Thomas Tuchel’s first Chelsea game: Callum Hudson-Odoi shines in new role, but penetration lacking

Experience favoured over youth

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Chelsea’s draw with Wolves

Chelsea’s academy graduates featured prominently all through Frank Lampard’s tenure but the one consultant in Tuchel’s first line-up was Callum Hudson-Odoi. Tammy Abraham, Reece James and, maybe most surprisingly, Mason Mount had been all benched.

Instead, Tuchel went in the opposite path. “The expectations are high, the pressure and tension are high, so we went for a bit of experience,” he defined forward of kick-off at Stamford Bridge.

Thiago Silva was joined on the again by Cesar Azpilicueta and Antonio Rudiger, a defensive trio with a mixed age of 94, whereas the 29-year-old Jorginho partnered Mateo Kovacic on the base of midfield and Olivier Giroud, 34, led the road up entrance.

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Hudson-Odoi, Kai Havertz and Ben Chilwell ensured there was at the very least some youthful verve in the aspect but the opposite eight starters had a mean age of near 30 as Tuchel erred on the aspect of warning.

He known as it the “most unfair line-up” he had ever chosen having solely had one coaching session with the gamers since his appointment on Tuesday but the strategy was maybe comprehensible given Chelsea’s poor type and his restricted preparation time.

Abraham and Mount did at the very least make it off the bench in the closing levels with the latter in specific catching eye. He and the remainder of Chelsea’s younger academy graduates will hope for higher involvement when Tuchel’s aspect face Burnley on Sunday.

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Thiago Silva and Pedro Neto compete for possession (AP)

Tuchel modified system in addition to personnel.

Chelsea usually performed in a 4-3-3 formation below Lampard but there was a right away overhaul from his successor, with Silva, Azpilicueta and Rudiger deployed in a again three.

Whether it’s a blueprint he’ll persist with or merely a short lived measure to match Wolves’ form stays to be seen but it was solely the second time this season that Chelsea have used a again three in the Premier League following the goalless draw with Manchester United in October.

The end result was the identical on Wednesday evening as they struggled to transform their possession into probabilities but Tuchel will at the very least be inspired by components of their defensive show. Chelsea had conceded 9 objectives in their final 5 Premier League video games so the clear sheet was a welcome one.

Wolves did create openings, one of the best of which noticed Pedro Neto ship a looping effort onto the highest of the crossbar in the second half, but Chelsea restricted their opponents to solely 4 pictures – their joint-lowest complete of the season – and none of them discovered the goal.

The query for Tuchel to ponder now’s whether or not the additional defensive solidity got here at the price of attacking risk.

Possession with out penetration

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Cesar Azpilicueta in motion for Chelsea in opposition to Wolves

“I hope we will attack and play brave football,” mentioned Tuchel when requested in regards to the enjoying fashion he intends to convey to Chelsea forward of kick-off on Wednesday evening. On the proof of his first sport in cost, nonetheless, it would take a while for it to return to fruition.

Chelsea fully dominated the ball, recording a 78.9 per cent share of possession – the best by any Premier League workforce in any sport this season – and finishing 887 passes – second solely to Manchester City’s complete in their 5-0 thrashing of West Brom on Tuesday.

But in contrast to City on the Hawthorns, Chelsea provided little in the best way of penetration. In reality the largely sterile efficiency was harking back to Maurizio Sarri’s time in cost at Stamford Bridge – a interval few followers keep in mind fondly.

Chelsea’s solely significant likelihood of the first half got here in the first couple of minutes, when Giroud failed to attach with Hudson-Odoi’s low ball throughout the six-yard field, and there was solely modest enchancment after the break.

Chilwell spurned their greatest alternative, blazing wildly over from a Havertz cut-back, whereas Kovacic despatched a long-range effort inches broad of the submit and Hudson-Odoi compelled a uncommon save from Rui Patricio. Ultimately, although, Chelsea did not do sufficient to win the sport.

Hudson-Odoi the wing-back

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Rayan Ait-Nouri controls the ball forward of Callum Hudson-Odoi

Hudson-Odoi solely performed 414 Premier League minutes below Lampard in the first half of the season but right here he was in Tuchel’s first beginning line-up – and in a new place too. The 20-year-old was deployed at proper wing-back and took to the position like a pure.

It was clear from as early because the opening couple of minutes, when he accelerated away from Rayan Ait-Nouri and flashed a depraved cross into the Wolves field, that he had been instructed to bomb ahead at each alternative and he continued to take action all through the sport.

There had been loads of eye-catching moments from the teenager, his runs in behind the Wolves defence making him Chelsea’s most harmful participant. He was even entrusted with taking set items too.

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Callum Hudson-Odoi impressed as a wing-back in opposition to Wolves

By the tip of the sport he had made 11 crosses and whereas not all of them discovered their meant goal, he was mostly let down by the motion of his team-mates, who did not capitalise on his service, moderately than his personal supply.

Hudson-Odoi was caught out of place on a few events, a reminder that the position will take some getting used to for somebody who usually operates as a winger, but no Chelsea participant made extra tackles and there was additionally an important piece of last-ditch defending to disclaim Leander Dendoncker in the closing levels.

By that time, Hudson-Odoi had switched from the best flank to the left in order to accommodate substitute Christian Pulisic and it was from there that he examined Rui Patricio after reducing inside onto his stronger foot. The 20-year-old clearly has loads to supply his new supervisor.

Havertz will get central position

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Kai Havertz places Conor Coady below strain

While Timo Werner did not make it off the bench – recognition from Tuchel, maybe, that the striker wants trip of the highlight to get well his confidence after a run of 11 Premier League video games and not using a purpose – his countryman Havertz was positioned in the thick of the motion.

Like Werner, Havertz has endured a troublesome begin to life at Chelsea but Tuchel’s first sport in cost suggests he intends to construct his aspect round him. This was the first time the 21-year-old has accomplished 90 minutes in the Premier League since October.

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Kai Havertz performed as a No 10 but drifted to each flanks

With the width coming from the wing-backs in Tuchel’s system, Havertz was deployed as certainly one of two roaming quantity 10s together with Ziyech, enjoying in shut help of Giroud but with licence to float backward and forward.

He had some good moments, popping up in the best and left-hand channels, teeing up Chilwell for one of the best likelihood of the sport and, at one level in the first half, charging by way of the midfield with the type of energy and directness that marked him out as such a particular expertise at Bayer Leverkusen.

Havertz labored tirelessly off the ball, overlaying extra floor (11.3km) than some other Chelsea participant, and whereas there have been reminders that he’s nonetheless adapting to English soccer – he did not full a single take-on and none of his three pictures on purpose hit the goal – he evidently has a giant position to play below Tuchel.

No fast repair but Tuchel sees positives

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Thomas Tuchel says Chelsea’s expectations should be reasonable this season

This was not the fast uplift Chelsea might need hoped for after they opted to vary supervisor but it will be unfair to guage Tuchel on this consequence after just one coaching session along with his gamers.

Sunday’s assembly with Burnley will present a clearer indication of Tuchel’s plans for the aspect but the previous Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund boss noticed positives in Wednesday’s efficiency at Stamford Bridge.

“I spoke in the dressing room and told everybody there was no room for disappointment or doubts,” he mentioned in his post-match press convention. “I was very happy with the performance energy-wise. We were structured and didn’t allow any dangerous counter-attacks against one of the most dangerous teams.

“We had been very well-organised, courageous, and performed with braveness as a workforce each offensively and defensively, with a very good affect from the bench and an excellent perspective from the gamers who did not come on.

“It was hard work, but we never lost intensity and for that I am happy. If this is our starting point I’m looking forward to where we will end up.

“Not a lot wants to enhance,” he added. “I see an thrilling combine between skilled gamers, personalities and gifted guys. I see a really demanding league that brings all the pieces out bodily in each participant.

“I found a group yesterday that was totally open to our ideas, beliefs and tactical approach. This made me feel very good because this is what you wish for. This is the level.

“Now we will work on the main points forward of Burnley.”

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