Those who have watched Timo Werner on a consistent basis in the Premier League this season will recognise that the German forward is overdue some form of dramatic haul in front of goal based on the chances he’s presented with.
The 24 year-old – who moved to Stamford Bridge in the summer – has scored and assisted to a reasonable level so far, but he’s snatched at a number of shots while also hitting the woodwork more than any other player in England’s top-flight.
An explosion for Werner feels inevitable, with his recent usage under Thomas Tuchel benefiting his game ahead of a well-suited clash with Southampton this weekend.
The newly-appointed German boss, when speaking about Werner recently, said: “He can play as a double striker, as a number nine if he is clever enough to use his speed and runs but his favourite position is if he can move out to the left.”
The attacker’s speed has been referenced by Tuchel several times in different interviews, with Southampton particularly vulnerable to such a threat as demonstrated throughout the current campaign.
Earlier in the season, Tottenham and particularly Chelsea managed to reap the rewards of occasionally hitting over Southampton’s aggressive press before exploiting their relatively-high defensive line with through passes in behind.
An example is pictured below, with the Blues passing the ball around in their own defensive third to lure the Saints forward, before Jorginho hit a ball over the top of Ralph Hasenhuttl’s defence with his first touch.
Werner then beat Jannik Vestergaard and Jan Bednarek in a race to the ball before finishing – with those two central defenders lacking pace – and Son Heung-min did similar at St. Mary’s by scoring four times.
If Chelsea can once again entice Hasenhuttl’s players into closing down high up the field, they could potentially use a through pass or a lofted ball over the top to exploit Southampton’s primary frailty.
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Speaking about his change in role under Tuchel, Werner recently stated: “Now I play as a left 10 and not as a left winger, so very good for me. I have more space for my runs in the middle. A good move from the manager.”
Werner tends to be at his best when darting in behind rather than coming short, and if Tuchel contests Sunday’s bout with that in mind, those valuable situations could emerge and influence an upturn in form for Chelsea’s £47.5million man.