Talking Tactics

Werner's runs can help Chelsea to top-four finish

By Adrian Clarke 22 May 2021
Timo Werner, Chelsea

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Adrian Clarke looks at key tactical points in Matchweek 38.

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When a striker is not scoring goals they need to help their team in different ways, and Timo Werner is certainly doing that for Chelsea.

Werner has scored only six times in his debut Premier League season and has a conversion rate of just 11.1 per cent.

However, his eight assists mean none of Thomas Tuchel's players have produced more direct goal involvements this term than the German.

This is why Werner is destined to start in Chelsea's crucial match at Aston Villa on Sunday.

Villa's defenders will be wary of Werner’s pace and his desire to make runs in behind them. 

Werner's runs trouble Southampton

Even in the tightest of encounters, Chelsea can stretch the match with a single forward pass for Werner to chase.

With a top speed of 34.1km/h, Werner is not only one of the quickest players for the Blues, he is also one of the most hard-working.

No team-mate averages more sprints per 90 minutes.

Who sprints most for Chelsea?
Player Sprints per 90
Timo Werner 22.9
Ben Chilwell 22.8
Christian Pulisic 19.4
Tammy Abraham 19.1
Kai Havertz 18.1

In a tactical sense it is easy to see why Tuchel has persisted with Werner despite his lack of goals.

His energetic style sets a positive tone. Whether it be a five-yard sprint inside the area or a run from deep, Werner's movement has been effective.

Most penalties won 2020/21
Player Total
Timo Werner (CHE) 5
Anthony Martial (MUN) 4
Jamie Vardy (LEI) 3
Patrick Bamford (LEE) 3

It is no coincidence that Werner has earned a competition-high five penalties this season, including one in Tuesday night's huge 2-1 win over top-four rivals Leicester City.

Netting 78 Bundesliga times in four seasons at RB Leipzig, it is surely only a matter of time before Werner rediscovers his goalscoring touch.

Future Golden Boot contender?

Converting only five of 23 big chances will be a source of great frustration, but his ability to get into these excellent positions should be regarded as a plus.

His predatory penalty-box instincts mean Chelsea can rely on him to pop up in positions to score more than any other player.

If his finishing improves next season, Werner could well emerge as a Golden Boot contender.

Werner compared with team-mates
Big chances Big chances missed
Werner 23 Werner 18
Havertz 10 Havertz 7
Abraham 9 Giroud 6

There is a lot to admire about Werner's all-round game.

He has fired off more than double the number of shots inside the box than any of his team-mates, with 65.

Werner also ranks second behind Mason Mount as the team's chief creator from open play.

He may not have been prolific in front of goal this season but if Chelsea do secure UEFA Champions League qualification then Werner's contributions must not be overlooked.

Also in this series

Part 2: Fofana and Ndidi crucial to chances of stopping Kane
Part 3: Thiago's growing influence key to final top-four push

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