with Middlesbrough, his current club.

Despite being born in England, his international allegiance lies with Northern-Ireland due to his Grandmother. Saville was called up to the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, being capped nine times since.

Carlton Cole (Chelsea 2001-2006, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2002-2003)

Perhaps best known for hammering them home at West Ham United, Carlton Cole, in fact, began life at Chelsea.

London’s luck, as the Croydon-born Cole signed his first contract with Chelsea in 2000. A year-and-a-half down the line and he was given a maiden first-team call-up, coming on for Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink in a 3-0 victory against Everton.

Things were looking up for the giant striker, scoring on his debut start against Middlesbrough before appearing once more as the season came to its conclusion.

Cole continued where he left in in the 2002/03 campaign, scoring and assisting on the opening day against Charlton Athletic as a substitute. Chelsea’s production line of legendary strikers is lengthy; Cole was limited in first-team action. Behind the likes of Hasselbaink, Gianfranco Zola and Eidur Gudjohnson, accompanied with a hairline fracture, he featured a mere 13 times.

Here began his brief tenure stay at Molineux, making a short two-month loan stay at Molineux. Cole only had room for seven appearances and one goal before he returned to Stamford Bridge for the remainder of the season.

A shiny six-year contract came Cole’s way in 2003, but yet again, he faced fierce competition in the striker department and joined Charlton for the campaign. Another year, another loan, as Aston Villa got hold of his signature for the 2004/05 campaign. Despite scoring on a debut once again, Cole could only notch three goals as his stay at The Valley was spoiled by a knee injury.

Back at the Bridge and ready to revitalise his career, Cole quickly ended at the back of the pecking order. With a certain Didier Drogba in presence, plus having the luxury of Hernan Crespo, he scored just once in 12 outings. Chelsea went on to retain the Premier League title, yet Cole was not recalled and joined the Hammers in 2006. Here he had the height of his playing career and became a fan favourite.

Now retired, Cole may reminisce about what could have been as a Blue, had it not been for injury and the prowess of the fellow goal scorers amongst their ranks.

By Nathaniel Kay

 

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