Timo Werner seemed to be settling into life in England with ease, off the back of a season where he bagged 34 goals in all competitions for his former club RB Leipzig. However, the 24-year-old German has been on a slope of late and just before the game against Morecambe, he had not found the back of the net for the Blues in his last 12 appearances, which seemed to have left him short of confidence.
Just months ago, Werner arrived in England with the reputation of being one of the best goal poachers, second to Robert Lewandowski, hence it’s understandable why Chelsea forked out £47.5 million for him, beating Liverpool who were believed to be the front runners for his signature. As a result, the materialization of the transfer amounted to huge expectations from supporters and rivals alike.
It’s fair to say Frank Lampard and Chelsea are yet to see a tangible return on their investment as the German has only four goals in 17 league games thus far and nine goals in 25 appearances across all competitions. This is only the second time in his career he has gone 11 games without a goal in his top flight career, the first time being with his boyhood club Stuttgart.
However considering some of the factors behind Timo Werner’s poor form as reasons fans should be patient with him-
Adaptation: This is one of the major factors players don’t always get off to the best starts at a new club, although some may hit the ground running. Every player deserves an adaptation period to get used to a new league, country, environment, system, as well time to gel with new team mates. In the case of Werner, coming from a league that relies on technical skills over physique; compared to a tougher and more physical league where bullying and low blocks are the order of the day, a transition requires time to be well adjusted. Chelsea legends like Frank Lampard the manager himself, Didier Drogba, and even Eden hazard have shown that players can make it up to their billing at the club without the best of starts.
Poor finishing: Timo Werner has nine goals in all competitions this season. If not for poor finishing he could easily be on double figures already- high profile misses against Stade Rennes, Sheffield United, Newcastle, Leeds and West Ham come to mind. His luck hasn’t helped his case either, having hit the woodwork the most number of times in the league. This isn’t down to the manager or coming to a new league, this is simply on Werner, and his need for two or three chances to get a goal. He has gotten himself in really good positions with his good movement and awareness, one-on-one with keepers, and has just not been the ice-cold striker you need in those situations. There has hardly ever been a striker that hit his peak at 24, it’s easy to forget Werner is young and can only get better.
Position and Tactics: Timo Werner can play as a centre-forward, left winger and even as a supporting striker but seems his best position at Chelsea still remains unknown to most. Last season (according to Werner’s transfermarkt.com stats) when starting as a centre-forward, the position he got most of his goals, he found the back of the net a staggering 30 times in 38 appearances, three goals in five appearances as a left winger, and one goal in two appearances as a second striker. It is best known that he plays better off a target man like he had in Yussuf Poulsen at RB Leipzig. Chelsea possesses one of the best target men in the world if not the best in Olivier Giroud and also a younger striker with immense potential in Tammy Abraham. Unfortunately for Werner, Frank Lampard doesn’t favour the use of two strikers up top which means Werner has had majority of his game time out on the left wing. The big question remains if Lampard can get the best out of him on the left wing, as a lone centre-forward or the solution is a change in formation that favours Werner.
Anyone who watched Timo Werner tear defenses apart in Germany last season will definitely have to be brave or a troll to write “Turbo” Timo off considering his pedigree, ability and lightning pace. He’s not done, this is just the beginning.
Written by- Olatunde Munir (@El_Munir_jnr)
Cover Photo- XP Edits on Instagram (@xp_editss)