The Thomas Tuchel era at Stamford Bridge got underway with a frustrating 0-0 stalemate against a determined Wolves side.
Tuchel was only appointed as the latest Chelsea manager under Roman Abramovic on Tuesday, though the German’s first-team selection had some eye-catching decisions. Previously outcast defender Antonio Rudiger was restored to the lineup alongside Thiago Silva, while Mason Mount and Timo Werner had to settle for a place on the bench as the new boss picked Olivier Giroud, Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz as his main attackers.
The Blues enjoyed prolonged spells of domination throughout the first half, though in truth rarely tested Rui Patricio, with the Wolves backline doing a solid job of repelling Chelsea’s attacks.
Tuchel’s new side looked to pose a greater threat after the break as Chelsea started to get in behind the Wolves defence, Ben Chilwell guilty of blazing over on the hour mark after a cut back from Havertz.
Pedro Neto spurned the chance to give Wolves a lead against the run of play, scooping his effort up and over Edouard Mendy but out of play off-the-top of the bar following a rare foray forward.
In the last 10 minutes, Matteo Kovacic fired an effort inches wide from just outside the box, Hudson-Odoi saw a deflected effort saved by Patricio while Havertz saw his effort blocked by new signing, Willian Jose as they failed to break down Nuno Espirito Santo’s side.
Speaking after the game, however, the new man in charge in west London was pleased with what he saw from his side, despite having to settle for a point.
820 – Chelsea completed 820 passes and recorded 78.9% possession against Wolves – since the start of 2003-04, these are both the highest totals by a team in their manager’s first Premier League game in charge. Stamp. #CHEWOL pic.twitter.com/oTLXi1071o
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 27, 2021
“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,” he told Match of the Day.
“We stepped up minute after minute in the second half. I was very happy performance-wise, unfortunately, we couldn’t score, if we take care of our performance like this, the results will come.
“It reminded me a bit of our games in Dortmund, we had a very good training session yesterday, 21 guys who were totally awake, to try to do what we are doing – tactically, structure, where to accelerate the game, how to defend – I didn’t expect it to be on this level from one training and two meetings. It gives me a good feeling for the future.
“It was today totally unfair because I had no explanation for anybody on the side why they didn’t play. Every day will help.”
Asked about the performance of Callum Hudson-Odoi, Tuchel was impressed with the three-cap England international: “Dribbling, runs, one on ones, intensity – defensively he had to help in a back five, we didn’t want to suffer too much in their ball in possession. Callum was the key on the side with his speed and confidence.”
Next up for Chelsea is a home game against Burnley, before a high-profile London derby against Tottenham Hotspur, the result leaving the Blues eighth in the Premier League, five points behind fourth-placed West Ham.