Timo Werner and Kai Havertz: Time To Kick on at Chelsea
Not as Prolific as Many Expected in Premier League
After the fanfare in which they arrived in the Premier League – Werner was wanted by most of the top teams in Europe and was seen as one of the most wanted strikers in world football and Havertz was highly rated at Bayer Leverkusen and was expected to continue hitting his the same heights – Blues fans expected a lot, perhaps too much.
Compared to their expectations, they so far haven’t been as prolific and impactful as expected.
To be fair, it will be a huge boost to their confidence, regardless of who it is against. Yes, it isn’t against Premier League opposition but scoring a goal will still provide them with the confidence to continue to push on now.
There is a case to be made, though, that their ‘underperforming’ so far could be down to various other factors and the criticism could be rather harsh in reality.
Timo Werner Had Superb Goal Record Before Chelsea
Let’s take a look at Werner first.
The striker came to Stamford Bridge to much hype. With 36 goal contributions in 34 games during his last season at RB Leipzig, he was one of the most free-scoring strikers in the game.
Since his move though, he’s got eight-goal contributions in 16 games, which is obviously much less of a rate than before. There’s clearly a drop off when you take a look at the stats on the surface (he’s also underperforming when you look at his xG rate, which is six, compared to his current goals scored of four) but could there be other reasons for his dip in form?
Timo Werner Shoved Out to the Wing at Chelsea
For starters, he’s being shoehorned out on the left by boss Frank Lampard. He’s played 12 of his games on the wing this year – still producing five-goal contributions to his credit – and yes he has played on there previously and it isn’t a new position to him but you cannot expect a man whose main area of expertise is as a centre forward to bank similar numbers in a different position.
If you take a look at the games that he has played up front, you can see the difference. Considerably less game time in his natural role as a centre forward (just five games) but the same amount of goals with two and four-goal contributions in total, a much better rate.
Could it be that he is being mismanaged by Lampard? Could the issue lie with the management and not with the player himself?
Fewer Shots on Goal
He’s having considerably fewer shots on goal per 90 minutes (2.65) and shots on target per 90 minutes (just 1.06 compared to 1.90 last season in Germany) and that could all be down to the fact he’s playing out of position and being asked different things by Lampard.
We know Werner is capable of scoring on a regular basis – he proved it in the Bundesliga for several seasons. With every goal and every game he plays, he can adapt more to the new league and give himself more confidence that he can push on and bag more. The emphatic win and the goal could help him to kick on – but Lampard may have a part to play in ensuring he gets the goals every Chelsea fan wants from him.
Havertz Was One of the Best Young Talents in Bundesliga
Havertz is another enigma.
The German has only produced three-goal contributions in 15 games since his big-money move to England and more is also expected of him.
Again, everyone knows what the player is capable of. He was one of the best young talents in the Bundesliga at Bayer Leverkusen and let’s remember, he’s still only 21. Not only is it hard to adapt to a new league, a new style of play, new teammates and philosophies and culture but, again, he’s been thrown around the pitch in various positions.
You can make less of an excuse for Havertz when it comes to positioning. He can play as an attacking midfielder or on the right-wing, which is where he has predominantly been used by Lampard so far.
Best in an Attacking Midfield Role
You could also argue that the best players can produce in most positions, as long as they’re in the same general area – defence, midfield, attack. Havertz again though is best utilised as an attacking midfielder and, although he has featured there most of all for the Blues (six times), he’s spent the other nine games in other positions.
One key thing to remember though is his age. Havertz is still young and has known German football all of his career so far. This is his first year in a different country and league and it will no doubt take him some time to adapt and return to the form he had – even the best players, much older than him, take time to get used to a new style of football.
Outperforming His Expected Assists Ratio
That isn’t to say Havertz isn’t contributing anything either. Although his goal contributions are on the low side compared to the lofty expectations he set for himself, his creativity and production can sometimes be seen very clearly.
He currently has a better pass completion percentage than he did last season and he’s outperforming his current xA rating – meaning that he’s actually been more productive in terms of setting up his teammates than he really should have been. Keep giving him the chances and letting him grow and develop as a player and he could reach the heady heights that everyone expects of him.
Perhaps the big reason we think Werner and Havertz are underperforming and need to kick on is down to such huge expectations. The two of them have performed on a whole different level so far despite their ages and have come to England with fans expecting them to immediately hit the ground running and match and even exceed those expectations. Perhaps they’ve performed so well that it’s actually now hindering them – if they perform at a solid 7/10 but people expect a regular 9/10 showing, they’re bound to be let down.
Too High Expectations for Both?
Let’s temper expectations slightly. Let the two of them grow and become the players we know they can be. They both bagged against Morecambe at the weekend. It may be lower league opposition but let’s hope it’s the spark that gets them back to the level everyone wants to see them at. As for Frank Lampard, he must play Werner up front in the forward role.
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