Thomas Tuchel gets a point against Wolves in his first game in charge

Welcome to Tuchelsea which, the west London side hope, will be a happy place as they attempt to recalibrate their season to the exacting demands of owner Roman Abramovich.

The first game under new head coach Thomas Tuchel nevertheless ended in a frustrating, goalless draw against Wolves despite Chelsea dominating possession, setting a remarkable total of 822 completed passes and operating under a new system with some team selections – players in, players out – that looked like a statement was being made.

In saying that the best chance fell to Wolves with Pedro Neto scooping the ball onto the top of the cross-bar with only goalkeeper Edouard Mendy to beat. Despite Tuchel reacting on the touchline with anguish at missed opportunities there were not, in truth, that many of them.

There could, though, have been an extraordinary story as Kai Havertz met a corner deep into injury-time and guided a header goalwards. Maybe it would have beaten Rui Patricio but, instead, it struck substitute Joao Moutinho and went out of play. Tuchel again jumped in frustration while Havertz buried his head in his hands.

It has been quite a week for Chelsea and Tuchel did not just fly in on Tuesday to take his first training session, precisely 24 hours before this game kicked off, but he used it to shake up the team and change the formation. It was certainly a bold start and no-one could accuse Tuchel of not being positive as he threw on more attacking players, and in trying to win the match he risked losing it.

Dropping Mason Mount was a mistake, though. Not just because he has been Chelsea’s best player this season – and proved it when he came on to add energy and impetus, as did Christian Pulisic – but also because it sent out the wrong message with the 22-year-old already abused for being a ‘Frank Lampard favourite’ and, inadvertently or otherwise, looking like he was carrying the can.

OInstead Tuchel invested in Havertz. It was a bit of Antonio Conte – with a back-three – a bit of Maurizio Sarri with those passing stats and a bit of Lampard, of course, but it was also a lot about trying to get the best out of Havertz who has struggled since his big-money move from Bayer Leverkusen and was an Abramovich signing. He was made central.

Still Chelsea did not win, they did not even score and the brutal truth is they have now only claimed two victories in their past nine Premier League games and the new manager bounce was not great enough to see them over the line in this one even if facing a Wolves side having their own problems and determined not to lose was far from an ideal start.

Maybe it was expecting too much, after that one training session, for it all to immediately click but much now rests on Havertz who was handed the number 10 role, which has not been filled since Eden Hazard’s departure, with Jorginho, who Tuchel wanted to sign at Paris Saint-Germain, restored and Olivier Giroud in attack.

The three-man defence, with a combined age of 94, had Tuchel’s old captain Thiago Silva at its centre while Callum Hudson-Odoi excelled at right wing-back and provided most of the Chelsea threat, starting promisingly with a low cross which Giroud should have converted.

Maybe that would have made it a different game. Instead this was Conor Coady’s domain as the Wolves captain organised his defence, barked out orders and regularly passed comment on referee Andy Madeley. 

“Hold, hold,” was a constant refrain from Coady and Wolves listened as they proved incredibly difficult to break down with Chelsea claiming 79 per cent possession but, probably, not doing enough to win.

The best chance of the half fell to Antonio Rudiger – another player Tuchel wanted to buy – but while his downward header was powerful it was easily held by Patricio. Apart from that there was an awful lot of possession but not a great deal of incision.

In the Shed End the banner still hung, for one last time, reading “In Frank We Trust. Then. Now. Forever” while there had been a murmur of discontent with another draped outside on the Bovril Gate which read “Circus Continues” but improved result and performances will change that and no Chelsea fan can – truly – be surprised at Lampard’s sacking.

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