We analyse the statistics from Thomas Tuchel's first game in charge with Chelsea in control throughout but clear chances at a premium...
The aspect of our play that immediately stood out last night was our desire to control the possession, and our 78.9 per cent share of the ball is our highest of the league campaign so far.
Dominant from the off
Our 466 attempted passes in the first half is the most by any team in any half in the Premier League this season, and the most in a first half by a Chelsea team since such records began in 2003/04.
We also registered very high numbers for territory (70.5 per cent) and pass completion (93 per cent, a season high), but our opponents’ strategy and the game state must be factored in when considering these figures.
From the first minute Wolves were happy to sit deep (often with 11 men behind the ball), defend their box and the spaces between the lines, and then try and hit us on the counter. As we were not able to break the deadlock, there was no incentive for them to throw more men forward and the pattern of the game remained fairly consistent throughout.
We did start brightly and finish the game well. Indeed, of our 14 attempts, six came in the final quarter-of-an-hour as we kept the intensity levels high in search of a late winner. The three subs added extra freshness.
Limiting the counter
None of Wolves’ four shots were on target. Pedro Neto’s effort that clipped the crossbar was the only one in the game deemed a ‘big chance’, although had it gone in VAR would surely have taken a close look at a possible offside against Daniel Podence in the build-up.
Thomas Tuchel was pleased with the energy his side displayed, noting the number of ball recoveries we made high up the pitch - that is, gathering the ball when neither team has possession, or collecting a wayward opposition pass.
Overall we recorded 49 ball recoveries, nobody more than Toni Rudiger’s 11. We also won 15 tackles, to the visitors’ five, and only once was a Chelsea player dispossessed.
The challenge was breaking down a deep defensive block fighting hard to try and end a run of 12 league games without a clean sheet.
With two inside forwards playing off a central striker, we created space for the wing-backs Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ben Chilwell on the flank, or just inside the opposition wing-backs. Hudson-Odoi particularly stood out in a new-look role for him.
His 11 crosses were almost a third of our total (37), and he also made a couple of important defensive contributions, including one late on having switched to left wing-back.
Of our 832 completed passes overall, 29 per cent were in the final third.
Mateo Kovacic completed 148 of his 152 passes at a 97 per cent success rate. His three successful dribbles and two interceptions were also Chelsea-high figures.
Our other central midfielder, Jorginho, was next highest in terms of successful passes with 132. He and Kovacic completed 76 in the attacking third, and won three tackles apiece.
Hakim Ziyech, who most frequently linked up with Hudson-Odoi down the right, registered a game-high four key passes.
As it was, Giroud and Chilwell passed up our best opportunities with the Wolves defence recording a swathe of blocks (six), interceptions (16) and clearances (30). Their back three alone made 20 clearances to ensure Tuchel's first game ended goalless even though his side put in a performance with plenty of promise.