I wrote back in October about Timo Werner’s difficult start to life at Stamford Bridge, which you can read here, and I feel compelled again to jump to the German’s defence.
His miss against Real Madrid, which in my opinion you need to give our former goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois huge credit for, seemed to sum up his troubles in front of goal.
There was no confidence in his shot, his effort tame and although well saved from close range, really should’ve been a goal and could prove costly as we take the 1-1 draw back to West London next Wednesday.
Due to various injuries, Werner spent most of his brief time under Lampard playing out wide, used as an auxiliary winger with Tammy Abraham or Oliver Giroud as the main striker.
It’s not an uncommon position for him, at Leipzig he played off of a centre forward, using his target man to run off of in behind.
His role was slightly different under Lampard, with the demands of the Premier League meaning he had to also track back, taking away his biggest attribute, pace in behind.
Under Thomas Tuchel, the 3-4-2-1 formation has allowed Werner to come into a more natural role, with the recent deployment of Kai Havertz through the middle as a false 9 giving him someone to work off.
Giroud has been used sparingly and Abraham hardly used at all, as Tuchel attempts to get the big money signings to work.
Defensively, Tuchel has nailed it, Chelsea give up hardly any attempts on goal and as a result have stopped conceding.
In games against Klopp, Guardiola, Mourinho, Ancelotti and Zidane, Chelsea have conceded just once.
Which has been necessary because we’ve found scoring goals tricky to say the least. And that’s not all Timo’s fault but he’s certainly missed his fair share of chances.
But what’s important are that the chances are coming. He is consistently getting himself into positions to get opportunities, bad strikers don’t do that.
Some supporters ask the question why doesn’t Tammy Abraham get a chance under Tuchel, after all he is still our top scorer, but as silly as it sounds, football is about more than just putting the ball into the net.
The whole team dynamic that we saw on Tuesday against Real Madrid works because of the players Tuchel picked.
Tammy doesn’t do the quick interchanging and running in behind, and that’s not a criticism of him, it’s not his game, but for this front 3 to work it needs to be done at pace otherwise it becomes to easy to defend.
Tuchel clearly doesn’t fancy Abraham, personally I think that’s because Abraham lacks football intelligence and there could be a bit of a personality clash.
That happens sometimes, doesn’t matter what job you do, some managers you’ll get on with, some you won’t. That’s just life
And for Tuchel, and Chelsea, there’s no risk of loss associated with Tammy. If they sell him this summer for £30m+, that will be seen as a success of Cobham.
There’s almost £50m riding on Timo and after what’s happened with Kepa Arrizabalaga, it’s no wonder Tuchel will try everything to get him firing.
Goals will come for Timo, or more goals I should say, playing alongside either Christian Pulisic, Mason Mount, Hakim Ziyech or Havertz, it’s impossible not to.
Werner is clearly intelligent, knows how to get space in tight areas, has pace to burn and is a constant threat to opposition defences.
True, teams might sit deep against us because of that threat over the top, but in big games, when teams come at us a bit more, there’s going to be space, just as Pulisic exploited against Real.
Werner has the most goal contributions of any Chelsea player this season and although the number is nowhere near the number we need for our main striker, it’s a positive.
It appears Chelsea are looking for an out an out centre forward next season, and either a Haaland or a Lukaku is only going to help Werner.
That’s exactly how he became one of the hottest strikers in Europe, playing off of a striker and exploiting space.
And when teams are focusing on how to stop the number 9, it’ll be our number 9.5 who’ll get the space to make the difference.
Chelsea fans love a trier, and Werner is exactly that, even though it hasn’t worked out exactly as he or we, would’ve wanted, he has kept on going, hasn’t sulked or hid.
He’s wanted to be on the pitch, to try and put things right and for that he has not only my respect and admiration but he has my absolute faith that it’ll all fall into place for him and more importantly, for Chelsea.
Keep going Timo, it’s coming.