Wolves 0-0 Chelsea: Depleted Blues drop more points in title race after frustrating Molineux stalemate

·2-min read
Christian Pulisic spurned Chelsea’s best chance against Wolves at Molineux  (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
Christian Pulisic spurned Chelsea’s best chance against Wolves at Molineux (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Depleted Chelsea’s Premier League title hopes suffered another key blow as they were held to a frustrating goalless draw by Wolves.

The Blues saw a request for Sunday’s match at a misty Molineux to be postponed rejected amid more positive Covid-19 tests and travelled to the West Midlands with a squad of only 17 fit and available first-team players, with two goalkeepers listed among their six substitutes.

Manager Tuchel was angry with the decision to force Chelsea to play the fixture, while his mood will not have been improved by a stalemate that, coupled with Manchester City’s 4-0 rout of struggling Newcastle at the Etihad, left them six points off the title pace in third.

Chelsea made a strong start to proceedings and almost fashioned an early chance as Reece James got in behind Wolves’ back five and connected with a diagonal pass from Antonio Rudiger, only to see the offside flag raised.

However, James then lost possession cheaply and Wolves countered quickly, with Fernando Marcal and Raul Jimenez - back from suspension - combining to tee up Daniel Podence, whose shot was deflected behind with Edouard Mendy scrambling.

The hosts - who got their first win in five matches at Brighton in midweek thanks to Roman Saiss’ goal - quickly grew in confidence and thought they had taken the lead after 15 minutes, with Joao Moutinho leading an incisive counter-attack through the middle of the park.

He played in Marcal, whose low first-time cross intended for Jimenez was mis-hit by the Mexican before being finished at the back post by Podence.

However, a very late flag went up, with Jimenez correctly ruled offside.

Chances were at a premium for the remainder of a combative first half played out in foggy conditions, with Leander Dendoncker spurning by far the best opportunity when he was left unmarked to head Podence’s cross tamely into the hands of Mendy five minutes before half-time.

Chelsea dominated great swathes of an improved second half, but struggled to create many meaningful chances as Saiss crucially cleared a low Pulisic cross inside his own six-yard box.

Pulisic had a golden chance to break the deadlock with less than 15 minutes left as he was played in by a Marcos Alonso pass following good work from the more advanced N’Golo Kante, but Jose Sa made a fine close-range stop to preserve his clean sheet.

Conor Coady also came to Wolves’ rescue with a vital late block to thwart Kante in stoppage time.

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