[NEWS] Tactics and Transfers: In defence of Chelsea’s Timo Werner

Chelsea has struggled when it comes to adding strikers through
the transfer market under Roman Abramovich. Mateja Kezman,
Hernan Crespo, Andriy Shevchenko, Fernando Torres and Alvaro
Morata never reached the heights expected of them—Timo Werner
should not be added to that list. The young German hasn’t endured
the sort of season that he did last year in Germany during his time
in the Premier League. That said, it’s not entirely unexpected or
unreasonable to suggest that this would have been the most
difficult and peculiar year in which to adapt to playing in a new
The repercussions of Coronavirus and the travel bans, isolation
and general level of anxiety that it caused for people throughout
the world were incredible mental hurdles for players to deal with.
That is probably more so for young players from foreign countries
who were not able to have some of the comforts of European
travel that they normally would. They couldn’t take a 90-minute
flight home on off days, nor could their families come to visit them
and then when they had days off, they had to spend them alone at
home exercising in front of a computer monitor. Not exactly what
they signed up for.
Werner is not like Chelsea strikers of old, his mentality is what sets
him apart.

That’s why it doesn’t exactly shock me that Werner had the biggest
dip in form of his career. Before coming to Chelsea at only 24 years
old, Werner had already scored 109 goals. He was used to scoring
and a certain level of success. It says something about his
mentality then that he not only chose to leave RB Leipzig and the
Bundesliga to come to the Premier League, but that he even came
over early to start training with the side before the end of the
season in Germany.

Being a striker, he is, of course, going to be something of a
confidence player. The fact that, in the face of his scoring draught
and the effects of the Coronavirus, he has managed to find ways
to immeasurably and inarguably contribute to the team, is
incredibly important.

No, he hasn’t scored 20 goals and it will be pretty much impossible
for him to do so this season. That said, he has 14 assists. He has
26 goal involvements and is by far the leader in that statistic on the
team. I have long argued that you should not count goals or assists
simply goal involvements. It would encourage more team play and
less selfishness, and so long as the team scores, it doesn’t matter
who puts it in the net.
Werner has shown the sort of character,

strength and mental
fortitude that it takes for an individual to be a proper Chelsea
player. The club, the support and the team are better off for—and I
would even say lucky—to have him. Where other Chelsea strikers
have had less reason to be down in terms of their confidence and
mentality, they have fallen off the wagon in ways that Werner never
would. Remember Morata? He didn’t like the weather and thought
the league was rough; he fell apart in a period of weeks. Werner
has been a class act and a good professional in ways that make
Morata’s period at the club look even worse by comparison.

The fact that even when he hasn’t been scoring, he never stops
working is nothing short of remarkable. He stretches the defence,
presses, creates assists and always makes the right decision.

Where players struggling for goals often make poor decisions to try
and break their scoring ducks, Werner always does the right thing
and plays the ball to the player in the best position. It’s remarkable
and suggests so much about not only his football brain, but his
footballing character, that he has become an undroppable and
obvious contributor to the side. When things have gone poorly for
other strikers, they immediately stopped playing. When Morata or
Kezman’s form dipped, Chelsea was immediately reduced to 10-
men. They didn’t even seem interested in helping the team if it
couldn’t be about them as the main men. Werner doesn’t struggle
with that.

If this is what Werner is like at his worst then he can stay at
Chelsea for as long as he wants. He has proven to be a good man,

a good teammate, a good player and a damn fine professional. The
club and his teammates should be proud that he wears the badge
and he has proven to be a proper Chelsea player in all the fighting
spirit ways that Chelsea supporters adore. He will come good
because his character demands it, but also because he doesn’t
actually have far to go. He’s already exactly the sort of player who
makes it at Stamford Bridge.

Theoretically, Coronavirus may even have created a sense of
delayed gratification by creating such a negative atmosphere
around sports for the entire world. With players having to adjust to
so much besides simply a new league and under unprecedented
circumstances, there is a very good chance that they hit the
ground running starting next year when fans are back. British
football will be what it was supposed to be when they signed up for

Werner doesn’t need to come good in those circumstances. He
already has been, but next season, he is going to improve even
more. That is something that all Chelsea supporters should be
happy to know.

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