Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea reign got off to a frustrating start as Wolves secured a point in a drab stalemate at Stamford Bridge.
Tuchel, appointed boss on Tuesday following the sacking of Frank Lampard, took his place in the dugout after conducting one training session with his new team.
But the German was given an indication of the huge challenge facing him as his new team struggled to carve out chances against a Wolves side short of confidence and without a top-flight win since 15 December.
Rui Patricio produced good saves to keep out Antonio Rudiger’s header and Callum Hudson-Odoi’s deflected attempt, while Chelsea’s 433 successful passes were the most by a Tuchel team in the first half of a top-flight game since May 2016.
Ben Chilwell sent a rare chance over the bar but Wolves, who hit the bar through Pedro Neto and gave a debut to striker Willian Jose, were good value for their point.
New arrival Tuchel an animated presence
When Lampard took charge of his first league match at Stamford Bridge in August 2019 – a 1-1 draw with Leicester – fans unfurled a ‘Welcome Home Super Frank’ banner.
With no supporters allowed inside the ground because of the coronavirus pandemic, there was no such fanfare for Tuchel, who went straight to his seat in the dugout when he appeared from the tunnel dressed in a blue club coat.
Reminders of the previous regime were evident inside Stamford Bridge.
A ‘Super Frankie Lampard’ banner remained on display but the arrival of a new boss inevitably heralded change and England trio Mason Mount, Reece James and Tammy Abraham, who had made 39 Premier League starts between them under Lampard this season, started on the bench.
Tuchel was animated throughout, the German at one stage throwing his arms in the air after Hudson-Odoi clipped a cross to the back post only for Chilwell to put it wide.
He repeated the gesture in the second half when Chilwell fired another chance over the bar and Mateo Kovacic went close from long distance.
Former Borussia Dortmund and Paris St-Germain boss Tuchel will demand more urgency from his players, who were pedestrian for spells.
Having conceded 77 goals in 57 Premier League games under Lampard, Chelsea will take some comfort in a clean sheet.
But Tuchel knows he has to get expensive signings like Timo Werner and Kai Havertz firing – and Chelsea winning.
A move in the right direction
Wolves are without a Premier League win in seven games but they dug deep to take a valuable point back to the Black Country.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side have endured a torrid time since beating Chelsea, thanks to Neto’s 90th-minute winner, at Molineux on 15 December.
They arrived in London having picked up just two points from a possible 18.
Yet they stifled Chelsea for spells on their way to a first top-flight clean sheet since 30 October.
Wolves have struggled since losing Raul Jimenez to serious injury but Nuno will hope the arrival of new loan signing Jose, who has scored 62 goals in 170 appearances for Real Sociedad – as well as the return of Daniel Podence from injury – will push his team on after an awkward spell of results.
They went close to securing all three points when Neto lifted the ball beyond Edouard Mendy, the Portugal winger’s attempt landing on top of the bar.
First since Benitez – the best of the stats
- Thomas Tuchel is the first Chelsea manager since Rafael Benitez in November 2012 to draw his first game in charge of the club, which was also a 0-0 at Stamford Bridge (v Manchester City).
- Tuchel has seen his team keep a clean sheet in each of their past four league games (three for Paris St-Germain and one for Chelsea), going 415 minutes of play in total since last seeing a side of his concede (versus Lyon on 13 December).
- Wolves are unbeaten against Chelsea home and away for the second time in the past three Premier League seasons.
- Chelsea had 78.9% possession and completed 820 passes 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.
- Chelsea defender Thiago Silva has made 25 home league appearances under Thomas Tuchel (between PSG and Chelsea), and is yet to finish on the losing side (W22 D3).
Chelsea host Burnley in the Premier League on Sunday (12:00 GMT), while Wolves return to London on Saturday to face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park (15:00).