Timo Werner’s role for Chelsea against Liverpool signals danger for Leeds United

Thomas Tuchel knows exactly how to get the best from Timo Werner; the Chelsea manager has described what he requires from the striker in order to thrive on the pitch several times since his appointment in January.

The German international hasn’t yet caught fire at Stamford Bridge after his summer move, but the Blues boss clearly understands his skills and they appear ideally suited to facing Leeds United this weekend.

Speaking about Werner, Tuchel has 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.”

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The 25 year-old caused extensive problems for Liverpool recently; he was integral to how Chelsea managed to exploit Jurgen Klopp’s high defensive line without Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.

Before the clash with the Reds, Tuchel was asked why he selected Werner over Olivier Giroud: “Speed, speed, speed,” he said. “Speed against the high line. If we had expected the game to be deeper, then we’d have gone with Giroud. But against a high line, we need speed.”

It was ominous how the Blues would exploit Liverpool’s defensive game and it worked, and it is reasonable to suggest that Saturday’s early bout with Leeds will follow a similar theme.

Timo Werner exploited the space afforded by Liverpool's defence for Chelsea recently
Timo Werner exploited the space afforded by Liverpool’s defence for Chelsea recently

Matches featuring Bielsa’s outfit are prone to almost descending into basketball games, whereby the midfield is emptied and possession switches from final third to final third.

That is what happened against both Liverpool and Manchester City earlier in the campaign, with Leeds managing to compete with both having suffered a narrow 4-3 loss to the former before drawing 1-1 with the latter.

So far this season, only City, Liverpool and Chelsea have taken more shots than Leeds, while only four sides have faced more on the defensive side of the game, meaning that Bielsa’s side are very busy at both ends of the field.

Given Werner’s pace, he could technically operate as Tuchel’s most advanced forward on the day by staying relatively high whenever Leeds flood men forward.

Once the Blues regain the ball, players such as Mason Mount, Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz to name but a few should be able to feed Werner with passes in behind, allowing him to essentially beat his opponents in a race before finding the net.

Tuchel’s need for speed will be equally as strong at Elland Road as it was at Anfield and ultimately, there’s enough to suggest that Werner’s explosion in front of goal lies around the corner.

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