Chelsea 0 Wolves 0
Wolves returned to what they know at Stamford Bridge and put in the most resolute of performances to earn a point and clean sheet against Chelsea. Nuno Espirito Santo reverted back to a back to a three-man defence and watched his side defend their goal bravely and earn a first point in three Premier League matches.
It wasn’t all defending however, and the visitors came the closest to claiming all three points when Pedro Neto led a dangerous counter attack and scooped an effort onto the crossbar, but a return to basics will have pleased Nuno, whose team now have something to build on.
Taking on Chelsea in their new guise, solidity and organisation were the order of the day for Nuno, who watched his side sit off Chelsea in the opening 20 minutes to great success, with Rui Patricio going untested, if what surprisingly after Olivier Giroud failed to connect with Callum Hudson-Odoi’s dangerous centre across the face of goal.
While keeping it tight at the back, Wolves constantly looked to pounce on the counter attack when the opportunity arose, in classic style under Nuno, and when Daniel Podence nicked possession and drove at the Chelsea defence, a foul by Antonio Rudiger presented an opportunity, but Ruben Neves aimed for the goalkeeper’s side with the free-kick and failed to hit the target.
It took 38 minutes for the Blues, despite all their possession, to test Wolves’ goalkeeper and when Rudiger rose highest to meet Hakim Ziyech’s free-kick, the defender forced Patricio into a routine save. A minute later the old gold were on the front foot, as Pedro Neto found space down the left and his cross picked out the late run of Leander Dendoncker, but the Belgian couldn’t keep his looping header on target – the best chance of the half.
Half-time | Chelsea 0-0 Wolves
After the break, little changed in terms of Wolves’ game plan, which had worked successfully during the opening 45, but Chelsea did start threatening more. In the first 15 after the interval, Giroud tried to squeeze an effort in at Patricio’s near post to no success, while Ben Chilwell blazed over when he found space inside the away box.
Wolves opportunities were few and far between, but on a rare flurry forward, Neto came closer than anyone to the opening goal. The Portuguese barged his way through, exchanged passes with Podence, and was charging down on goal, then the youngster opted for a scooped effort, which beat Edouard Mendy, but clipped the crossbar on its way over.
Then came a debut for Willian Jose, who replaced Podence for the final 20 and he was involved as Neto curled wide and over from range. As for Chelsea, Mateo Kovacic attempted a similar strike to Neto from range, and came a lot closer with his whipped effort, which had Patricio scrambling, but fortunately for Wolves, it just missed the top corner.
With the finishing posts in sight, Chelsea upped the intensity in the closing stages, and Hudson-Odoi forced a fine one-handed saved by Patricio. Then, Wolves thought they’d performed the perfect away performance as Neto picked out the charge of Dendoncker, but just as the Belgian was about to pull the trigger, Hudson-Odoi nipped back to save the day for the hosts.
There was still time for one last contribution, this time from a Wolves man, as a Chelsea corner came into the box with seconds remaining and Kai Havertz met it with a goal bound header, but Jose stepped in with an invaluable block to deny the German and earn his side a well-deserved point.
Full-time | Chelsea 0-0 Wolves
Chelsea | Mendy, Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Silva, Chilwell (Pulisic 76), Jorginho, Kovacic, Ziyech (Mount 83), Havertz, Hudson-Odoi, Giroud (Abraham 77).
Unused subs | Arrizabalaga, Zouma, Emerson, James, Alonso, Werner.
Wolves | Patricio, Semedo, Boly, Coady, Kilman, Ait-Nouri (Hoever 46), Neves, Dendoncker, Podence (Jose 72), Traore (Moutinho 90), Neto.
Unused subs | Ruddy, Saiss, Vitinha, Otasowie, Silva, Cutrone.