GB About: Chelsea Publish: 12/20/2021 Edit: 12/20/2021 Author: Gardener
Thomas Tuchel's fears that his worn out side could be exposed by Wolverhampton Wanderers came true in a highly competitive tie that infuriated the Chelsea head coach after two of his players were injured. After being forced to play a game they requested to be postponed after seven players were unavailable due to Covid-related reasons, Chelsea suffered further frustration of losing Trevoh Chalobah to a knee injury and Hakim Ziyech to a calf problem at Molineux . Chelsea have been cautious from the start and never seemed to go full throttle against the fully vaccinated and inflated Wolverhampton Wanderers, who sought a major scalp after a narrow loss in recent games to Liverpool and Manchester City. Chances were tight and Chelsea forward Christian Pulisic forced the only real save of the game for the visiting team after Édouard Mendy defeated Leander Dendoncker in the first half. Chelsea were lucky enough to get away with a point after an offside attempt by the Wolves was ruled out before Dendoncker's header was saved. The way Chelsea played for most of the game, it seemed like they wished their request had been accepted. Four Covid cases on Friday had turned into seven by kick-off, although one of the players involved - Ben Chilwell - was injured anyway. When the action started, Chelsea couldn't find the pace required and it was the wolves who made the running. Raúl Jiménez, the striker who returned for a game after being suspended for a game, hit the Chelsea defense before slipping the ball to Daniel Podence for a 25 yard tee, who hit the legs of a defender before sailing back. Chelsea had a real scare in the 15th minute when the Wolves initially appeared to have taken the lead. His cross got the slightest chance from Jiménez and was turned home by Podence at the far post, only the Mexican striker was sidelined. Chalobah and Antonio Rüdiger were cautioned for fouls on Jiménez when Chelsea were frustrated before Chalobah was injured. Dendoncker charged to defeat the offside trap from Podence's low cross, but placed a free header too close to Mendy, the goalkeeper, who choked on his near post. Podence was the smallest player on the pitch at 5'4 "and he did an excellent job dodging Chelsea's defenders and showing up between the lines to support Jiménez. Chelsea moved at halftime when Saúl Ñíguez replaced the injured Chalobah. There were signs of Chelsea returning to their old self when Pulisic shot a cross that flashed across the box. There were only 12 shots during the entire game (four by Wolves, eight by Chelsea), the second fewest in a Premier League game this season, just before Brentford v Brighton in September It took 74 goal. Mateo Kovacic attempted a chip deep in his own area that could have left him with an egg in his face, but he got away with it when Wolves, forced to hit the European champions on the counterattack, tried to squeeze Chelsea into a mistake . Finally, in the 79th minute, Chelsea tested José Sá. The Wolves goalkeeper, however, was level with Pulisic's deeply angled left foot as he instinctively flipped it wide after Marcos Alonso split the defense and Marçal was unable to block. In a final attack by Chelsea, N’Golo Kanté's shot was blocked by the attacking Conor Coady. A penalty decision would have been tough for the Wolves captain, who was inches from the ball when he was hit, and for his team, who fought valiantly. Chelsea had a lot of possession and corners but couldn't count. Wolves, for whom Jiménez was far too isolated when attacked, lacked the art or ruthlessness to punish them. Chelsea, who will play a Derby in West London in the Carabao Cup against Brentford on Wednesday evening, are mightily relieved to have cleared this encounter and have to wonder what will happen next.
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