Chelsea’s first game under Thomas Tuchel was a record-breaking one, as the Blues dominated the ball in Wednesday’s match against Wolves.
Tuchel was announced as Chelsea manager on Tuesday, shortly after the departure of Frank Lampard.
Lampard’s tenure ended just a year-and-half, with Blues legend following Maurizio Sarri, the man he replaced, in departing following less than two seasons in charge.
Tuchel took charge of his first game on Wednesday against Wolves at Stamford Bridge.
No goals, and a single point to show for his first game in charge.
To be fair he had precisely 24 hours to prepare for it, but he made some bold choices, left out some of Chelsea’s best players this season, and promoted others who had been in the cold.
Had it worked, he would have been hailed as a visionary, and a wise man, compared to the callow, Frank Lampard.
It didn’t, not really. Those left on the bench – particularly Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic – looked better when they came on than those in their place, and the best chance fell to Wolves.
Had it gone wrong Tuchel would have been the only Chelsea manager this century to lose his first home league game – Gianluca Vialli was the last, in 1998 – so he’ll be grateful for that, at least.
And, also, this is a season without fans, too. Looking at Tuchel’s starting XI it would be possible to assume that the new man is a proper wind-up merchant – if there were any supporters inside Stamford Bridge to wind up.
He left the homegrown young players that are most popular with the locals on the sidelines– Mount, the outstanding player of this season, Reece James, a continued revelation at right-back and Tammy Abraham, whose last contribution was a hat-trick.
In favor of Jorginho, Antonio Rudiger, Kai Havertz and Cesar Azpilicueta, at least two of whom had been fingered since Lampard’s departure as having been disruptive behind the scenes. Whatever Tuchel was going for, it wasn’t a popularity contest.
Yet isn’t that the obvious end product of this appointment? Another hired hand, another member of Europe’s coaching elite, will respond to Chelsea’s short-termism and go tried and trusted.
It was amusing to see Tuchel at one stage instructing Azpilicueta to stay wider when Chelsea was in possession.
Chelsea has a right full-back who does that naturally, but he’s a kid, not the long-serving club captain. So Reece James sat on the bench, unused, and Azpilicueta played.
He did well, too. Put in some very good crosses. But no more than James has this season. Like Mount, he wasn’t the problem to here.
Chelsea’s supporters say the banner backing Lampard will be removed after this final salute. Fans are a sensible lot and this is the time to get behind the new man.
But there have been a lot of new men at Stamford Bridge and a few last long enough to make a lasting impression. Tuchel will have better days than this, or worse. But, either way, he’s one game nearer the sack.