I can’t quite put my finger on Chelsea this season. A giant summer spending spree, a young, confident manager, top talent, a promising start, but festive season wobble which they can’t seem to arrest.
£212 million was thrown at the squad in the summer, yet Chelsea are in the doldrums. Six points off the top, but only six points away from Arsenal. We should probably still ignore the league table as it is still relatively unsettled (unless you are a United fan, in which case enjoy your moment in second place) however, Chelsea seem to lack confidence.
Timo Werner and Kai Havertz were hauled in to boost their title charge, but both have spoken about their struggles to get to grip with the physicality of the Premier League. Their main man in 2020 was Olivier Giroud, the fine wine of football and most neutrals do love it when he scores. Why Arsenal let him move to a rival is beyond most, as at 34 he still knows how to find the back of the net with such elegance.
He cost £15 million, which pales in comparison to what they splashed on the German duo. Werner himself is the main concern. We know from his time in Germany that he is lethal, however even Frank Lampard is losing patience. Four goals in 16 Premier League outings is nowhere near good enough and his confidence is on the decline. Chelsea’s festive form wouldn’t have helped and that Arsenal game was woeful. In that 3-1 defeat, Werner managed no shots on target and a pass accuracy rate of 57%.
His issues are clear. Not only is he adapting to a new league in a new country, but he has also been dangerously misused by Frank Lampard. Using Werner, traditionally so sharp while playing through the middle, on the left wing in this league is unwise. Chelsea’s rigid style does not suit their marquee signing. Werner thrives in a central role and Chelsea are a crossing team. Lampard’s insistence on going wide is costing his front man some discomfort, and we can only imagine what the possibilities are for Werner once Chelsea adapt to him rather than the other way around.
Leave Werner in the middle. Use Hakim Ziyech in his beloved wing role, Kai Havertz as the attacking midfielder and trust Christian Pulisic on the left. It really is that simple, Frank.
After that summer spree, Chelsea beat their own chests, yet since then have been largely disappointing due to tactical limitations. It’s a deep enough squad to play around with and this way you would not have to rely on a 34 year old to drag you through games.
Chelsea’s top scorers in 2020:
1. Olivier Giroud – 18
2. Tammy Abraham – 11
3. Timo Werner – 8
4. Christian Pulisic – 7
As Chelsea play Man City on Sunday we can’t look beyond a City win – in what can be a harsh lesson for Lampard.
Get City to win 3-0 at 20/1 or 21.00, odds subject to change.