Callum Hudson-Odoi was impressive in an unfamiliar right wing-back role as Chelsea were held to a goalless draw by Wolves on Wednesday.
Thomas Tuchel, in his first match in charge of Chelsea, lined the Blues up in a 3-4-2-1 formation, with Callum Hudson-Odoi deployed in an unfamiliar right wing-back role. The Englishman took to the role instantly, though, playing Olivier Giroud in with a fine chance early on, only for the French striker to not convert it.
Chelsea dominated the proceedings thereafter but struggled to carve out meaningful chances and that gave Wolves the impetus. The visitors nearly capitalised as well, but Leander Dendoncker headed over late in the first half. Post the interval, the Blues were dominant once again but did not quite have the cutting edge to break the deadlock.
Wolves once again nearly pounced, as Pedro Neto struck the woodwork. On the other end, Hudson-Odoi was the brightest spark for Chelsea, but the deadlock-breaking goal never came as the game ended goalless. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Tuchel’s charges following his maiden game at the helm at Stamford Bridge.
Edouard Mendy: 6/10
Hardly tested, with Chelsea thoroughly dominant on Wednesday. However, Mendy did give the ball away cheaply on one occasion that unnecessarily piled the pressure on his side.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 6/10
A solid effort by the Chelsea captain, who was comfortable in dealing with the threat of Pedro Neto for the most part. Also given a lot of freedom, Azpilicueta spent a lot of time in the Wolves half and even sent in a teasing cross for Olivier Giroud in the second half. Could be set for a resurgence in the second half of the season.
Thiago Silva: 6/10
Reunited with former PSG manager Tuchel, Silva was fairly comfortable as the leader of the defence and kept things organised for the most part. Moved the ball forward with precision, losing possession just 4 times. Won 4 duels as well while making 3 clearances. Solid.
Antonio Rudiger: 6/10
As expected, Rudiger was recalled to the starting lineup in Tuchel’s first match in-charge. Not the most ideal of matches for him to prove his worth, with the visitors hardly troubling Chelsea. Should have done better to convert a header on the opposite end, though.
Callum Hudson-Odoi: 7/10
The biggest positive from tonight from Hudson-Odoi. Thought he looked threatening every time he was on the ball. Impressive performance ? pic.twitter.com/W6XuZG8o4w
— CFC-Blues (@CFCBlues_com) January 27, 2021
Installed as the right wing-back, Hudson-Odoi was surprisingly comfortable essaying the role, although he was essentially a right-winger. Spent the entire evening in the Wolves half and should have grabbed at least one assist, with his deliveries from his flank carrying a lot of venom. Sign of things to come.
With N’Golo Kante unavailable, Jorginho was the obvious choice to sit deep in midfield. However, the Italian international failed to set a quick tempo despite seeing so much of the ball. Hardly misplaced a pass (132/139 completed), but can do so much more with it.
Mateo Kovacic: 6/10
One of the players who had been looking for a new lease of life in the later days of Frank Lampard’s tenure, Kovacic made a decent first impression. No player had more touches (166) in the game and the Croat did use the ball well, completing a staggering 148 passes at a 97 percent accuracy while also creating a couple of half-chances. A step in the right direction
Ben Chilwell: 5/10
Camped almost exclusively in the Wolves half, Chilwell essentially played as a left-winger. However, the English international was quite underwhelming, with his deliveries not carrying any sort of threat while he also scuffed a couple of promising opportunities. Another player who needs to step up.
Hakim Ziyech: 5.5/10
Ziyech is the chief creative exponent for Chelsea, but he did not really essay that role well against Wolves. The Moroccan international saw a lot of the ball and did play 4 key passes, but none of the passes really carved open a resolute Wolves defence. Still the biggest creative threat for Chelsea, along with Mason Mount, but needs to do better.
Kai Havertz: 6/10
A lot of positives to draw from #CHEWOL
⚽ Kai Havertz covered tonight more distance than any other Chelsea player at 11.41km
⚽ Tuchel's side broke two PL records tonight. That's the highest possession (78%) and most passes (820) for a new manager's first game.
? @ChelseaFC pic.twitter.com/v4W0tng6Bj
— Angelo Mangiante (@angelomangiante) January 27, 2021
Back into the starting lineup and playing a role he should be comfortable in, Havertz showed some neat touches and progressed forward with purpose, even creating a chance for Chilwell. However, his end product is still lacking and he should have done better to convert an opening that came his way. Still, some promising signs from this display.
Olivier Giroud: 5/10
A surprise selection to lead the line for Chelsea despite his fine form, Giroud had two of the best chances of the game coming his way. But, while he failed to latch on to Hudson-Odoi’s inviting cross early on, he ought to have done better to convert Azpilicueta’s cross in the second half. Not the best of first impressions.
Tammy Abraham: N/A
On for Giroud, Abraham touched the ball just twice after being introduced.
Christian Pulisic: N/A
Installed as the right wing-back upon replacing Chilwell with 15 minutes left. Looked dangerous, seeing as he was effectively a right-winger, but did not make the difference.
Mason Mount: N/A
A late introduction, Mount provided an injection of energy after being subbed on, but that was not enough to spark a match-winning goal.
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