Chelsea’s title ambitions suffered a further blow after they were held to a goalless draw by Wolverhampton Wanderers at a misty Molineux Stadium on Sunday, a match the visitors had asked the Premier League to postpone before kickoff.
Chelsea trail leaders Manchester City by six points following another frustrating afternoon after their midweek draw against Everton, as they created few chances and rarely troubled Wolves goalkeeper Jose Sa.
The home side came closest to breaking the deadlock when Daniel Podence had the ball in the back of the net, but the effort was correctly ruled out after striker Raul Jimenez strayed offside in the build-up.
Chelsea, who had only six players on the bench including two goalkeepers after seven COVID-19 infections depleted their squad, had asked the Premier League to postpone the game.
Manager Thomas Tuchel said Chelsea were “angry” at the decision to play, one he felt was “very hard to understand”.
“I don’t care about the point. I am pleased with the performance, especially in the second half. The first half was a bit of a struggle for us, we had to grow into the game,” Tuchel told Sky Sports.
“Some players had to adapt to new positions. We are not lucky enough in these moments to win games but I am happy with how we played.”
Wolves’ last seven Premier League matches have seen only four goals scored by either side and this was another war of attrition and game of few clear-cut chances.
The home side had the better of the first half before absorbing Chelsea pressure in the second that was largely without a cutting edge, perhaps understandable given the number of strikers the visitors were missing.
Christian Pulisic had the best opportunity for Chelsea when he was played into space inside the box, but with just Sa to beat the goalkeeper stood firm.
There was a hint of good fortune for the visitors in the first half when N’Golo Kante, restored to the starting line-up on his return to fitness, stopped a long ball with first his chest and then his outstretched arm.
It denied Podence a clear run on goal but the officials allowed play to continue.
Podence was again prominent when his cross found an unmarked Leander Dendoncker, who had a free header but could not steer his effort beyond Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy in Wolves’ last clear opportunity.
“Wolves don’t concede many chances or goals,” Tuchel said. “We could not expect to create an awful lot but we tried and never stopped trying.”