Chelsea could not break down a stubborn Wolves side in Thomas Tuchel’s first match in charge at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night. The Blues were left frustrated as their disappointing run of Premier League form continued with a 0-0 draw on home soil.
Chelsea, under Frank Lampard and new man Tuchel, have now won just two of their last nine top-flight games to slide down the table. Having been previously billed as title challengers, their focus is now firmly on securing Champions League football for the 2021-22 campaign.
And while the evening was a disappointing one for Tuchel, who only had one training session before this game on Tuesday night, it was a good one for substitute Mason Mount.
Having started Chelsea’s previous 13 consecutive Premier League matches, Mount was evidently a favourite of Frank Lampard’s. He was a regular fixture in his three-man midfield.
The England international even captained the side against Luton Town in their FA Cup win on Sunday, which turned out to be Lampard’s final game at the helm.
But he was relegated to the substitutes’ bench against Wolves as Tuchel trialled a 3-4-3 formation which saw Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz line up as the team’s attacking midfielders behind Olivier Giroud.
While the duo showed flashes of quality, the German laying back for Ben Chilwell to fire over the bar in a second-half chance – the clearest a chance the hosts created all game – they did not do enough to impact the game given how much of the ball they saw.
Mount, meanwhile, has been one of Chelsea’s most consistent performers this season even when the side struggled in Lampard’s final games and has regularly had an impact.
Only Tammy Abraham, with six goals and two assists, and Timo Werner, with four goals and five assists, have been directly involved in more league goals than Mount this season, though he only has two goals and four assists of his own.
The 22-year-old was the third and final substitution with Abraham and Christian Pulisic brought on for Giroud and Chilwell before him.
And in just over 10 minutes on the pitch Mount produced as much if not more than the two attacking midfielders who started over him, particularly with one run from a Jorginho pass down the channel.
Mount was smart to dummy the ball to trick Max Kilman, which allowed him to get to the byline unmarked before trying to swing a low cross across the six-yard box which Willy Boly put behind for a corner. It was a cross that the defender could have quite easily dsliced into his own net.
Though Mount could not help find a breakthrough, his brief cameo was a bright one and will have left Tuchel with things to think about.
He combined well with Christian Pulisic down the right and tried his best to get some dangerous deliveries into the Wolves box while also popping up into areas to help keep Wolves’ defence on their toes.
Though he could not help score a vital winner, with Havertz being denied a goal-bound header from Mount’s stoppage-time corner, that neither Ziyech or Havertz stood out is good news for him.
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Tuchel has already indicated he felt bad for leaving the likes of Mount, Abraham and Reece James on the bench to start with.
Pre-match, the German coach admitted his starting line-up was not fair on all of his players, telling BT Sport: “Today the choices were totally unfair.
“How can I do a choice with one training where everyone was really focused and really open to all things we trained?
“It is maybe the most unfair line-up we ever do because there is no reason to give to players not to be in the lineup.
“In doubt we chose for a bit more experience today and in the moment which is not easy, we step in in the middle of the season.
“The place where we are is not the place we should be, the expectations are high, the tension is high so we went for a bit of experience.”
Mount essentially matched Havertz and Ziyech’s contributions in far less time on the pitch and given Tuchel’s pre-match admission, the No 10 will hope to impress in training over the next few days to be back in the starting eleven for Sunday’s visit of Burnley.