Drab 0-0 draw against Wolves opens Tuchel’s reign at the Bridge
By Paul Lagan
Chelsea 0 v Wolves 0
Thomas Tuchel now knows that he has a major job on his hands to propel Chelsea up to Champions League contention as he oversaw a dour 0-0 draw at home against a rigid and defence-minded Wolves tonight.
The German who only had one training session with the squad having taken over from sacked Frank Lampard on Monday looked a frustrated and forlorn bystander as the home side dominated possession, had a couple of half-chances but really couldn’t put the Midlanders to the sword.
Tuchel opted for the safety of experience, but it backfired and now he will be under instant pressure should they fail to dispatch Burnley, also at the Bridge on Sunday.
Timo Werner stayed on the bench for the 90 minutes
Calum Hudson-Odoi produced a great run and byline cross on six minutes, but Olivier Giroud was a tad late and the ball zipped across the goal line and cleared.
Chelsea playing with three at the back with two wing-backs was a departure from former head coach Frank Lampard’s 4:3:3 and the Blues looked assertive in the opening exchanges.
Kai Havertz produced a fine 30 yard run, on 16 minutes, but his shot, with his left boot was weak and Rui Patricio.
Hakim Ziyech tried an edge of area shot. Again, the goalkeeper was on hand to single the effort.
Wolves first chance fell to Neves on 21 minutes, but his free kick, just outside the Chelsea penalty area, went high and wide of Mendy’s goal.
Seven minutes before the break, Ziyech pumped in a deep free-kick from the left. Toni Rudiger’s header at the far post saw Patricio dive to the base of his left upright to grab the goal-bound effort.
Thomas Tuchel did not make a change of personnel at half-time.
But as for the play, it was very much the same as the first - Chelsea dominate in possession but lacking a cutting edge.
Ben Chilwell had a great chance on 60 minutes but flashed his left footer high over Patricio’s crossbar.
Giroud was on the end of a nice piece of play by Hudson-Odoi and Ziyech, but the France striker could not get any power on his shot.
As the pressure built up on Wolves, Tuchel brought on Tammy Abraham, Christin Pulisic and Mason Mount.
Mateo Kovacic curled a beauty of a right-footer inches wide on 80 minutes and that was followed up by a Hudson-Odoi drive five minutes later.
A headed goal-line clearance prevented a late winner was the final action which the visitors will be more than happy with.
Chelsea: Mendy, Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Thiago Silva, Chilwell, Jorginho, Kovacic, Ziyech, Havertz, Hudson-Odoi, Giroud
Subs: Kepa, Alonso, Abraham, Pulisic, Werner, Zouma, Mount, James, Emerson
Wolves: Rui Patricio, Boly, Coady, Kidman, Semedo, Dendoncker, Neves, Ait-Nouri, Podence, Traore, Neto
subs: Hoever, Da Silva, Fabio Silva, Vitinha, Ruddy, Cutrone, Saiss, Mourinho, Otasowie
Referee: Andy Madley