USA About: Chelsea Publish: 12/20/2021 Edit: 12/20/2021 Author: Gardener
Chelsea arrived at Molineux in genuine anger after their request to postpone that game was denied. Although Tuchel's side did not respond by throwing tools on the pitch, it was difficult to find many positives after 90 minutes of work against the Wolves that further cast doubt on their ability to keep up with Manchester City and Liverpool. Ultimately, the only bright spot for an irritable Tuchel who had seven players with Covid-19 was that Chelsea refused to wither. They never looked likely to tell the Wolves apart, and after threatening to run a three-way title race for much of the campaign, Chelsea suddenly find themselves in danger of falling out of the competition after just getting three of the last eight games. Tuchel, who kept his head in mind when begging a rare opening for N'Golo Kanté, saw his team pick a bad moment to slow down. Chelsea have dropped six points behind City, a void that must feel like an abyss in the face of Pep Guardiola's relentless champions and they won't challenge when ruthlessness in attack is hard to pin down. At the moment nothing is getting in their way. Under pressure from a deflationary run, Chelsea felt the universe was against them when the league turned down their request to reschedule on Sunday morning. Chelsea felt different with four outfield players on the bench after Kai Havertz, Jorginho and Ruben Loftus-Cheek were the last to go into quarantine and Tuchel clearly felt the sense of injustice, who made an excited figure on the sideline, starting and pounding Reece James for giving away possession early on. Chelsea - with Ben Chilwell, Romelu Lukaku, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Timo Werner, who tested positive for Covid-19 before their draw with Everton last Thursday, started unsurprisingly hesitantly and was lucky not to be behind after 15 minutes . João Moutinho moved through midfield unchallenged and Tuchel's reaction was volcanic when Marcal overlapped on the left and a low cross hit the far post, where Daniel Podence waited to take the ball home. Angry that Chelsea's defensive form was disappearing so easily, Tuchel hopped up and down before returning to the dugout to scold his assistants. The German seemed to break out at any moment and even the sight of the offside flag of the linesman against Raúl Jiménez, who had tried to convert Marcal's center before it found Podence, didn't bring him much joy. At half time, Tuchel sat gloomy on the bench. The Wolves were in the lead while Leander Dendoncker, Rúben Neves and Moutinho shadowed midfield and they could have been ahead. If there was one encouraging note for Chelsea, however, it was that they didn't reveal too much. César Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva and Antonio Rüdiger offered experienced defenders and Kanté, who took action earlier than Tuchel liked, occasionally appeared dynamic in his first appearance since November 23. But that's not the midfield with which Tuchel, who also did without the injured Andreas Christensen, would have left under normal circumstances. It spoke volumes that he preferred to go with an underpowered edge and the inexperienced Chalobah instead of Saúl Níguez and Ross Barkley, even though the latter are seasoned internationals. This selection decision had nothing to do with Covid-19; After all, no one forced Chelsea to loan Billy Gilmour and Conor Gallagher before loaning Saúl for the season from Atlético Madrid. Chelsea, who had also decided not to include U23 players in the squad, couldn't feel sorry for themselves. Saúl came on for Chalobah at halftime and after the break there was more urgency among the guests. But there was no way through Bruno Lage's chain of three, no bite, because Lukaku, Havertz, Werner and Hudson-Odoi were missing. Pulisic was thwarted by a beautiful save from José Sá after Marcos Alonso played through, Mount saw a shot deflected wide and Kanté missed, but Chelsea failed.
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