Tuchel held in a goalless draw as Chelsea are left frustrated against Wolves.
Following a dramatic 48 hours, Thomas Tuchel took charge of Chelsea for the first time on Wednesday evening, as The Blues took on Wolverhampton Wanderers at Stamford Bridge.
The German inherited a Chelsea side that is currently sat 10th in Premier League, as they looked to bounce back to form against a side that has failed to pick up a clean sheet in their last 12 Premier League matches.
The reverse fixture in December saw Wolves take all 3 points as they beat Chelsea 2-1 at Molineux, this marked the beginning of the end of Lampard’s reign at Chelsea who went on to lose 4 of their next 6 Premier League matches.
The visitors arrived at Stamford Bridge making 3 changes to their starting 11, with Nuno Espírito Santo’s side looking to cause an upset to Tuchel’s first game in charge.
Although it seemed that Chelsea was set to start in their usual 4-3-3 system, it was clear that Tuchel was set to change things by adopting a 3-man defence, with Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ben Chilwell playing as wingbacks.
Things started positively for the home side, who nearly took the lead in the first 5 minutes through Olivier Giroud – who struggled to get on the end of a brilliant cross from Hudson-Odoi.
The Blues endured a strong opening start to the game as they were in full control of possession, with their opponents sitting back and looking for the counterattack.
Kai Havertz showed positive signs with a driving run 15 minutes into the game. The move started with Jorginho, who won the ball back for Chelsea in the middle of the pitch. The Italian worked in on to the Havertz, who burst forward at pace – only for the attack to be closed down by Willy Boly, as the German moved in towards the penalty area.
The club’s record signing will be looking to impress new boss Tuchel, having scored just 1 Premier League following his arrival from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer.
Despite Chelsea being the side who looked more in control, Wolves found themselves with a set piece in a good position. The free kick was taken by Rúben Neves, with the Portuguese international struggling to keep his effort down.
On the 38th minute, Chelsea found themselves with a free kick on the left-hand side of the pitch, as Wolves defender Nélson Semedo fouled Ben Chilwell in a dangerous position. The free kick was taken by Hakim Ziyech, with the cross-finding Antonio Rüdiger who saw his effort saved by Patrício.
Just minutes later, Wolves found themselves with a chance at the other end. Neto’s cross found Belgian Leander Dendoncker, who struggled to divert his header on target.
Even though it was Chelsea who looked the more likely of the teams to score, there were encouraging signs from Wolves, who looked dangerous on the break.
Wolves begun the second half making an immediate change, as Rayan Aït-Nouri was replaced by former Liverpool youngster Ki-Jana Hoever.
For Chelsea, the second half started in the same fashion as the first, as Callum Hudson-Odoi broke free down the right-hand side, delivering a great cross into the Wolves penalty area. The cross from the 20-year-old was dangerous, but once again there wasn’t anybody there for Chelsea to convert the opener.
5 minutes into the first half, referee Andy Madley was forced to dish out the first card of the game as Pedro Neto shoved Jorginho to the ground following a foul from the Italian. Despite Neto winning his side a free kick, the Portuguese attacker lost his cool and earned the yellow card he received.
The opening to the second half was cagey, with Chelsea eventually finding their groove as the game reached the hour mark.
Croatian international Mateo Kovačić found Kai Havertz in what was a well worked Chelsea move, the German then set the shot up for Blues defender Ben Chilwell, who struggled to keep his shot down in what was one of the best moves of the game.
However, Tuchel’s Chelsea continued to hunt for their first 3 points under the new boss, with a chance this time falling for Olivier Giroud.
The Frenchman received the ball from Hakim Ziyech, and although Giroud showed great control – his effort was poor on his weaker foot.
On the 70th minute, the best chance of the game came and fell for Pedro Neto as Wolves should have drawn first blood.
The attack started through a poor pass from Mendy, which was intercepted and allowed for Wolves to break from their own half. With Chelsea outnumbered at the back, the ball was passed on to Neto, who lofted the ball over the Senegalese goalkeeper – with the attempt rebounding off the frame of the goal.
A scare for Tuchel then saw him make his first changes of the game on the 76th minute, as Christian Pulisic and Tammy Abraham was brought on in replacement of Ben Chilwell and Olivier Giroud.
Just minutes later, Chelsea nearly found their desired opener through Mateo Kovačić, who saw his long-range effort just shave the side netting.
As the second half unfolded, Chelsea created even more chances and came close through Hudson-Odoi, who saw his deflected effort saved by the brilliant Rui Patrício.
Although time was nearly up, Chelsea had one last corner in the dying seconds of stoppage time, with Mason Mount stepping up to supply the delivery.
The cross from Mount found Kai Havertz who diverted his header towards goal. The German’s header looked as if it was going to find the back of the net – but for the clearance of Willian José – who secured Wolves a valuable point at Stamford Bridge.
After the whistle:
For Wolves it was a well-deserved point, with Patrício earning his first clean sheet in the Premier League since October 30th 2020. Nuno’s side will look to take today’s momentum into Saturday’s clash, as they travel back to London to take on Crystal Palace.
It may not have been the perfect first game that Tuchel and Chelsea would have hoped for, but there was plenty of promising signs, with Kai Havertz having one of his best performances in a blue shirt.
Next up for The Blues is Burnley on Sunday afternoon, as they look to get their first win under Tuchel’s reign.
Chelsea 0-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Man of the match:
Rui Patrício (Wolverhampton Wanderers).
Chelsea: Mendy; Azpilicueta ©, Rüdiger, Silva; Hudson-Odoi, Jorghino, Kovačić, Chilwell (76’); Havertz, Ziyech (82’), Giroud (77’).
- Subs: Pulisic (76’), Abraham (77’), Mount (82’)
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Patrício; Boly, Coady ©, Kilman; Semedo, Neves, Dendoncker, Aït-Nouri (45’); Podence (72’), Traoré (90’), Neto.
- Subs: Hoever (45’), Da Silva (72’), Moutinho (90’)
Chelsea (79%) vs Wolverhampton Wanderers (21%)
Chelsea (14) vs Wolverhampton Wanderers (4)
Shots on target:
Chelsea (5) vs Wolverhampton Wanderers (0)
Chelsea (13) vs Wolverhampton Wanderers (1)
Chelsea (14) vs Wolverhampton Wanderers (7)
- (statistics via BBC Sport)
(video via Sky Sports Football)