Tuchel’s Chelsea Reign Starts With Dull Wolves Stalemate

Chelsea
Soccer Football – Premier League – Chelsea v Wolverhampton Wanderers – Stamford Bridge, London, Britain – January 27, 2021 Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel with Jorginho after the match Pool via REUTERS/Neil Hall

LONDON — Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel was left with much to ponder as his first match in charge ended in a dreary 0-0 home draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League on Wednesday.

A day after replacing the club’s record scorer Frank Lampard in the Stamford Bridge hot seat, Tuchel watched his side dominate possession but offer little goal threat until the later stages.

Chelsea strung together almost 900 passes against a defensive Wolves but the vast majority of them were risk-free and easy meat for the visitors’ well-drilled rearguard.

An entirely forgettable first half at a sodden Stamford Bridge was followed by a livelier second period with Chelsea close to giving Tuchel a winning start on a few occasions.

Ben Chilwell blasted a great chance over the bar and Callum Hudson-Odoi, a surprise starter, had a deflected shot saved.

It was actually Wolves who went closest in a rare attack when Pedro Neto scooped a lob onto the roof of the net.

Chelsea’s poor run of form, which cost club great Lampard his job on Monday, continues and they have now managed to win only twice in their last nine league games.

Soccer Football – Premier League – Chelsea v Wolverhampton Wanderers – Stamford Bridge, London, Britain – January 27, 2021 Chelsea’s Ben Chilwell in action with Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Adama Traore Pool via REUTERS/Neil Hall

Former Borussia Dortmund and Paris St Germain coach Tuchel sent on Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic and Tammy Abraham late on and they livened things up but Wolves held firm.

It was not the start the 47-year-old would have liked but after what he described as a “surreal” week he found plenty of positives from his side’s performance.

“I enjoyed it a lot because I was very happy with the intensity, the attitude, energy and quality of my team, we were well organised, had a lot of ball recoveries in the last third, never lacked intensity,” Tuchel, whose side move up a place into eighth spot, said.

“Unfortunately we couldn’t score, but if we take care of our performance like this the results will come.”

Tuchel, twice a French league winner with PSG, rung the changes for his first selection, dropping Lampard favourites Mount, Reece James and Abraham, and opting for experience with Olivier Giroud, Jorginho and Cesar Azpilicueta all starting.

There was lots of harmless passing in the first half but apart from an Antonio Rudiger header saved by Rui Patricio there was little to get excited about.

Tuchel took every opportunity to offer instructions and clearly called for more daring after the break.

Soccer Football – Premier League – Chelsea v Wolverhampton Wanderers – Stamford Bridge, London, Britain – January 27, 2021 Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel with Thiago Silva after the match Pool via REUTERS/Richard Heathcote

But it took Chelsea a long time to start to threaten, with Hudson-Odoi, one of the real bright spots, their most likely creator in a wide-right role.

Mateo Kovacic thought he had scored with a terrific curling effort, shortly after the disappointing Kai Havertz had set up Chilwell who lifted his shot over the bar.

Surprisingly Tuchel waited until the 75th minute to make a change with Pulisic replacing Chilwell and Giroud making way for Abraham. But it was the introduction of 20-year-old England midfielder Mount, a regular starter under Lampard, that offered Chelsea more invention.

Mount looked impressive and one silky turn almost resulted in a chance but his cut back found no one in a blue shirt.

Wolves showed little of the flair they have been associated with since returning to the top flight but Neto nearly stunned the hosts midway though the second half when he was played in by Daniel Podence and his audacious scooped lob dropped just over.

Wolves’ winless run now extends to seven matches and they are in 13th spot but a first top-flight clean sheet since Oct. 30 was welcome for manager Nuno Espirito Santo.

Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis and Ed Osmond; Reuters

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